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Applied GCE Double Award Health and Social Care continues to be a highly popular choice for students at KS5. The introduction of the new CCEA Applied GCE Single Award course in September 2016 has seen this popularity rise further as students are offered greater flexibility at A ‘Level.

The health, social care and early years sectors are major employers in the public, voluntary and private sectors in Northern Ireland. This broad based qualification gives students the opportunity to study an eclectic range of subjects relevant to these sectors, including communication, physiology, social policy and psychology.

The aims of the Health and Social Care Department are to:

  • Widen participation in vocationally-related learning;
  • Allow learners to experience vocationally-related learning to see if it is suitable for them;
  • Enable learners to make valid personal choices on completion of the qualification.

The broad objectives of the GCEs are to:

  • Introduce learners to work-related learning;
  • Give learners the technical knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the subject at this level;
  • Equip learners with some of skills they will need in the workplace or in further education or training;
  • Empower learners to take charge of their own learning and development;
  • Work collaboratively as a team of six teachers with backgrounds in Home Economics, Science, Psychology and Sociology;
  • Provide a range of teaching, learning and assessment styles to motivate learners to achieve their full potential.

Student progress is monitored on a regular basis through a range of: formative assessment techniques (such as observation of Care Provider visits, questioning, discussion, peer assessment, independent portfolio tasks, and research tasks) and summative assessment techniques (such as standardised mock tests and external examinations).

Health and Social Care students continue to enjoy excellent results in these public examinations with students consistently achieving 100% pass rate, with approximately 97% achieving A*-C grades. This is reflected in the findings of a recent E.T.I. Inspection (November 2015), which noted achievements and standards in Thornhill College were “outstanding”.


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