Agriculture & Land Use at Newtownhamilton High School 
The pupils of Newtownhamilton High School have a strong rural tradition. This long association with the land means the agri-food industry is a vital contributor to the local economy. European legislation, consumer accountability and environmental concerns all influence how we farm. The modern farmer must be expert in plant and animal husbandry, familiar with the legislation governing farming and able to respond to changing customer demand. 
 
Studying Agriculture & Land Use allows pupils to: 
 
investigate how farming practices can adapt to changing requirements; 
explore the impact modern agriculture has on the natural environment; 
examine increased consumer awareness of the food we eat; 
consider how farmers can develop diverse, vibrant and viable agri-food businesses. 
 
Aims 
 
develop their scientific knowledge in relevant, enjoyable and work-based contexts. 
appreciate how knowledge of science can enhance productivity in the land-based and environmental sector. 
develop their awareness of complex relationships between humans and the environment in which they engage in agricultural activity. 
acquire core knowledge about the land-based and environmental sector and the skills required to work in it. 
develop a critical and analytical approach to problem solving within the context of work-related scenarios. 
make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices in the land-based and environmental sector. 
 
Content 
 
Unit 1: Soils, Crops and Habitats 1h 15mins external paper (20%) 
Unit 2: Animals on the Land 1h 15mins external paper (20%) 
Contemporary Issues in Agriculture Controlled Assessment (60%) 
 
Unit 1 (20%) 
In this unit students gain an understanding of plants and recognise the key role of plants in the food chain, starting with an appreciation of soil composition and its importance in producing plant crops. Through practical work and fieldwork, students learn how to identify native species in a variety of habitats as well as developing knowledge of how plants contribute to maintaining a healthy and balanced environment. 
 
The unit also aims to raise student awareness of the diverse types of farming employed across Northern Ireland and the impact that a range of factors has on the production systems used. Finally, students analyse the impact agricultural practices have on the natural environment and consider how modern farming can limit this impact, while enhancing biodiversity and promoting sustainability. 
 
Unit 2 (20%) 
Over 60 percent of the population of Northern Ireland is classified as rural. Farming, along with land-based and environmental industries, makes a significant contribution to the local economy. This unit aims to educate students about the main animal species that are kept commercially in Northern Ireland. The unit focuses on the key aspects of cow, sheep, pig and poultry husbandry, including health, welfare and breeding. Students understand how decisions, for example about breeding and feeding, affect farm profitability. They learn how farming is responding to increasing environmental concerns about land use and consider aspects of sustainability at farm level, including farm diversification. 
 
Through practical work students will be able to apply their knowledge and understanding to a realistic context. 
 
Unit 3 (60%) 
In this unit students carry out a practical investigation (Task 1) and a research project (Task 2) into topics relevant to contemporary issues in Agriculture and Land Use. The two tasks must each be selected from a choice of three Task 1 titles and three Task 2 titles that we provide. We recommend that students spend no more than a total of 45 hours on the controlled assessment tasks. 
 
Task 1 
Students carry out a practical investigation relating to a topic relevant to contemporary issues in Agriculture and Land Use. The investigation provides students with the opportunity to apply their skills, knowledge and understanding, including that gained in Units 1 and 2 of the specification. 
 
In this task students: 
plan an investigation and develop a risk assessment; 
carry out an investigation; 
present a report. 
The task is marked out of 60 and is one third of the marks available for the unit. 
 
Task 2 
Students research a topic relating to a contemporary issue in Agriculture and Land Use. The research will provide the students with opportunities to apply the knowledge and understanding gained in Unit 1 and Unit 2 to a realistic context. 
 
In this task students: 
plan research into a contemporary issue in Agriculture and Land Use 
carry out research using primary and secondary sources; 
present a report. 
 
The task is marked out of 120 and is two thirds of the marks available for the unit. 
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