A Level –  Health & Social Care

Caring is our calling’

Members of Department

Mrs Maria McElroy, Head of Department
Mrs Niamh Cassidy
Miss Emma McCarron
Mrs Christine McCann.


This Aims of this Department are to encourage students to:

  • Strive for excellence the Loreto way.
  • Develop different areas of knowledge, skills and understanding.
  • Develop higher order thinking skills, creative thinking and problem-solving, where appropriate.
  • Apply skills to work-related scenarios.
  • Work with others in groups.
  • Conduct research and present their findings in different formats.
  • Develop advanced study skills that will help students prepare for third level education.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding relevant to degrees in nursing, allied health professions, social sciences, social policy, social work, and early years.
  • Develop skills, aptitudes, and values for employment in the health, social care, and early years sectors.
  • Provide extended responses and enhance quality of written communication.
  • Demonstrate through internal and external assessments an understanding and application of key concepts.

The fundamental philosophy of the course is that in order to understand the nature of Health and Social Care, students’ learning is applied to a range of work-related contexts. This will be achieved through a variety of approaches, including links with local care organisations, case studies and independent research. The course allows students to develop their creative and analytical thinking ability. It allows them to develop skills that will enable them to make an effective contribution to the Health and Social Care sector, including skills of research, evaluation and problem-solving in a work related context. Students have the opportunity to further their understanding of law, philosophy, psychology, health promotion and a broad range of other topics.

Recommended GCSE Subjects and Grades

Minimum school entry requirements plus at least Grade B in English.

Career Possibilities

Progression through Advanced Level will provided a suitable basis for further study in related subjects in Higher Education, as well as a valuable preparation for careers in any are of Health & Social Care.

Studying Health & Social Care provides an excellent foundation for those seeking employment in a wide range of careers including Nursing / Midwifery, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physiotherapy, Social Administration and Teaching.

Subject Content

UNIT AS-1: Promoting Positive Care

UNIT AS-2: Communication in Care Settings

UNIT AS- 3: Health and Well Being


UNIT A2-3: Providing Services

UNIT A2-4: Public Health and Health Promotion

UNIT A2-5: Supporting the Family


Method of Assessment

AS and A2 Health & Social Care is assessed by means of a combination of external assessment (externally set and marked exams) and internal assessment (portfolio evidence marked in school and moderated externally)

AS = 40% of the total A’Level

A2 = 60% of the total A’Level

Department Achievements

In December 2019, Aine Lawler was awarded first place in Northern Ireland at A’ Level.

Prior to this, for six consecutive years this department achieved the ‘Top Performing A’Level Candidate’ in Northern Ireland Award.

2017 – Kyra MacMahon

2016 – Cora Devine

2015 – Shannon Lennon

2014 – Kerry Quinn

2013 – Ellen Ward

2012 – Brigin McWilliams

Current Student Comments

‘I have always had an interest in health and well-being, so the study of Health and Social Care at A-Level was a natural choice. I have enjoyed studying elements within the tested unit and as I enjoy it so much, revision is pleasurable! We have focused on key concepts of health and well-being, factors that impact positively and negatively on our health status, health promotion and the role of organisations that are responsible for our health. The latter point is so relevant as we navigate are way through the current pandemic. I particularly enjoyed looking at the impact of discriminatory practice on health care setting and the importance of anti-discriminatory practice as applied in such setting. Within this subject, we can maximise our grade through coursework. Our coursework centres on a care home setting and how positive care is promoted. We are guided and instructed, and this empowers us to independently research and apply the theory learnt. The study of this subject and my immense enjoyment of it has reaffirmed by decision to enter a health care profession.’

Aisling Year 13


‘I thoroughly enjoyed all AS content in Health and Social Care and that enjoyment increased as I have journeyed through A2. My favourite aspect of the A2 content has been the coursework element that focused on ‘Supporting Families.’ Within this unit we studied different family structures and the impact of legislative and social changes on families. We have focused on contemporary issues that face families today, how this creates needs and the different ways in which such needs are met by various sectors. This has created a great insight into contemporary society and has encouraged a more respectful and empathetic mindset. As this is a coursework element, we are encouraged to achieve our best, high standards are set and we all endeavour to meet them. Throughout the two years, we have studied the importance of communication, social policy, research, investigation and analysis. I feel very well equipped in progressing to third level as a result of studying this wonderful subject.’

Tanya, Year 14