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.

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

Sixth form - OCR Cambridge Technicals

The Cambridge Technicals in Health and Social Care have been developed to meet the changing needs of the sector, and prepare you for the challenges you’ll face in Higher Education or employment.  Designed in collaboration with experts spanning the breadth of the sector, the Cambridge Technicals in Health and Social Care focuses on the skills, knowledge and understanding that today’s universities and employers demand. You will practically apply your skills and knowledge in preparation for further study or the workplace.

You will develop professional and personal skills through interaction with people who either work in the sector or require care or support, as well as theoretical knowledge and understanding to underpin your skills. This will allow you to offer specific, person-centred care and support and build positive relationships with the people you are working with, so that their needs and requirements are met whilst they maintain control of their own care and support. You will consider the real impacts to people living with conditions or illnesses such as the social, financial and psychological impacts, not just the signs, symptoms and treatment of faceless conditions or illnesses. You will also learn about the legislation and guidance supporting health and social care, so that you can ensure the people you are working with are not only able to access all the care and support they are entitled to, but are also able to protect themselves from any harm or abuse whilst at work.

At Balcarras you have two options:

  • Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Health and Social Care (5831)

This is the equivalent to one A-Level at the end of Year 13.

  • Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Health and Social Care (5833)

This is the equivalent to two A-Levels at the end of Year 13.


What’s the difference?

  • Students who study the Diploma tend to be students who love the subject and students who are sure they would like to go into the industry.  They study more units and therefore they gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter and the industry.
  • Students who study the Diploma can then opt for two further A-levels in any subject of their choosing.
  • Students who study the Diploma have fewer exams and so this course may appeal to students who prefer independent study via coursework.

Why isn’t it an A-level?

There are no longer any A-levels in health and social care.  Instead the OCR exam board offer this qualification and other exam boards offer other vocational qualifications including BTECs.  We have found the Cambridge Technicals suit our students well.  They are assessed fairly and the units are interesting, engaging and fun.

What units will I be studying?

All students in Year 12 will study the following units:

  • Unit 1 – Building positive relationships (coursework)
  • Unit 2 – Equality, diversity and rights in health and social care (exam)
  • Unit 3 – Health, safety and security in health and social care (exam)

The Diploma students will study an additional three units in Year 12:

  • Unit 5  - Infection control (coursework)
  • Unit 7 – Safeguarding (exam)
  • Unit 13 – Sexual, reproduction and early development stages (coursework)

In Year 13 all students will study the mandatory unit:

  • Unit 4 – Anatomy and physiology for health and social care

In addition to this there are a range of optional coursework units for us to choose from including units on mental health, nutrition and physiological conditions.

For more specific information on each unit please read the department produced leaflets.

What do universities think of the qualification?

Cambridge Technicals are highly regarded by universities and as such they are given the same UCAS points as A-levels:

  • Distinction*: (A-level Grade A*) – 56 UCAS Tarfiff Points
  • Distinction: (A-level Grade A) – 48 UCAS Tariff Points
  • Merit: (A-level Grade C) – 32 UCAS Tariff Points
  • Pass: (A-level Grade E) – 16 UCAS Tariff Points

Students have been offered a place on a range of degrees after studying this course including a Diploma student who was offered (and went onto) a place at Kings College London to study a Geography degree!

Where can this qualification lead?

Lots of health and social care students go on to university to study subject specific degrees. In the past we have had students leave us to go on to study the following subjects:

  • nursing (adult, paediatric and mental health)
  • midwifery
  • primary education
  • early years care and education
  • social work
  • speech and language therapy
  • operating department practice
  • paramedic science
  • sociology

Some students choose to leave the department and go straight into work in the industry for example, working in nurseries looking after children under 5. Other students choose to leave school to start apprenticeship in the industry for example, as a health care assistant. Finally, some students leave the department and choose a more adventurous life working in the industry abroad for example, midwifery in Thailand.

The options are endless – work experience on this course puts you above lots of other candidates and this can be tailored to your future: medical profession, teaching or social work are a few possibilities.

If after reading this information you have any further questions about studying Health and Social Care at Balcarras Sixth Form please contact Mrs Corinaldi who will be happy to answer them