GCSE Astronomy at Pontypridd HIgh School
DSW are proud to once again be involved in delivering GCSE Astronomy to secondary school students in Rhondda-Cynon-Taff. The council runs a series of after school activities under the banner of E3+. E3+ means ‘Extend, Enrich, Excite’ and it offers young people – and the wider community – the chance to take advantage of the fantastic opportunities offered through our schools. This has been a successful program of activities that provide real opportunities to school children. Each school has an E3+ coordinator who discusses with teachers and senior staff their preferences for activities before engaging external suppliers. This program is then set for term periods and allows students to experience a diverse range of fun and educational activities. Further information regarding E3+ can be found at http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/en/educationlearning/extra-curricularactivities/communityfocusedschools-e3/e3programmecommunityfocusedschools.aspx
Fortunately for DSW we have been engaged by several schools to deliver a variety of STEM based projects that range from Astronomy to robotics and rocketry. Each of these activities carry with them accreditation. The accreditation has been developed in conjunction with Agored Cymru and has seen staff use their expertise to produce innovative and engaging programs. These have been a success with many students achieving accreditation.
One of the most popular programs however has been the GCSE Astronomy. This has run at two schools for the past few years and has now been taken up by Pontypridd High School. Interest in the award has been astounding this year with 19 year 10 pupils arriving for the first lesson having set aside their own time to study. Furthermore, even in the harsh weather conditions we are currently experiencing students have still made the effort to attend class and undertake additional work to ensure that they achieve a good grade.
The course itself follows the Edexcell syllabus and is taught by experienced astronomy educator Allan Trow and science teacher Richard James. Further information for the award can be found at http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gcse/gcse09/Astronomy/Pages/default.aspx