This department provides boys with a dynamic, friendly and stimulating environment in which they can study a wide breadth of biological phenomena. A variety of modern and traditional teaching approaches, with extensive opportunities for "hands on” practical work, together with ICT and stimulating reference materials, are used to help nurture a scientifically inquisitive mind.
GCSE and A Level Curriculum
Biology is taught in purpose-built laboratories by subject specialists. At GSCE level, all boys are entered to sit the AQA Certificate offering an iGCSE style qualification with exams being sat in the summer of Year 11. Boys have the option of choosing Biology as a separate GCSE with two 90 minute exams to assess the course or Science (Double Award) with two 60 minutes exams providing the assessment.
Biology is a popular and rewarding A-level choice with around a hundred sixth-from boys regularly opting to study AQA biology at AS and A2 level. The achievement of boys at A-level is extremely high not only in terms of the overall grades they achieve (87% A*- B on average over the last five years), but also in terms of the significant ‘value added’ scores they achieve.
The Department prides itself on placing a strong emphasis on curriculum enrichment opportunities; in the Middle School, many students are involved with Science club; boys in Years 7 & 8 can carry out innovative practical work, under the supervision of specialist staff, while boys in Years 9 and 10 compete in the Biology Challenge, a national competition run in association with the British Biology Olympiad. In the past, Year 9 and 10 boys have undertaken joint project work with similar students from local schools. Year 10 boys undertake a day of biological sampling in conjunction with the wildlife trust to support their understanding of the curriculum.
Students in Years 11, 12 and 13 enrich their understanding of contemporary biomedical issues through a popular seminar programme, delivered by experts in the field. Year 12 students look to stretch themselves by completing a literary review of an area of biology and others test their ability further in the British Biology Olympiad. Moreover, the department encourages sixth form students to take an active role in reviewing scientific articles before they go into press as a member the Biological Science Review liaison panel. A field trip at the end of Year 12 allows ecological skills to be developed ready for A2 study and day trips in Year 12 and 13 support higher level studies.
In July 2011 19 boys undertook an expedition to Indonesia with Operation Wallacea. This involved conservation work, firstly in a forest and then on a reef. After the success of this expedition we are in the final stages of organising the second expedition to Madagascar in 2013.
Over the last ten years a number of boys have been fortunate to carry out individual 4-5 week innovative research projects, in biomedical departments at local universities. All these students have presented their work to the wider public and gone on to receive BA CREST Gold awards for their efforts. Many boys have presented their work at the renowned BA Science Fair at the Royal Society in London and a number of boys have gone on to gain national recognition and prestigious awards including: the Astra-Zeneca Young Life Scientist of the Year, the national BA CREST Gold award winner, the London International Youth Science Forum prize winner and the QinetiQ Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar prize winner.
Head of Department
M Tillotson BSc
Members of the Department
J C Catterall BSc, PhD
R Crowther BSc
A Hatch BSc
N Morgan BSc, DPhil
F H Mullins BSc, PhD
JV Pledger J Hartley (Technicians)