Oceans advice to GCSE boards

We are the Blue Planet. The Oceans are the earth’s life-support system, producing most of our oxyg¬en and capturing more than two-thirds of carbon dioxide. The oceans drive climate and weather, regulate temperature, shape Earth chemistry, and hold 97% of the Earth’s water. Covering 71% of the surface of our planet, an estimated 97% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface, and less than 5% of that area has ever been explored.

So as the oceans are so important, we’ve been through every GCSE specification for science and geography searching for the terms fish, marine, sea and ocean. They should be well represented. This is what we found out.

Top prize for a great section on the urgent issue of ocean acidification goes to the AQA Science team and their new Chemistry GCSE. Loving your work and hope that the rest of the exam boards follow suit. There’s also a nice reference to the issues of over-fishing, but no mention of marine case studies for species adaptation, mutualism, etc. It would also have been nice to connect in the chemistry of ocean acidification with some more on biological impacts say on zooplankton.

For Geography, we have an out and out winner with the team who came up with the Edexcel B GCSE and their Oceans on the Edge option. But it is still an option, however good it may be, and oceans don’t come up too strongly in the Edexcel A course.

So here’s what we’d like to see happen:

AQA Geography team
Talk to your science colleagues, have a look at the Edexcel B oceans option and get a really nice topic on the oceans in both your papers.

OCR Geography team
Really quite a lot of work to do if you’re to represent properly 71% of the planet’s surface in your GCSEs. The answers are out there.

Edexcel Geography team
Make ocean topic compulsory in A & B options. You’re way ahead, but this is no time to rest on your laurels.

AQA Science
Nice work. You’re out in front and the ocean carbon cycle topic can really be a trend-setter.

Edexcel Science
Good on mutualism and adaptation in the biology section, but chemistry needs a bit of work. See above for AQA.

OCR Science
A lot of catch-up.

We want to see more young people have the opportunity to study the oceans. We’re here to help. Do be in touch!

2 Responses to “Oceans advice to GCSE boards”

  1. Jo Hancock says:

    Now please don’t be too mean to Edexcel. Unit C1 Chemistry in our world Topic 1 1.5a dissolution of CO2 into oceans. They have made a start!

  2. Digital Explorer says:

    I know. I know. Just trying to push a little!!

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