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All pupils study Biology as either a separate science GCSE or as a third component (along with Physics and Chemistry) for two Combined Science GCSEs (Synergy course 8465).
The GCSE specification in Biology has been designed as loose and flexible topics to provide a programme of study that starts with simpler and fundamental concepts in S3 (Year 9) and builds on understanding more complex ideas over S4 (Year 10) and finishes in the Easter term of S5 (Year 11) to provide time for revision. Regular tests provide feedback and support and the ten required practical tasks are spread over the three year course, alongside other practical activities, in order to support the theory work and provide pupils with an understanding of how science works in the real world.
The topics covered are:
Cell structure – including drawing from microscopes; transport in cells – diffusion, osmosis and active transport; tissues, organs and systems including the human digestive system; infection and response and cell division – chromosomes, mitosis and the cell cycle.
Classification of living organisms; the heart and blood vessels; plant tissues and organs; photosynthesis; respiration; the human nervous system; hormonal coordination in humans; the role of the kidney; reproduction; adaptations, interdependence and competition; organisation of an ecosystem.
Plant hormones and their uses; plant disease; the brain and the eye; monoclonal antibodies and their uses; genetics and evolution; food production and sustainable farming.
In addition to the academic content of the course we also provide an opportunity for our S4 pupils to participate in the national competition The Biology Challenge. Run by the Royal Society of Biology this sees over 40, 000 pupils compete in an online competition comprised of two 25 minute papers. Questions are set on topics covered in general Biology courses but will also reward pupils whose knowledge has been increased by reading books and magazines, watching natural history programmes and taking an interest in native flora and fauna. We hope this will encourage pupils to develop a love of the subject and choose to further their studies with the Biology A-level course.