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Senior

Biology provides a fascinating insight into nature, in addition to offering an apprenticeship in the rigours of the scientific method.  Pupils are disciplined to explore not just the empirically demonstrable facts of reality; they are also invited to explore such metaphysical considerations as why there is even a world at all, and how come there is something rather than nothing.  The Department enjoys three specialist Biology laboratories, and the study of life is encouraged through both the experimental and investigative methods.

Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14)

Biology is taught as part of a combined science programme in the First and Second form.  Pupils are taught topics from the three Sciences by one class teacher.  The topics covered follow those suggested by the national curriculum.

Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16)

Qualification Pathways: GCSE Biology (Triple) or Combined (Double) Science

Examination Board: AQA

Method of Assessment:

  • 100% Written Examination

With the GCSE reforms taking effect from September 2016, pupils now pursue either:

  • GCSE Biology: a course that leads to three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry or Physics. This pathway breaks down further into Foundation or Higher levels; or,

    GCSE Combined (Double) Science: here, pupils follow a pathway of Combined (Double) Science: this leads to a test in two GCSE certificates that examines a combination of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  This pathway also breaks down further into Foundation or Higher levels.

Course Overview:

Depending on qualification pathway, the topics studied are:

1. Cell biology
2. Organisation
3. Infection and response
4. Bioenergetics
5. Homeostasis and response
6. Inheritance, variation and evolution
7. Ecology
8. Key ideas (GCSE Biology only)

Biology is taught by a subject specialist as a discrete double-lesson on the timetable.  Pupils continue developing their Biological understanding and practical skills. Emphasis is placed on observing and explaining a variety of biological phenomena and encouraging scientific enquiry.

Assessment:

Towards the end of the year, investigation work is carried out and the KS4 GCSE course is started.

Both qualification pathways are linear. Pupils will sit all their exams at the end of the 2 year course. There are two examination papers in total.  There is no coursework. 

  • Foundation Tier Assessments will be awarded a grade within the range of 1 to 5.
  • Higher Tier Assessments will be awarded a grade within the range of 4 to 9.
  • A pupil sitting the Higher Tier who just fails to achieve grade 4 will be awarded an allowed Grade 3.

Unit

Topic Assessed

Value

Assessment Type

Style of Questions

Paper 1

Topics 1-4

Cell Biology

Organisation

Infection and Response

Bioenergetics

50%

Written exam:

1 hour 45 minutes

Foundation and Higher Tier

 

Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response.

 

Paper 2

Topics 5-8

Homeostasis and Response

Inheritance, Variation and Evolution

Ecology

Key Ideas (GCSE Biology only)

50%

Written exam:

1 hour 45 minutes

Foundation and Higher Tier

 

Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response.