• Block 3 (Year 9)
  • Block 4 and 5 (Years 10 and 11)
  • Sixth Form

In Block 3 students start the IGCSE Science course. There is a strong emphasis on the scientific method and wherever possible a practical investigation will form part of the learning process. Throughout the course students are encouraged to be reflective about their learning and take responsibility for their progress.

The topics covered are:

- Cells, Tissues and Organs – a study of the organisation of plants and animals
- Respiration - the chemical processes going on inside living things
- Biological Molecules – the building blocks of life
- Ecology – the study of organisms in their natural habitat.

Assessment is by regular marking of weekly preps, a test at the end of each topic and an end of year examination.

Block 4 and 5 students study a Double Award Science IGCSE, but in Blocks 4 and 5 some may choose to do three separate IGCSEs in Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Both these routes provide a sound basis for continuing Biology to A Level.

Double Award IGCSE specification Single Award IGCSE specification

The Pearson Edexcel A Level in Biology A (Salters-Nuffield) is a very exciting and up-to-date course. The A Level is taught in eight topics over the two year period:

- Topic 1: Lifestyle, Health and Risk
- Topic 2: Genes and Health
- Topic 3: The voice of the Genome
- Topic 4: Biodiversity and Natural Resources 
- Topic 5: On the wild side
- Topic 6: Immunity, Infection and Forensics
- Topic 7: Run for your Life
- Topic 8: Grey Matter

This A Level course has an increased mathematical content and students should take this into consideration when deciding if it is a suitable option. There remains a strong emphasis on practical work and the ability to understand and evaluate experimental procedures is paramount. Assessment is in the form of three two-hour written papers at the end of the two-year course.

As ever, Biology is an essential course for those wishing to study medicine or veterinary medicine and can lead to a wide range of Biological degree courses. The world of Biology continues its rapid expansion and development and as such is a fascinating, relevant subject to study. It should be noted, however, that strong GCSE science grades should be obtained before embarking on the A Level.

A Level Biology specification

Head of Department: Vikki Alderson-Smart