Ms Emma Arrand
Deputy Head Academic, Haberdashers’ Monmouth School
Schools across Wales are faced with a curriculum change that will shape the academic journeys of their students.
From 2025, GCSE students across Wales will no longer study Biology, Chemistry and Physics individually, but take Combined Science instead. Essentially, Combined Science is worth one less GCSE than the traditional triple science offering, and as the name suggests, squeezes all three disciplines into a combined study approach.
Here at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School, we firmly believe in the enduring value of studying triple science and will continue offering our students individual study of each discipline throughout their time with us, even though we sit within Wales.
As Deputy Head Academic, I understand the benefits that triple science brings to our students. Let’s explore why our commitment to this curriculum is not just about academic excellence for our future scientists, engineers, doctors, dentists (and the thousands of career choices where science is a gateway), but also about cultivating a diverse skillset for many pathways.
Academic stretching and skill development
Beyond the realm of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, skills and theory explored in each science interlock across the wider curriculum, especially within subjects such as Mathematics, Geography, DT, and Computing. The interdisciplinary nature of triple science encourages students to apply their knowledge in various contexts, creating a seamless integration of skills crucial for success in diverse fields. Individually focussing on each science also plays to individual learning styles and techniques, so our students gain a sound understanding which is solidified across their timetable of subjects.
Rapid progress, understanding and academic advantage
Retaining a dedicated, pin-point approach for each science allows students to progress through the curriculum rapidly and with a solid depth of understanding for each. The opportunity to study the three sciences in more detail equips each student with an academic advantage, enabling them to leave our school suitably qualified for further education or the workplace, alongside English and Scottish students following the same curriculum.
In the crucial years of GCSEs, students often grapple with uncertainty about their future academic paths. Triple science, by preserving a full range of academic options, enables students to keep their doors open for A Levels and beyond. Each science is studied in detail, giving students invaluable knowledge that the combined option simply cannot cover. Heading into A Level study from Combined Science at GCSE could leave students playing catch up from the beginning.
Consistently high grade profile
The sciences consistently boast an impressive grade profile at both GCSE and A Level. This track record not only reflects the dedication of our students and educators but also speaks to the inherent value and rigour embedded in the curriculum. Choosing triple science is an investment in academic success.
Excellent routes for future careers
The knowledge and skills acquired in Biology, Chemistry and Physics provide a solid foundation to open doors to thousands of careers, especially in future growth industries. It is also interesting to discover careers where a scientific background doesn’t instantly spring to mind, such as finance, agriculture and food to name a few. It is essential that we continue to offer our students the opportunity to keep their options open, especially for the majority of young people who do not yet know what career path they will embark on.
Excellent facilities and the ‘Haberdasher’s Advantage’
Taught by incredibly talented professionals, with supremely well-resourced labs, our school emphasizes hands-on learning and practicals. This focus on ‘doing’ fosters a deep understanding of scientific principles, preparing students for the challenges and excitement of real-world applications.
Being a Haberdashers’ school, our students also benefit from the ‘Haberdashers’ Advantage’ and have access to industry professionals for practical advice and guidance. In addition, it gives our students immersive experience opportunities like the recent Careers in Medicine Futures Conference, which saw our students exploring behind the scenes of Queen Mary University of London Bart’s Hospital, and learning directly from doctors and specialists. You can read more about that here.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the sciences are inherently interesting. The diverse and engaging topics covered in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics captivate the curiosity of our students, making the learning experience enjoyable and memorable.
In a landscape of educational choices, Haberdashers’ Monmouth School stands firm in its belief that a triple science curriculum is a direct pathway to academic excellence, skill development, and future success. By embracing the unique advantages offered by studying three sciences, we are equipping our students with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-changing world.
Ms Emma Arrand is Deputy Head Academic of Haberdashers’ Monmouth School, having previously been Head of English and a Day Housemaster (Severn House) at Monmouth School for Boys. She took on the Deputy Head role in September 2023, having taught at the school for 13 years. Ms Arrand has been an English teacher across the key stages, in both the independent and state sector, for 18 years and achieved Fellowship of the Chartered College of Teachers in 2022.