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Health and Social Care A Level at Truro and Penwith College

Course description

You’ll begin the course by exploring a variety of physical and psychological life quality factors and examining how practitioners utilise a range of caring skills and techniques to manage the care of their patients. You will be provided with opportunities to analyse barriers to communication and develop your understanding of strategies for overcoming communication difficulties, such as Makaton, Braille and British Sign Language.

Then, you’ll move on to learn how people may face a range of challenges due to physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health issues and social circumstances.  Why are children born with disabilities?  What impact will the disability have on the individual and their family?  What societal and physical barriers do individuals have to overcome? You’ll explore all of these issues and develop your understanding of the risks associated with each life challenge and how the individual can be supported and safeguarded. 

Later, you will increase your understanding of the world of work in a variety of employment sectors; health, social care, children and young people and community justice sectors. You will learn about these main employment sectors and reflect on your own suitability for different job roles. You will undertake a major piece of independent coursework comparing two job roles of your choice.

Finally, you will be introduced to a range of diagnostic techniques and discover how practitioners diagnose and treat disease. You will gain knowledge of a range of dysfunctions and how they can be monitored through the use of ECG, CT Scanning, Ultra Sound Scanning and other advances in diagnostic imaging procedures. You will investigate how a variety of screening tests can be used and how immunisation programmes are implemented. You will also examine how a variety of illnesses can be treated through the use of drug therapy, surgery and other techniques. 

Course content

Unit 1 Effective Care and Communication (coursework)

The aim of this part of the subject content is to introduce you to the communication skills used by practitioners in a range of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, primary schools and prisons. This area of study introduces you to a range of verbal and non-verbal strategies and you will explore the notion of matching language to the needs of the client. You will also explore the idea that life quality factors may conflict and decisions have to be made to balance conflicting factors.


Unit 3 Life as a Challenge (exam)

You will explore a range of life challenges including Cystic Fibrosis, Osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s, Down Syndrome and Autism. You will be assessed on your knowledge, understanding and skills in different contexts appropriate to life as a challenge. There will be a focus on five key areas appraising your awareness of each life challenge, the causes of each condition, the impact of the life challenge, barriers presented and safeguarding.

Unit 6 Practitioner Roles (coursework)

The aim of this area of study is to allow you to independently explore and analyse two contrasting job roles. It requires you to carry out two different kinds of individual research:

complete a written portfolio comparing and evaluating two jobs from two different employment sectors;
perform an interview with a current practitioner in one of your named job roles.


Unit 10 Diagnosis, Treatment and Preventative Strategies (exam)

You will explore a range of diagnostic, treatment and preventative strategies in relation to a wide range of illnesses and diseases. You will learn how some diseases can be targeted through immunisation programmes, whilst others can be independently treated at home or may require specialised hospital care. You will gain an understanding of many treatment interventions such as surgery, radiotherapy and dialysis.

You may also take a stand alone AS in this subject, which would require the completion of units 1 and 3.

Entry requirements

The basic requirement is five GCSEs at grade C or above, to include English, Maths and Science.


Your achievement in this subject is dependent upon excellent attendance, punctuality and effort. You will learn in a friendly atmosphere, using a variety of assessment methods:

  • You will be assessed regularly on your portfolio work that is conducted either as homework or in class and given feedback on your progress.
  • You will review your own performance in 1:1 sessions with your lecturer.
  • You will undertake mock examinations on each exam unit in advance of your final exams.
  • You will be formally and informally examined on each unit that you study. 

Future opportunities

A qualification in Health and Social Care is highly valued by many universities and employers alike. Some possible career progression opportunities are nursing, midwifery, youth work, residential care, social work, housing and the probation service.

Further information

The course aims to give you a varied learning experience and will be a combination of a student centred approach to learning, involving research for assignments, guest speakers, lectures, group work and discussions.  We encourage all students to read widely and conduct their own research into their portfolio work, although we will offer 1:1 support in relation to all units of study.

An experienced team of lecturers, many of whom have worked in the health and social care profession, will support your learning. You will need to prepare to work hard independently, carry out in-depth research and use a variety of information sources.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Truro and Penwith College directly.

Last updated date: 15 June 2016

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