Environmental and Land-Based Science

The OCR Environmental and Land-Based Science GCSE course allows pupils to achieve a GCSE in the subject after two years of study. The course is designed to provide pupils with a good basic understanding of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry. The GCSE is an option that has a degree of overlap with Science which helps with both courses. The course allows for the full range of ability (A* to G grades). Practical work forms the basis of the qualification and all pupils are expected to become involved in the growing of crops, flowers and the rearing of animals and poultry. Pupils should not be afraid of physical work or dirt!

Key Stage 3

This subject is not taught at Key Stage 3.

Key Stage 4 (Current Year 11)

Subject Environmental and Land-Based Science (ELBS)
Examination Board OCR
Specification J271
Assessment 40% Exam 60% Portfolio
English Baccalaureate No

What do pupils need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

Pupils need to have an interest in the natural environment, farming, plants and animals. Some of the work is based outside so they must be comfortable putting on wellington boots, getting their hands dirty and working in all weathers.

Is this course suitable?

Environmental and Land-Based Science is open to pupils of all abilities. Grades A*-G can be achieved depending on tier of entry. Pupils just have to be prepared to work hard both in and out of the classroom.

What will pupils learn on this course?

The course consists of two main areas of study for examination:

Management of the Natural Environment

This covers environmental issues and relationships of the soil to the animals and plants it supports. Human activities and energy requirements and the effects to the environment. Traditional and alternative food production.

Plant Cultivation and Small Animal Care

Covering issues related to the care and maintenance of plants and small animals in the home, garden and at school.

The portfolio consists of three elements including a scientific investigation, work-related report and evidence of practical skills acquired.

How will pupils be assessed on this course?

40% exam – two one-hour exams, worth 50 marks each.

60% portfolio (Controlled Assessment) – three strands over approximately 38 hours, worth 120 marks.

What kind of work will pupils need to do outside of lessons?

Homework will be set weekly, this will vary: it could be research or collecting soil samples from your garden to test in class!

What could pupils go on to do at the end of the course?

  • Further study in environmental and land-based courses including environmental science or horticulture and in animal based courses.
  • With a B grade or above, ‘A’ Levels in science related courses.
  • Gardening and farming careers.