The Harris Academy 'Health Suite'

17 July 2013


In February I attended the Harris Academy, East Dulwich to be part of their CPD day for Health and Social Care. We looked at the new Next Generation BTEC Level 1/Level 2 qualifications and I facilitated some activities based on changes within the sector. I was later shown around the centre and in particular, I had a chance to see their new ‘Health Suite’ for students studying the BTEC Level 2 and Level 3 in Health and Social Care, the GCSE and A level in Health and Social Care.

The Health Suite has been designed by the staff at the school and provides students with a fantastic space in which to complete formative and summative assessment. The Health Suite supports the learner in a range of activities such as role-play, wearing the arthritis suit, using the ‘Little Anne’ manikin doll to undertake a First Aid qualification and taking part in interactive lessons using the 3D projector, where the teacher is able to explain the structures and function of the heart which floats in mid-air.

Three of the students kindly shared their thoughts on how they use the Health Suite to support them when studying for Edexcel qualifications.

Chanel Trotman-Wilson

"I did not realise how much there was to learn and accomplish when using the Health Suite. I have used the Health Suite a number of times for various reasons and it has helped me to gain a better understanding of my coursework and achieve my First Aid Certificate.

"Through the BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Health and Social Care I have completed Unit 3 Health, Safety and Security in Health and Social Care. My classmates and I had recorded a video to show how important it is to ensure a safe and secure environment and be aware of the dangers that are all around you. We made a video of safety within the kitchen and advised others at the end of the video what to do if an accident were to happen and also how to prevent it from happening.

"My classmates and I have also used the Health Suite to teach others First Aid, which we did more than once as students from other sites came and we had to teach them the basics of First Aid, such as recovery position, CPR, severe bleeding and suspected heart attack."

Rochele Barnett-Burrows

"Throughout my time at school and being a part of the BTEC National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care course, I have used the ‘Health Suite’ facility a number of times. I have made use of the suite while completing Unit 3 Health, Safety and Security in Health and Social Care; Unit 10 Caring for Children and Young People and children; Unit 28 Caring for Older People and for school open days.

"We have used the ambulance and the suite in order to teach First Aid courses to both the Health and Social Care class based at Harris East Dulwich and classes from other Harris Academy base sites. By using the facilities provided in the suite, such as the ambulance, ‘Little Anne’ manikins and the space in the suite, we were able to support each other in our learning. By engaging in lessons in the suite we were able to gain our First Aid certificates.

"This Health Suite was also used when we were doing the Unit 28 Caring for Older People unit as we used all the elderly care rooms in the Health Suite. We were also provided with arthritis suits which allowed this unit to come to life and enabled us to learn more about how to care for an elderly person and know how they would feel. It also linked with units such as Unit 4 Development through the life stages and Unit 14 Physiological disorders. So having a facility like this empowered my learning and also made learning easier to understand and fun to participate in.

"The Health Suite was also used on open days to show prospective students the facilities they would have access to when they joined the BTEC Heath and Social Care course or the Edexcel GCSE in Health and Social Care course. The Health Suite is also fitted with a projector and projector board as well as a whiteboard to help prospective students gain knowledge about the subject interactively."

Kiera Joseph

"While studying at Harris Girls Academy East Dulwich, I used the Health Suite to assist my understanding through the BTEC in Health and Social Care units such as Unit 3 Health, Safety and Security in Health and Social Care and Unit 28 Caring for Older People. The Health Suite helped to aid my learning in First Aid as it allowed me to use the built-in home set-up. We made a film about hazards that could occur in the home and what procedure to carry out if a hazardous incident was to happen. Learning about this enabled me to transfer my knowledge to other pupils of the federation as I had to teach them how to carry out emergency first aid procedures.

"Using the Health Suite for Unit 28 Caring for Older People, I used an elderly body suit which showed me what it is to live with arthritis. I also used the built-in home set-up to see what life is like living as an independent elderly person with the difficulties that they have to go through and overcome, such as walking up a long flight of stairs or having high cupboards. This enabled me to see from another perspective what life is like for older people and the physical, mental and emotional implications that age could have on them, and evaluate what could be done to help them.

"Combining all this knowledge learned in the Health Suite allowed me to help out at open days for prospective students wanting to study BTEC Health and Social Care, Edexcel GCSE in Health and Social Care and the A level in Health and Social Care."

What can you do?

Health and Social Care is a vocational qualification and the BTEC in particular lends itself to practical and contextualised activities such as those described in these case studies. I know many of you are looking for ways to incorporate more practical assessment techniques into your teaching, so I have outlined some useful ideas below:

1. Role-play for units such as Unit 1 Developing effective communication in Health and Social Care (P5 and P6)
2. Power-Point presentation for units such as Unit 22 Research Methodology for Health and Social Care (P6)
3. Class debate for units such as Unit 8 Psychological Perspectives (P2, P3, M1 and D1)
4. Placement supervisor report for units such as Unit 44 Vocational Experience in Health and Social Care (P4 present a portfolio of evidence from all placements)
5. Simulated activity for units such as Unit 20 Promoting Health Education (P4 Carry out a Health Campaign).

We strongly recommend the use of witness statements and/or tutor observation records. However, in order for these to be useful, they must record achievement at criterion level against the activity that is being observed. Check-lists prepared against unit assessment criteria are one way of doing this. I have designed an exemplar witness statement, check-list and tutor observation record for you to see the depth and detail needed. You'll find them on the Health and Social Care community page.

Tutor observations and witness statements are very useful supplementary evidence of achievement. However, an observation sheet or witness statement on its own may not be considered sufficient evidence for verification. It's important that it is supported by other evidence, such as audiovisual records of the activity, production reports, notes and/or self-evaluation by the learner that can substantiate that the activity took place as described.

I hope you have found this article useful and you find opportunities within your teaching to incorporate some practical assessment activities.

Kate Elsmore
Health and Social Care / Early Years Subject Advisor
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