Science – Biology

Head of Science Faculty and Physics Department: Mr S Burn
Head of Chemistry Department: Mrs Matlock
Head of Biology Department: Mr C Quirk (Maternity Cover)
Key Stage 3 Coordinator: Mr C Quirk
Faculty Staff: Mrs J Tidball, Mr M Deal, Miss A Bowman, Mr C Boutland-Smith, Mrs M Kestell, Mrs K Marshall, Mr P Dorney, Miss C Halden
Support Staff: Mrs B Cannan, Miss H Morrison, Mr C Spooner
Level of teaching: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 5 at The New Sixth

Biology is the study of life. Life occurs in many different forms. At St Greg’s we encourage students to develop an interest in all these forms and to understand how they fit together as life on Earth. We run regular trips to enable pupils to gain first-hand experience of species in their natural environments, so that they can develop a passion to conserve life on earth. Our emphasis is about bringing the subject to life by giving pupils opportunities to learn by carrying out experiments, making observations and then drawing conclusions. These experiences range from using microscopes, investigating the effect of acid rain on cress seedlings, to thin layer chromatography and heart dissections in the Sixth Form. All students are encouraged to plan fair tests, record precise results, and evaluate what they have done, suggesting improvements for next time.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

In KS3 Science lessons Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics are taught in rotation. We follow the Activate schemes of work which provide students with opportunities for regular practical work and development of their numeracy and literacy skills within Science. Student progress is tracked regularly with end of unit assessments, APP tasks (Assessing Pupil Progress) and formal end of year exams.

Year 7

Terms 1 & 2
Safety in Science & Working Scientifically;
C1.1 Particles and their behaviour
B1.1 Cells;
P1.1 Forces
Terms 3 & 4
B1.2 Structure and function of body systems;
P1.2 Sound
C1.2 Elements, atoms and compounds;
P1.3 Light
Terms 5 & 6
B1.3 Reproduction;
C1.4 Acids and Alkalis
C1.3 Chemical Reactions;
P1.4 Space

Year 8

Terms 1 & 2
B2.1 Health and Lifestyle;
P2.1 Electricity and Magnetism
C2.1 The Periodic Table;
B2.2 Ecosystem Processes
Terms 3 & 4
P2.2 Energy;
C2.2 Separation Techniques
P2.3 Motion and Pressure;
C2.3 Metals and Acids
Terms 5 & 6
B2.3 Adaptation and Inheritance;
Working Scientifically
C2.4 The Earth;
Working Scientifically

Year 9

Terms 1 & 2
P3.1 New Technology in Physics
B3.1 New Technology in Biology
C3.1 New Technology in Chemistry
Terms 3 & 4
Introduction to GCSE Biology;
Introduction to GCSE Chemistry;
Introduction to GCSE Physics

Key Stage 4

Course Code: GCSE Biology AQA 8461
Exam Board Specification:

Course Code: GCSE Combined Science Trilogy AQA 8464
Exam Board Specification:

GCSE Biology gives students the chance to gain a good understanding of:

  • Human biology
  • Organisms
  • Evolution and the environment

The specification integrates the principles of ‘How Science Works’ throughout the units and in the controlled assessment. The course helps put Biology in the context of students’ everyday lives with topics ranging from ‘ Infection and response’ to ‘ Inheritance, variation and evolution’. The specification is based on a series of topics related to the living world and relevant to students. It is designed to help them understand how Science can be used to explain the world in which they live and the impact humans have. This course provides a firm foundation for progression to AS and A-level Biology.

GCSE Biology is examined by 2 x 1hr 45min exams at the end of the course. It also involves a practical endorsement which doesn’t contribute to the overall grade. 

Unit 1: Biology Paper 1 – Written paper 1hr 45mins – 100 marks worth 50%
Unit 2: Biology Paper 2 – Written paper 1hr 45mins – 100 marks worth 50%

Year 10

  1. Cell biology
  2. Organisation
  3. Infection and response
  4. Bioenergetics

Year 11

  1. Homeostasis and response
  2. Inheritance, variation and evolution
  3. Ecology
  4. Key ideas

GCSE Combined Science Pathway:
GCSE Combined Science covers the majority of content from the GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses but a small number of selected topics are omitted.


Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13)

Course Code: A Level Biology 7401 / 7402
Exam Board Specification:

Students who take this course:
Students will have a minimum of a Grade 6 in GCSE Biology or Grades 6-6 in GCSE Combined Science and have enjoyed the GCSE course. Students who have studied Combined Science at GCSE must be prepared to complete additional preparation work over the summer holidays in preparation to start the A Level. Due to the data handling, graph work and statistics content within the course there is a minimum requirement of a Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics. Written communication is also important and you’ll need to be a strong writer, preferably with at least Grade 6 in GCSE English as well.

By studying Biology at A Level you will be equipped to pursue a multitude of careers, such as medicine, dentistry, biochemistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy and life sciences. It is an enabling A Level for any university course.

Course Description:
This course looks at many aspects of Biology, from cells, their structure and functions to organs and systems. There is a mixture of animal and plant biology, ecology with field work and applications of Biology in the modern world, such as genetic engineering and forensic biology. Students will develop their scientific knowledge and skills in data handling, graph work and statistics. Practical work will include microscopic examination of specimens and a range of scientific techniques. There will also be a compulsory residential field course at the end of the first year.

The qualification is linear, meaning that students will sit all the A Level exams at the end of their A Level course.

For more information on A Level Biology, click here.

Enrichment and Links:

KS3 Science Club, National Science & Engineering Week enrichment activities, Curriculum visits to Bristol Zoo, @Bristol, The Big Bang Fair, National Science Museum. AS & A2 Level Biology Residential Ecology Trip, DNA Workshop Day trip and further enrichment opportunities.

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