Biology – how could we live without it?
Biology is taught as a separate subject in Years 7-11 by specialist teachers in dedicated subject-specific laboratories. A range of resources and activities are used to support the pupils' learning. There are two full time members of staff, two part time members and a full time technician.
The aims of the department are:
•To develop a passion for, and curiosity in, the living world
•To develop an understanding of how science works
•To instil an understanding of the inter-relationships between living things and the planet on which they live
•To develop an understanding of the ethical and moral issues associated with current advancements in the life sciences
•To prepare each individual girl thoroughly to achieve the highest standards in her examinations at GCSE and A-level
The study of biology is extremely popular throughout the school and has a very high uptake at A-level. At GCSE, the Edexcel IGCSE specification is followed throughout Years 9-11. Students are examined through two written papers at the end of Year 11 which test understanding of facts and theories as well as recall of practical procedures. There is no controlled assessment or coursework aspect to the IGCSE.
At A-level, the new AQA Biology AS and A-level specifications are followed, with examinations taking place at the end of the year 13. There is no controlled assessment for A-level biology, but a separate endorsement of practical skills will be taken alongside the A-level. All pupils will carry out a series of required investigations which will be assessed by teachers and will be based on direct observation of students’ competency in a range of skills that are not assessable in written exams.
Our A-level students competed in the annual British Biology Olympiad which was taken by over 7000 students. One of our students was awarded a silver award and two were awarded bronze awards. Our year 10 students competed in the Biology Challenge, and were awarded the following prizes: two gold awards, five silver awards and ten bronze awards.
Our students continue to be part of the student review panel for Biological Sciences Review.
The biology department enhances the teaching of the curriculum by offering various extracurricular activities:
•Life Sciences Societies for Year 12 and 13 students
•UKCAT and BMAT preparation
•Biology Olympiad at Sixth Form level
•Biology Challenge for GCSE students
Visits and field trips also take place throughout the academic year in order to complement school-based study. For example, we take full advantage of the proximity of Chester Zoo and its Education Centre.