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Animal Kingdom

Animal Care

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened."


Anatole France

Subject Intent:


The Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Animal Care (603/7057/9) is for learners who want to acquire sector-specific applied knowledge and practical skills through vocational contexts by studying animal health and welfare, including signs of good and ill health, causes, transmission and treatment of common diseases in animals, the different health and monitoring checks, factors that affect animal behaviour, and how this impacts of handling and restraint; and what needs to be carried out to prepare, check and clean out animal accommodation as part of their Key Stage 4 learning.


The qualification enables learners to develop their practical skills, such as using appropriate equipment and techniques to handle and restrain different animals, and to prepare and clean out animal accommodation ready for use using realistic vocational contexts. It will also develop personal skills, such as self-management and communication, through a practical and skills-based approach to learning and assessment. The qualification recognises the value of learning skills, knowledge and vocational attributes to complement GCSEs. The qualification will broaden learners’ experience and understanding of the varied progression options available to them.


The Tech Award gives learners the opportunity to develop sector-specific knowledge and skills in a practical learning environment. Learners will have the opportunity to develop knowledge and practical skills in the following areas:

● animal health and welfare, including signs of good and ill health, causes, transmission and treatment of common diseases in animals, the different health and monitoring checks, and the use of animals in society

● factors affecting animal behaviour, the impact on handling and restraint, and when it is safe and unsafe to handle and restrain animals, and the practical application of safe handling and restraint techniques and equipment

● features that need to be considered when selecting accommodation for animals to ensure it is appropriate and meets their needs, and the practical activities of preparing, checking and cleaning out animal accommodation using the appropriate equipment.


This Tech Award complements the learning in GCSE programmes such as GCSE Biology, GCSE Business and GCSE Mathematics.


Learners will also develop their skills in safe Animal Handling (Unit 1), which is vital in order to effectively care for animals. Learners will also study Animal Health & Welfare (Unit 3) and Animal Housing and Accommodation (Unit 2).


We built the curriculum with the intent that learners will:

  • experience a knowledge rich curriculum so that the scope and nature of their study is broad, deep, coherent, practical, so that learners are inspired and challenged by the subject.

  • be literate and numerate through the development of vocabulary and learning to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry and problem-solving skills

  • have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement when engaging with experiences within the subject. Our learners will demonstrate respect and courtesy when exploring ideas and avenues of enquiry.

  • enhance their cultural, moral, social, mental and physical development through investigation of animal health and well-being and how our choices effect the health and wellbeing of the animals in our care. Learners access different resources and external agency advice and guidance that encourages them to talk about the welfare of animals and to raise awareness of signs and symptoms of illness/stress/neglect/disease in the animals studied.

  • be prepared for life beyond the school by building curious, independent and inquisitive individuals who have an appreciation and understanding for the animals in the world around them. This equips our learners with the knowledge and skills needed to address issues around animal care.


Subject Implementation:

  • The curriculum is designed so that components build on each other as learners grow in confidence. This allows learners to embed their knowledge whilst giving opportunities to put into practice what they learn. For example, the early units develop understanding of healthy animals demonstrating normal behaviours, and how to identify unhealthy animals demonstrating abnormal behaviours.

  • Alongside practical application leads to the acquisition of knowledge, understanding and technical skills through vocational contexts. Developing skills to encourage them to begin to challenge the way they perceive the world they live in.

  • Assignment tasks are tailored so that learners apply their knowledge to real life scenarios in a community context. This will develop skills in preparation for the external assessment in Unit 1 as well as developing research, application, evaluation and synthesis skills for their future.

  • Unit 1 – Animal Handling focusses on understanding and demonstrating safe handling and restraint techniques. This is internally assessed.

  • Unit 2 – Animal Housing and Accommodation focusses on understanding how to select animal accommodation; preparing and maintaining animal accommodation; being able to clean out animal accommodation. This is internally assessed.

  • Unit 3 – Animal Health & Welfare focusses on understanding…

    • the essential signs of good and ill health in animals;

    • common diseases, their causes, transmission and treatment;

    • the signs, symptoms, prevention and treatment of common parasites;

    • the different roles of animals and animal-related organisations in society;

    • animal welfare and legislation;

    • the responsibilities involved in caring for animals. This Unit is externally assessed.

  • All lessons are designed following the Smithills School’s non-negotiables and based around the Animal Care specification.  A big question stimulates the enquiring mind and a four part lesson structure is used (Connect, Activate, Demonstrate and Consolidate). The success criteria are fully embedded so progress can be tracked throughout the lesson.

  • A blended learning approach is used to promote and develop learners’ independent learning through the medium of Microsoft TEAMs.  Tasks are set in lessons and at home and supported by knowledge organisers  which are linked to schemes of learning. Lesson PowerPoints and resources are available to support learning. Teachers will engage with learners through feedback on progress which will enable them to improve and extend their learning.

  • An integral part of the animal care curriculum is the practical element. This enables learners to ask questions and develop a line of enquiry based on observations of animals in the real world, alongside prior knowledge and experience and thus promote a love of learning that makes the subject relevant to them. The curriculum has been designed to include as many opportunities as possible for practical work.

  • Learner progress is tracked through the use of rigorous, reliable assessments. These include frequent low stake questioning activities: during connects/consolidates, to enable retrieval of prior knowledge and skills. On-going assessment also occurs through teacher monitoring of assignments, classwork and discussions with learners.  Additionally formal assessment takes place after assignments are completed and this data is entered into SIMS prior to each data entry point. Interventions and extra support are implemented where appropriate. Assessment outcomes are compared to targets to monitor progress. Specific groups such as SEN, DP, MA are monitored and intervention, where necessary, is planned in order to reduce gaps.

Subject Enrichment:

  • The Animal Care room has a plethora of resident animals. Luna the border collie regularly visits school; Sky and Everest are the two resident guinea pigs; Broc is our friendly male Syrian hamster; Yog is our nibbling female Russian dwarf hamster and Cecil is our slithery corn snake. There are also several fish tanks stalked up with a range of friendly fish.

  • Many of our learners do not have access to animals/pets at home so Animal Care provides them with the  opportunity to learn how to look after, care and handle the animals. The importance of providing adequate accommodation, the skills needed to clean and maintain these, and to know how to monitor the animals’ welfare.

  • There are plans afoot for chickens and a bearded dragon to join the Smithills School animal care world in 2022.

  • Developing partnerships with external providers that extend the learners opportunities to learn.

  • Building on their understanding of the importance of British Values, including democracy, the rule of law (e.g. Animal Welfare Act 2006), including liberty, tolerance and respect.

  • Improve their SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural) development by studying the importance of animal welfare and the laws/rules devised for owning a pet for pleasure or govern using animals in industry/sport.

  • Animal Care Club runs on Wednesday lunchtimes

  • Extending tasks outside of school, research projects, visits to and talks from local animal care practitioners and sectors to develop interest and real life experiences.

Subject Impact:

  • The two year animal care curriculum model ensures that sequences of learning build on previous knowledge and skills along with laying the foundation for subsequent progression.

  • The choice to deliver BTEC prepares learners for the world of work and engages them in current trends within the sector making it relevant and relatable for all, allowing learners to fulfil their potential; academically, personally, physically, socially and morally, and be successful.

  • Through studying Animal Care it prepares learners for the next stage of their education, employment or training. Links with colleges and local Universities raise aspirations through increased awareness and understanding of the range of Animal Care careers and entry routes.

Animal Care Map 2023.jpg

Knowledge and Skills 

Component 1 – Animal Handling

Component in brief

Learners will develop their animal handling skills. They will also gain understanding of the principles of animal behaviour, enabling them to handle and restrain animals safely.



Safe animal handling is a daily activity when dealing with animals. There are many different techniques used to handle and restrain animals in a commercial setting while also maintaining the animals’ welfare and safety.


Knowing how an animal would normally behave enables an animal’s keeper to identify abnormal behaviour, which may indicate that something is wrong. For example, if you observed an animal displaying signs of aggression, you would be able to judge if it was suitable for handling at that time. It is also important that you work safely and effectively with a variety of animals. Being familiar with the hazards and risks associated with handling animals is crucial to any job in the industry.


In this component you will learn about the reasons why it is necessary to catch, handle, restrain and release animals appropriately, such as for health inspections, grooming or training. You will learn about and develop safe working practices in the approach, handling and restraint of companion animals, reptiles, birds and invertebrates. These practices protect both your safety and the safety of the animals you handle. You will also learn about the control measures that can reduce the risks, and the procedures for reporting accidents when working with animals.


This component will help to develop your animal handling and restraint skills and build your confidence through practical assignments. These will be important skills for any career in the animal care sector.


Learning outcomes

A Understand animal behaviours and their impact on how animals are handled and restrained

B Undertake preparation for safe animal handling and restraint

C Demonstrate safe animal handling and restraint.


Component 2 – Animal Housing and Accommodation


Component in brief

Learners will develop their understanding of the accommodation and housing requirements of animals by carrying out the preparation, checking and cleaning out of animal accommodation.



Choosing the right kind of animal accommodation and preparing, checking and cleaning it is an essential part of looking after animals. In this component, you will explore how to select and prepare animal accommodation to meet different animals’ needs.


You will gain an essential understanding of the purpose and characteristics of animal bedding and materials, and how choosing these correctly can improve an animal’s welfare. You will investigate how and why different types of housing and bedding are suitable for the needs of different animals, and you will learn about the importance of good hygiene.


In this component, you will develop practical skills by preparing animal accommodation for use, checking the accommodation and cleaning it out effectively. This includes learning how to clean different types of feeding and watering equipment, as well as a range of different types of housing and enrichment.


These are essential skills for anyone planning to work with animals, and you will learn how to use these skills both safely and effectively. You will also develop transferable skills such as research and communication all of which will support your progression to Level 2 or 3 vocational or academic qualifications.


Learning outcomes

A Understand factors affecting the selection of animal accommodation

B Prepare and check animal accommodation using safe working practices

C Be able to clean out animal accommodation using safe working practices.


Component 3 – Animal Health and Welfare

Component in brief

Component 3 covers all aspects of animal health and welfare and will equip learners with a good understanding of the relationship between looking after the wellbeing of the animal and the effect this has on maintaining animal strength and vigour. The component also gives an understanding of how animals are used in society and how they are protected by legislation.



This component will give you a thorough understanding of the characteristics of good health, from knowing the visible signs to look out for in an animal to understanding if ill health is present despite a lack of physical signs. The component covers common diseases and disorders, so you will be able to identify and treat a range of animal



The component also covers the welfare of animals and the moral responsibilities of the animal owner, as well as topics such as choosing the correct animal. It will also give you a good insight into the legalities of animal welfare and you will link your understanding of the five welfare needs to animal welfare legislation.


The component focuses on the health and welfare of smaller animals, but also has content relating to larger animals that can be used in the society we live in.


You will develop knowledge of animal handling, observing and assessing health in a range of animals, as well as gaining sound information to be able to provide the best care.


Assessment objectives

AO1 Demonstrate knowledge of different animals’ needs, purposes and protection in society in order to support their health and welfare. Know about common diseases, their symptoms and treatments and good animal care routines.

AO2 Demonstrate understanding of animals’ needs, purposes and protections in society in order to support their health and welfare. Understand the way diseases are transmitted in order to support animals with appropriate care and how the elements of housing, care routines and healthcare ensure the ongoing health of animals.

AO3 Apply knowledge and understanding to consider appropriate care that meets animals’ individual health and welfare needs.

AO4 Make connections between the areas of disease transmission and treatment, routine checks, housing, legislative protections and care to ensure animals’ individual health and welfare needs are met.

Contact Head of Department:

Mr Martin -

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