We aim to inspire our students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the natural world, from the physiology of human beings to the complexity of ecosystems, so they can make informed decisions when they are adults. The department’s enthusiastic staff encourages students to enjoy and appreciate Biology, develop their curiosity and become independent and reflective learners.

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Our teaching staff are thoroughly supported by experienced laboratory technicians who service our modern well-equipped laboratories.

Key Stage Three

From Year 7, Biology is taught as a separate science by subject specialists. The syllabus for year 7 and 8 has been carefully written, not only to expand their knowledge of Biology but also to develop their scientific skills in readiness for the GCSE and A-level courses as well. Our aim is to foster an enthusiasm and curiosity for the subject by including a range of teaching styles and lesson experiences with an emphasis on practical investigation. Topics to be studied include: adaptations, classification, reproduction, enzymes and photosynthesis. Dr Newman runs a weekly Key Stage three Science Club which focuses on fun practicals and developing a lifelong passion for the subject. Activities have included dissecting owl pellets, observing water fleas and caring for the various animals within the Department such as the albino giant African snail, mice, stick insects and chicks.

Key Stage Four

At Key Stage 4 we study the AQA specification. This includes such diverse topics as digestion, genetic engineering, inheritance, health and the environment. It is a linear course with two examinations at the end of year 11. Also included is an internally assessed practical investigation consisting of: research, practical work and written assessment. This will form 25% of the overall grade. Within the course, students are given many opportunities to consider the ethical implications of biology in society by weighing up evidence and data. This course has proven to be excellent preparation for study of Biology at Advanced Level and over half of our students carry on with Biology into the Sixth Form.

Key Stage Five

In the sixth form we follow the AQA specification. In the AS year the fundamentals of Biology, such as heath and disease, transport systems, cellular structure and DNA are studied in depth. There is a practical skills assessment at the end of the course. The majority of students who study AS stay on to study Biology to A2 level where they successfully study topics such as the sliding filament theory of muscle contraction, homeostasis and inheritance. There is a strong synoptic element to A2 biology which aims to connect different aspects of the syllabus together. The breadth and depth of the course is excellent preparation for health and science based degrees beyond Advanced level and develops skills that will be of benefit in many other subjects and vocations. Each year we send students to study related degrees at a range of universities. Many of our students study medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and natural sciences. Biology is also accepted for a wide range of other degrees. As a department we spend a significant amount of time experimenting with new, diverse and positive methods of enhancing and maximising the learning experience for all our pupils; the range of interests and expertise within the department also provides students with a range of stimulating experiences and contributes towards the interest and success in the department. We enrich the biology curriculum with extra activities such as the Bioethics Society and Biology Club and partaking in the Biology Olympiad and the Biology challenge. We also provide a thorough support program of revision sessions and peer mentoring for students who feel that they need extra help. The Biology department is proud of the achievements of its students and is always looking for ways in which we can improve the challenge and support that we offer.

Levels taught at

Years 7-9 GCSE AS Level A Level
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