Bolton School Senior Boys

Biology

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 qualification with exams being sat in the summer of Year 11. The vast majority of boys choose Biology as a separate GCSE with two 105 minute exams to assess the course. Some students may follow the Combined Science route with two 75 minute exams providing the assessment at the end of Year 11. 

Biology is a popular and rewarding A-level choice with around 60 sixth-form boys regularly opting to study AQA biology at A 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. 

Enrichment

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 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, Madagascar and Dominica, we are now planning our next trip to South Africa to survey the 'big five' in Kruger National Park and scuba dive with whale sharks in Sodwana Bay.

Head of Department

Dr N Morgan BSc, PhD

Members of the Department

T Benbow, BSc

Dr J C Catterall BSc, PhD

Dr F H Mullins BSc, PhD

Dr M J Procter BSc, PhD

D F Teasdale BSc

Scuba diving in Dominica

Scuba diving in Dominica

On the beach at Aberystwyth

On the beach at Aberystwyth

Conducting Genetics research at the University of Manchester

Conducting Genetics research at the University of Manchester