The new GCSE course has a very prominent practical component; all pupils will complete a series of required practicals throughout their studies and will learn to present and manipulate data and link this data to concepts.
All Fourth Form and Remove pupils study topics preparing them for the Separate Science Biology GCSE. End of Topic Progress Tests will assess their progress, including understanding of practical skills. At the end of the Remove Year, a decision will be made whether a pupil continues with the Separate Science route to obtain a stand-alone Biology GCSE or he/she prepares for a combined Science GCSE resulting in two GCSE grades from a combination of Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Either route will include a wide range of topics including Cell Biology, Disease and Bioenergetics, Biological Responses, Genetics and Reproduction and Ecology, reinforced with practical work. Although the combined science route will not cover every single topic encountered in the Separate Science course, either GCSE route will prepare pupils for A level Biology.
A level GCE Biology also follows the AQA specification, an exciting course where practical work often assumes the cornerstone of teaching. Pupils take an active role in their learning; there are opportunities for individual lab research, participation in the Biology Olympiad and pupil-led topical presentations to augment their studies. All pupils attend a residential fieldtrip to a field studies centre in Surrey where they explore the beautiful countryside to enhance their understanding of Ecology.
The A level specification covers 8 separate units, each with required practical work. At the end of the two year course, both practical and theoretical concepts will be assessed within the series of three externally marked exams. Topics studied include: Biological Molecules, Cells, Exchange and Transport, Genetic Variation, Energy Transfer, Response to Stimuli, Population Genetics and Control of Gene Expression. Our recent graduates have progressed to study such subjects as Biological Sciences, Pharmacology, Dentistry and Medicine at a wide variety of universities.