Why Choose Biology?

Biology is the study of life itself, A level Biology explores the theories and principles involved in living systems, in all their intricate beauty.  Topics you will learn about include: lifestyle, transport, genes and health, plants and the environment, the natural environment and species survival, energy, exercise and co-ordination, as well as practical biology and research skills.

You will gain an understanding of how society makes decisions about scientific issues, as well some of the ways in which the scientific community contributes to the success of the economy and society.


Career Opportunities

Biology provides an excellent foundation for careers in a variety of professions and occupations in the areas of molecular and cellular biology, physiology, industrial microbiology and biotechnology, medicine, human genetics, forensic science, health education, plant pathology, oceanography, herpetology, animal behaviour, ecology, environmental studies, entomology, parasitology, botany, mammalogy and postgraduate education.

Course Content

Year 1:

1.    Biological molecules

2.    Cells

3.    Organisms exchange substances with their environment

4.    Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

Year 2:

5.    Energy transfers in and between organisms

6.    Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

7.    Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

8.    The control of gene expression

Practical Work

Practical work is at the heart of biology, so we have placed it at the heart of the Biology course.  Students will be required to complete lots of practical work including the following:

·         Calculating the rate of enzyme-controlled reactions.

·         Examining root tips undergoing mitosis.

·         Dilution series and water potential practical.

·         Investigating the permeability of cell membranes.

·         Dissection of a heart.

·         Investigating the affect of antibiotics on bacteria.


A level Examinations

Sat in June of second academic year. 3 examinations, each of 2 hour in length. The following explains the content of each paper:

Paper 1

Content: Section 1-4 + practical skills

91 marks

35% of A-level

Paper 2

Content: Section 5-8 + practical skills

91 marks

35% of A-level

Paper 3

Content: Section 1-8 + practical skills

78 marks

25 marks will be based on an essay question which must cover a wide range of topics covered in A – level Biology

30% of A-level

Methods of teaching, learning and assessment

A range of taught theory lessons and practical lessons. This will include formal teaching, small group work, problem solving tasks, research.

There are 12 required practical’s and these will be assessed and recorded. Successful completion and passing the associated competencies entitle you to gain an A-Level in Biology ‘with practical endorsement’ – which is a requirement for most universities.

Mini assessments for each topic will be used to monitor progress, and more formal review assessments that cover all content taught up to that point will be as per 6th form policy.

Opportunities for learning outside of the classroom

In Year 12 you will be offered a unique residential trip Malham Tarn field studies centre in the Yorkshire dales. Whilst on this trip you will work mainly outside of the classroom and will complete a large part of the ecology elements of the Biology course.  In addition to this trip there will be further opportunities to investigate the effects of human activity on the ecosystem around the school.

Quotes from current/ex-students

“this truly is the most interesting thing I have learned in School”- Alex Bishop

“It’s been hard but I’ve really enjoyed it” – Shaun Hanley