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Biology

Head Of Department : Mrs Alison Stangroom

 

Members of Staff:

Ms Beauty Chiponda
Mrs Barbara Dean

IGCSE

Students begin their two-year IGCSE biology course in Form 3, with teaching shared between several members of staff. Students attend five lessons a week; these include as much practical work as possible. Lessons take place in one of our three well equipped laboratories. Students are introduced to microscope work and basic skills of use of equipment, measuring and recording data, analysis and interpretation and an understanding of the limitations of scientific method.
The biology syllabus is designed to give flexibility both to teachers and to candidates and to place greater emphasis on the understanding and application of scientific concepts and principles than on the recall of factual material, whilst still giving a thorough introduction to the study of the subject. Our departmental aim is to make the students more aware of how living things work and to make them responsible for their environment.

Classes are tested regularly and take internal examinations at mid-year and year end. The papers are set according to the style and standard of the final IGCSE papers. There are three examinations at the end of the two years:

  • Multiple choice
  • Alternate to practical
  • Structured questions

A-Level

The syllabus’ subject content is divided into an AS, done in lower 6, and A2 done in Upper 6.

The department offers well-equipped laboratories, with A2 and AS students having access to their own electric light microscopes. A great deal of practical work is undertaken at this level of the course. At the moment the pupils are taught only by the head of department.

Course Aims

Aims that are assessed include knowledge with understanding. Students should also be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in relation to factors such as

  • scientific phenomena, facts, laws, definitions, concepts, theories;
  • scientific vocabulary, terminology, conventions (including symbols, quantities and units);
  • scientific instruments and apparatus used in biology, including techniques of operation and aspects of safety;
  • scientific quantities and their determination; plus
  • scientific and technological applications with their social, economic and environmental implications.

Pupils must be able to handle information and solve problems using oral, written, symbolic, graphical and numerical forms of presentation, while also experimenting with their newly-acquired skills and investigations.

AS Candidates

Students begin the AS course as soon as they return from Service Projects and Lower 6 selection. A good grounding in Chemistry and Mathematics are recommended as well as an A grade at IGCSE.

The AS introduces cellular ultra structure, biochemistry and enzymes, transport at a cellular level, cell and nuclear division, genetic control, mass transport in plants and humans, infectious diseases and immunity, gas exchange and diseases of the gas exchange system with an emphasis on the effects of smoking, and some ecology.
There are three AS examinations done at the end of the year:

  • Multiple choice,
  • Advanced Practical
  • Written structured questions paper.

A2 Candidates

The A2 course begins when the Lower 6 students have finished their examinations in November. It includes a Core and an Applications of Biology section, which is studied, in its entirety, by all A2 candidates.

Topics in the core include photosynthesis, respiration, regulation, inherited change, and selection and evolution. The applications build on these topics to introduce students to topical fields of biology such as biodiversity and conservation, gene technology, biotechnology, crop science, and reproduction using IVF. Students do some of their own research on the internet.

There are two A2 examinations:

  • Written Structured questions
  • Written Practical Planning, Analysis and Evaluation.