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. Currently 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. The vast majority of boys choose Biology as a separate GCSE with two 90 minute exams to assess the course. Some students may follow the Science (Double Award) route with two 60 minutes exams providing the assessment at the end of Year 11. From September 2016 Year 10 will commence the new AQA GCSE syllabus.
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 (82% A*- B on average over the last four 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. The department has significant animal collections with beekeeping and Club Animalia offering boys the chance to get hands on with living creatures. Year 8 boys undertake a joint trip with Geography to Blackpool Zoo, whilst Year 10 boys complete 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 or as member of the Young Scientists Journal editorial team. 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. Preparation for competitive University degrees is an important aspect of sixth form life. The department supports applicants for medical, dental and veterinary courses through the medical society, mock interviews and individual mentoring and support with admission tests.
Operation Wallacea expeditions take place every two years. With previous destinations including Peru and Madagascar, we are now preparing for our trip to Dominica in July 2017. The trip takes place in conjunction with the Girls' Division and has proved a successful and rewarding experience. 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.
Head of Department
M A Tillotson BSc
Members of the Department
Dr J C Catterall BSc, PhD
Miss R S Crowther BSc
Dr N Morgan BSc, DPhil
Dr F H Mullins BSc, PhD
Dr M J Procter BSc, PhD
D F Teasdale BSc