Biology

Through Biology, pupils gain insight into the way the living world works from many different perspectives and over a vast range of scales.

They can gain a greater appreciation of life on Earth by studying the inner workings and myriad interactions that have enabled living systems to evolve and survive.

For example, a rocky beach offers a lovely view to any observer but how much richer is that observer’s experience if it is informed by a knowledge of the ebb and flow of tides, the changing experience of the organisms dwelling in that half-immersed, half-exposed habitat and the constant battle to endure and reproduce?

Pupils enrich their engagement with the world through observation and experiment. They learn how to employ good sampling practice and effective statistical analysis to make their observations and experiments useful. They are educated in all these aspects of modern Biology with the tools and skills required to analyse results.

Lower School

We introduce the pupils to Biology in their first years at Senior School on a range of scales, from the microscopic to the ecological. The topics studied include microbiology, the genetics of inheritance, and reproduction in human and other animals. Human and plant physiology conclude the Lower School teaching programme. The end of Year 7 culminates in a trip to Colchester Zoo to support and extend their class work on classification and the diversity of life on Earth. In Year 7 Biology is taught as part of the Principles of Science course, which integrates Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and in Year 8 it is taught as a single subject.

Middle School and GCSE

Pupils tackle a wide range of topics in preparation for the AQA Biology GCSE exam at the end of Year 11, exploring in greater depth the concepts familiar to them as well as encountering new ideas. Their understanding of classical genetics, for example, is extended to encompass modern advances in cloning and genetic disease. We provide pointers to online resources including BBC Bitesize for GCSE in addition to the CGP revision guides we give to all pupils. In the Lent Term we enter the Biology Challenge – a national competition open to pupils in Year 9 and 10.

“Thank you ever so much for all your help and inspiration in the past year. I will never forget all your anecdotes and the time you did an impression of a maggot in our first lesson. You always made our lessons interesting and you always had an answer for everything especially those weird but wonderful facts.” Year 13 student

Sixth Form and A level

In the Sixth Form, students are studying a new AQA A Level course. The syllabus incorporates modern advances in the subject, including topics such as genetic engineering and gene regulation, while also giving pupils the necessary grounding in more traditional areas such as biochemistry, cell biology and ecology. There are new requirements for practical work which is now integrated into the course and assessed in the final exam. During Year 12 and Year 13 students have the option of taking part in the British Biology Olympiad run by the Royal Society of Biology.

“Thank you very much for being a great Biology teacher and inspiring me to take the subject further.” From a student who went on to read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University