Drones and DNA testing to be included in new A-level


Teenagers will learn about the use of drones in tackling global environmental issues as part of a newly created A-level.

The Environmental Science course will also cover new "CSI-style" technology such as DNA testing, as well as GPS tracking systems, according to AQA.

DNa testing will also form part of the draft A level course (Amel Emric/AP)
DNA testing will form part of the A-level course (Amel Emric/AP)

The exam board said that the draft qualification, which if approved by Ofqual will be available from September next year, focuses on sustainability and important issues such as climate change, fracking, energy supplies including wind, solar and nuclear power, and marine wildlife conservation.

(Rick Callahan/AP)
Energy security issues will be covered in the new qualification (Rick Callahan/AP)

Richard Genn, lead developer for the course, said: "Climate change, diminishing resources and failing energy security are amongst the most critical issues facing the world today. Planet Earth didn't come with a user guide, so it's vital that we equip the current generation of students with the right knowledge and skills so they understand the impact that decisions we make now will have on future generations."

Sixth-formers taking the A-level will learn about how DNA samples taken from timber products can be used to identify tree species, country of origin and whether it was traded legally, as well as how drones can be used to monitor crop pests and track wildlife poachers.

 (Irish Defence Forces/Air Corps)
The new A-level will cover new ways of tracking animals' movements across the globe (Irish Defence Forces/Air Corps)

Other topics include using satellite surveys to search for new mineral reserves and GPS to track wildlife such as whales, sharks or migrating birds.

The new course is being introduced as part of a major ongoing overhaul of GCSEs and A-levels, with reformed qualifications being introduced over the next few years.