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The new linear GCE specification is designed to follow on from GCSE combined sciences or from GCSE Biology as a separate science. Our objective in Biology is to develop a student’s interest in the many different fields of Biology, whilst ensuring they appreciate how biological research is carried out through knowledge of How Science Works. We also consider the ethical dilemmas often involved in the advancement of Biological diagnoses, treatment and technology. The course provides foundations for further study in biological sciences and medicine whilst developing relevant practical skills. To this end, 12 required practical tasks are assessed across the two year course to fulfil the practical skills endorsement, whilst further practical tasks support the theory work covered in class.
In addition to the course content we aim to foster a wider appreciation of the subject through pupil participation in national competitions of The Intermediate Biology Olympiad (L6 – Y12) and The British Biology Olympiad (U6 – Y13). These competitions challenge and stimulate students with an interest in Biology and aim to expand their talents. Demonstration of knowledge is rewarded with the award of medals, certificates and other prizes and it also acts as the first stage of selection in choosing a team to represent the UK in the International Biology Olympiad –a competition with participants from 60 countries.
A trip to Chester zoo in the first year of the course allows pupils to study classification in greater depth whilst handling some mammal skulls to see how evolution has changed them over time. It also allows them to see many animals from different habits up close and educates them in the crucial role that zoos have in conservation of species and maintaining biodiversity.
Biology complements the other science courses and can be combined with Mathematics and Chemistry for those wishing to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science. It works well with arts courses to provide scientific skills in data analysis and should therefore be undertaken by anyone with a love of the subject.
Biology at A-level can provide a stepping stone to a the wide ranging Biology University courses in diverse fields such as ecology, genetics, anatomy, environmental science, zoology and marine biology. A good grade in A-level Biology is well thought of by University admissions tutors and is useful for those pupils who wish to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary sciences. It also provides pupils with many transferable skills including data processing and high levels of literacy and numeracy.