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The Society of Biology has put together documents to highlight resources to support practical work at A level in England and Wales.

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Next academic year, as part of the new A level syllabus, practical work will be indirectly assessed through written responses to questions during the A level examinations. There will also be a separate practical skills assessment. Practical work, assessed over 12 areas, will be awarded a pass or fail separate to the overall grade.

When these changes were proposed last year, the science community expressed concern over the potential devaluing of practical skills. Rachel Lambert-Forsyth MSB, director of education and training at the Society of Biology, said:

“Taking part in science practical work at school is an essential part of the learning process therefore the risks these reforms place on the value and inclusion of practical work in schools should not be ignored by the Minister [for Education]. Valuing practical experience is also increasingly important due to the current skills gap in the bioscience industry.”

The Society and the contributing organisations want to encourage teachers to use practical work to support their teaching of biological concepts throughout the A level course, after changes to the assessment of practical work are introduced.

The resource can be used to support A level biology for all of the specifications in England and Wales, and was created with the support of the Nuffield Foundation, Science and Plants for Schools, British Ecological Society, Biochemical Society, Field Studies Council, Society for General Microbiology and the Wellcome Trust.

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