From Charles Darwin’s 200th anniversary to swine flu, and from DNA databases to the safety of vaccines, hardly a day goes by without some item of biological interest in the news. Tomorrow’s citizens will need a sound foundation in life sciences.
Our Biology Department is staffed by an enthusiastic and experienced team of four Biology specialists and a technician. Our courses include plenty of laboratory practical work and field visits. All four laboratories are equipped with multimedia projectors linked to the School’s Intranet. We have a thriving colony of free-range South American leafcutter ants (Atta cephalotes) as well as fish, tree frogs, gerbils, orchids, and many other plants. We are fortunate in having grassland, woodland and freshwater sites within the School grounds.
GCSE Biology provides a sound grounding in a subject which is becoming increasingly important for an understanding of the modern world. This new Biology course has a traditional flavour and contains a good deal of practical work. Questions in the written exams will draw on the knowledge and understanding pupils have gained by carrying out practical activities encountered throughout the course. These questions will count for at least 15% of the overall marks for the qualification. This course will also give a solid foundation for those progressing to A-Level Biology.
Summary of content
1. Cell Biology
3. Infection and response
5. Homeostasis and response
6. Inheritance, variation and evolution
Our A' Level students take the Edexcel Salters Nuffield Advanced Biology (SNAB) course. This takes an innovative and stimulating context-based approach, and is supported by excellent material on the SNAB website. The Year 12 topics are Lifestyle, Health and Risk; Genes and Health; Voice of the Genome; and Biodiversity and Natural Resources. Year 13 Biologists complete the final units of the SNAB course; On the Wild Side; Infection, Immunity and Forensics; Run for your Life and Grey Matter. These students also complete a personal research project: recent topics have investigated colour vision in maggots and how the sense of taste fades with age. SNAB Biologists visit a local zoo, carry out fieldwork on sand dunes and rocky shores on the Cumbrian coast, and take part in a molecular biology practical workshop at the LIFE Centre in Newcastle.