Biology is the study of all living things, from the microscopic structure of cells to the interaction of living things with their environment; from the physiology of the human body to the medical and industrial applications common in our everyday lives.
Years 7 – 8 (Key Stage 3)
In Years 7 – 8 pupils learn about some of the basic and fundamental principles in Biology, i.e. Cells, Classification, Reproduction, Adaptations, Nutrition, Respiration, Circulation, Immunity, Variation and Skeletal System. Pupils enjoy much experimental work and practise the principles of scientific method. They learn to plan experiments, carry them out, analyse their results and evaluate their methods.
To further understand the topic of Adaptations, Year 8 pupils take part in a trip to Chester Zoo where they study animal behaviour and adaptations and get to handle some live animals and skulls. This trip is enjoyed enormously by the students and stimulates project work and discussion on our return to the classroom.
Years 9 – 11 (GCSE)
Examination Board: AQA
At GCSE level (Years 9 – 11) many of the KS3 topics are revisited and studied in more depth, along with a number of new topics. Students become familiar with more complex concepts when studying topics such as Enzymes, Photosynthesis, Evolution, Ecology, Genetics and Biotechnology. Practical work often enhances the understanding of Biology, for example, the dissection of a lamb’s heart when studying Circulation or culturing bacteria in order to study Antibiotics.
Some of the newer developments in Biology also form part of GCSE work, including Genetic Engineering, Stem cells and Cloning. Many questions are considered by the students: What are the procedures for developing new drugs? Why were the side effects of thalidomide discovered too late? How do plant hormones work? Why is MRSA such a problem in hospitals and how can we eradicate it? How can stem cells be used to treat some diseases? How are genetic disorders inherited?
Sixth Form (A Level)
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Every year our best A level Biologists take part in the British Biology Olympiad, a national competition organised by the Society of Biology. Many of our students have been successful in gaining Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. In 2007 we were awarded ”˜Top School’ in England.
Recently our Year 10 students have been successful in the Biology Challenge, a fairly new annual competition also organised by the Society of Biology, achieving numerous Bronze and Silver awards. Our top students have been awarded Gold awards.
An annual event in the calendar is the whole-school Biology competition. These events encourage all students to have fun whilst, for example, trying to identify images of living things or name their habitats, grow the tallest sunflower or celebrate Darwin’s birthday. This year’s students had to identify the significance of various numbers/dates in Biology (BIONUMBERS).