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Biology is taught from Year 7 to Year 13. We aim to inspire and enthuse students about Biology and living organisms through investigating, observing, experimenting, testing out ideas, and thinking about them. We look at the basic unit of life, the cell, and explore how cells perform specific functions within organisms, and how these organisms relate to, and shape, the environment in which we live. We follow our own course in Years 7 and 8 before formally commencing AQA Biology GCSE and OCR Biology A at A Level.

Co-curricular activites

The A-Level course includes an opportunity to attend an ecology field studies four-day course at a field studies centre in Somerset.  Further enrichment is provided through a KS3 Science Club and Eco Club. We also run a biology clinic and offer additional enrichment activities for Year 12s. Details

Head of Department: Mrs C Dhanowa

Teachers: Mrs C Dhanowa, Dr A Donovan, Mrs Munton, Mr A Roberts, Miss K Purkayastha, and Mr S Marsh

Technician: Mrs N Brett

DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created."
Bill Gates, The Road Ahead

Years 7 and 8

Year 7

Students study Cells and Tissues, Animal and Plant Reproduction, Environment and Adaptation, Variation and Classification, Photosynthesis, and Food and Digestion. 

Year 8

Students study Variation and Classification, Photosynthesis, Lungs and Gas Exchange, Respiration, and Human Biology.

National Curriculum

GCSE Years 9, 10 and 11

Year 9

Year 9 Biology is the first year of the Biology GCSE course and covers Cell Biology, Transport in Cells, Organisation, and Photosynthesis. Practical work is an integral part of the Science course and practical skills are developed throughout the course.

Year 10

Students study Communicable Diseases, Respiration, Homeostasis, Human Nervous System, Hormones, Reproduction and Meiosis.

Year 11

Students studying for Dual Award Science cover Photosynthesis, Proteins and Enzymes, Respiration, Cell Division, Inheritance, Speciation and Extinction.

Students studying for Triple Science will cover Speciation and Extinction, Exchange of Materials, Transporting Materials, Homeostasis and Human Impact on the Environment.

Exam Board: AQA

Links to Specification:

For Year 9 and 10: Biology 8461:

For Year 11: Biology 4401:

A Level: Years 12 and 13

Entry requirement: GCSE Grade 6 at GCSE Biology or 6,6 Additional Science.

Aims and Outcomes

Students who gain an A level in Biology may go on to study further Biological Sciences, Medical Sciences or Veterinary Sciences at University .

Year 12

Year 12 Biology students cover Cell Structure, Biological Molecules, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, Enzymes, Biological Membranes, Cell Division, Exchange Surfaces, Transport in Animals and Plants, Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease.

Practical work is carried out throughout Year 12.

Year 12 examination: This is a ‘new’ A Level and as such is a two year course, with all the externally assessed exams at the end of Year 13. There are internal mock exams during Year 12.

Year 13

Year 13 Biologists cover Communication and Homeostasis, Excretion, Neuronal Communication, Hormonal Communication, Plant and Animal Responses, Photosynthesis, Respiration, Cellular Control, Inheritance, Manipulating Genomes, Cloning and Biotechnology, Ecosystems and Populations.

Practical work is carried out throughout Year 12 and 13.

Assessment at the end of Year 13 consists of 3 written papers:

Biological Processes: 2 hour 15 minutes written paper ( 100 marks, 37% of total A level)

Biological Diversity: 2 hour 15 minutes written paper ( 100 marks, 37% of total A level)

Unified Biology: 1 hour 30 minutes written paper ( 70 marks, 26% of total A level)

Practical skills are embedded within the course and are assessed throughout the written examinations, as well as through a separate Practical Endorsement.

Exam Board:OCR

Link to Specification

Careers Education

Biology is a widely required and highly regarded “facilitating” subject that will help
students gain entry to many careers. It is a requirement for many very competitive degree courses where sound scientific skills are required. As a department we have a good track record of facilitating the high grades that are demanded for courses such as Medicine, Veterinary and Biomedical Science degrees.

The department offers specific guidance to students applying for Biology-related courses, and runs a lunchtime club for students interested in pursuing Medicine and related courses.  

We actively encourage students to participate in work experience, and to take up extra-curricular opportunities in the subject, and provide opportunities for mock interviews for university courses.
Careers opportunities are emphasised where appropriate as an intrinsic part of the Biology curriculum.