First Year A Level Biology students at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form enjoyed a trip to Ainsdale Beach as part of their course.

70 Biology students at the College attended a trip to the coast at Ainsdale, where they visited the beach and dunes in order for them to gain a deeper understanding of sand-dune succession. Whilst there, the students learnt to investigate plant populations using quadrats and transects. The area of Ainsdale was selected for the visit as it is classed as a site of special scientific interest, which is habitat to various rare species such as the Marsh Orchid and Natterjack Toad.

Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form has an enviable reputation for excellence in the provision of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education and was awarded STEM Assured Status by the New Engineering Foundation (NEF) in 2012; one of only a few colleges in the UK to achieve this. The College is committed to giving its Science students every opportunity to progress with their education and future careers in the scientific industries. Trips and visits which are specific to modules being taught in class help to give students a more in-depth understanding of certain topics, which greatly assists in their examinations.

Curriculum Leader for Science, Kirsten Graham accompanied the students and said, “The trip to Ainsdale is a popular one with our students and it’s a great way for them to ‘get their hands dirty’ with some field investigation work! This year’s early wet weather conditions meant that the conditions were more favourable for the Toads so we saw a large population at Ainsdale.”