Health and Social Care

Health and Social Care is thought provoking and engaging and it is a subject that affects all our lives.  At Balcarras it is predominantly taught by Mrs Corinaldi with support from Miss Grogan who teaches Key Stage 4 and Miss Davies who teaches in the Sixth Form, in two bright classrooms (with a hint of pink!) both of which have their own computer suite.  We are also lucky enough to have our own Health and Social Care reference library in room 1A5 to enable students at both Key Stage 4 and in the Sixth Form to have the use of a variety of sources in which to write their work.

Health and social care is an optional course at Key Stage 4 and in the Sixth Form.  It is a popular course and our students really enjoy the learning experience that we offer so much so that our students often study it for four years whilst at Balcarras!   Many of our students are inspired to continue the subject at university in fields like teaching, nursing, midwifery or social work or they go on to follow a career in the sector including early years education or care work after leaving the school.

At whatever level, students are encouraged to find out about current topics in the media and the range of teaching resources reflects the multitude of information available. To support the learning process we use visiting speakers, workshops and where possible, off site visits to health and social care settings. We also strive to build independence in our students and provide opportunities for them to take control of their own learning experience.


We study the OCR health and social care syllabus in Key Stage 4, it is particularly appealing to students who do not like exams as the course is made up of 60% controlled assessment and 40% exam. The course is divided into two units:

Health, Social Care and Early Years Provision

This unit is assessed by controlled assessment it is 60% of the course.  The class visit an early years setting and interview and observe the work carried out there.  Many students use their work experience in order to gather the information as they find spending a week at a nursery or a primary school an invaluable data source for this unit.  During the research process students investigate the needs of children at the early years setting and the service meets those needs.  They also research the main work roles and skills of people who provide early years’ services and the principles of care that underpin all care work.

Understanding Personal Development and Relationships

This is the unit our students love to study as it involves looking at the lives of different people.  We begin the unit by studying the family and people of differing ages within the family and how they develop over the years.  We then look at their lives and learn how people are affected by different events throughout their lives for example, marriage, death, having children or a serious injury.  These events can affect people in many ways so we research and learn about the services that are there to support people through these times.  Finally, we learn about the different relationships we have with different people throughout our life.  Starting with ourselves, we study the terms self-concept and self-esteem then we move on to the relationships we have with others.

Cambridge Nationals in Health and Social Care

Most students following the Cambridge Nationals course in Key Stage 4 achieve the OCR Cambridge Nationals Level 2 Certificate in Health and Social Care.  Again this course is appealing to students who do not like exams as the course is made up of three internally assessed coursework units worth 75% of the course and one external exam worth 25% of the course.  The qualification is the equivalent to a full GCSE and it is recognised in league tables and in post-16 institutions as such.  The difference being the grading of the qualification as it is graded pass (GCSE grade C), merit (GCSE grade B), distinction (GCSE grade A) or distinction* (GCSE grade A*) and should students fail to achieve all of the assessment criteria they will achieve a Level 1 qualification (GCSE grade D – G). 

Essential values of care for use with individuals in care settings

During this examined unit we:

  • Understand how to support individuals to maintain their rights
  • Understand the importance of the values of care and how they are applied
  • Understand how legislation impacts on care settings
  • Understand how personal hygiene, safety and security measures protect individuals

Communicating and working with individuals in health, social care and early years settings

During this internally assessed unit we:

  • Understand how to communicate effectively
  • Understand the personal qualities that contribute to effective care
  • Be able to communicate effectively within a health, social care and early years setting

Research – a project approach

During this internally assessed unit we:

  • Be able to create project plans for a specific purpose
  • Know how to conduct research for projects
  • Be able to carry out projects
  • Know how to review projects

Creative activities to support individuals in health, social care and early years settings

During this internally assessed unit we:

  • Understand the different types of creative activities available in health, social care and early years settings
  • Understand the benefits of participating in creative activities
  • Be able to carry out creative activities in a health, social care or early years setting

Cambridge Technical Diploma

2014 saw the introduction of the OCR Cambridge Technical in Health and Social Care.  Students follow one of two courses in the Sixth Form the OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma (equivalent to one A-level) and the OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma (equivalent to two A-levels).  The course is graded pass (equivalent to an A-level grade E), merit (equivalent to an A-level grade C), distinction (equivalent to an A-level grade A) and distinction* (equivalent to an A-level grade A*).  Our students love this course as it is 100% internally assessed via coursework and this therefore means no examinations at the end of Year 12 or Year 13 in Health and Social Care!  

Our students also love the variety of the units on offer for this course.  All students have to complete the four learning outcomes of unit 1 - developing effective communication in health and social care:

  1. Understand effective communication and interpersonal interaction in health and social care
  2. Understand factors that influence communication and interpersonal interaction in health and social care environments
  3. Understand ways to overcome barriers in a health and social care environment
  4. Be able to communicate and interact effectively in a health and social care environment

Following this unit these are another 36 possible units that students can study.  In previous years students have studied units on psychology, sociology, human development, research in health and social care, diet and nutrition and valuing diversity. 

Learning Outside the Classroom

There are opportunities to take part in activities outside of the classroom, during Key Stage 4 we plan organise a Christmas party for pensioners who live in our local area.

Student Alumni

We are really proud of our students and whether they choose to leave school at the end of Year 11 or at the end of Year 13 we are always really pleased when they choose a career in our industry.

In Ellie Dobson and Mia Wallis left Balcarras to study midwifery and prior to this they both spent time in Thailand learning about the profession in another country. 

Rebecca Gosling really enjoyed the combination of Level 3 Health and Social Care and Food Technology at Balcarras and therefore she went to The University of Manchester to study dietetics. 

Natasha Chinyowa and Natasha Ataou both carried out independent work experience in London hospitals during Year 13 and they loved city life so much that Natasha is now studying there to become and ODP and Natasha a Paediatric Nurse

Sophie Kennedy, Fahima Begum, Hannah Buchanan-Hughes and Amber Gamble have all left Sixth Form to begin Primary Teacher Training at various universities across the country.

Lucy McMillan enjoyed the variety of learning in Health and Social Care and therefore she chose to spend a year in Manchester as a volunteer for a charity working with vulnerable young people.