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 (Current Year 10 – New Specification)

Course Code: GCSE Biology AQA 8461
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/biology-8461

Course Code: GCSE Combined Science Trilogy AQA 8464
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/combined-science-trilogy-8464

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 (2017-18)

  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 4 (Current Year 11 – Old specification)

Course Code: GCSE Biology AQA 4401
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/biology-4401

Course Code: GCSE Science A (Core Science) AQA 4405
Exam Board Specification: www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/science-a-4405

Course Code: GCSE Additional Science AQA 4408
Exam Board Specification: www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/additional-science-4408

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 ‘Keeping healthy’ to ‘Humans and their environment’. 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 3 x 1hr exams at the end of the course and includes a controlled assessment ISA (Investigative Skills Assignment) as follows:

Unit 1: Biology 1 – Written paper 1 hr – 60 marks worth 25%
Unit 2: Biology 2 – Written paper 1 hr – 60 marks worth 25%
Unit 3: Biology 3 – Written paper 1 hr – 60 marks worth 25%
Unit 4: Controlled Assessment – Investigative Skills Assignment – two written assessments plus one or two lessons for practical work and data processing – 50 marks – worth 25%

Year 10

Terms 1 & 2
B1.1 Keeping Healthy
B1.2 Co-ordination & Control;
B1.3 Medicine & Drugs
Terms 3 & 4
B1.4 Adaptation for Survival;
B1.5 Energy in Biomass
B1.6 Variation, Reproduction & New Technology;
B1.7 Evolution
Terms 5 & 6
B2.1 Cells, Tissue & Organs
B2.2 Organisms in the environment

Year 11

Terms 1 & 2
B2.3 Enzymes;
B2.4 Energy from Respiration
B2.5 Simple Inheritance in animals and plants;
B2.6 Old and New Species
Terms 3 & 4
B3.1 Exchange of materials;
B3.2 Transporting materials
B3.3 Keeping internal conditions constant
Terms 5 & 6
B3.4 How humans can affect the environment;
Preparation for exam

GCSE Science / GCSE Additional Science Pathways:

GCSE Core Science covers Biology Unit 1, Chemistry Unit 1, Physics Unit 1.
GCSE Additional Science covers Biology Unit 2, Chemistry Unit 2, Physics Unit 2.

Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13)

Course Code: A Level Biology 7401 / 7402
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/biology-7401-7402

Biology means the study of life. Biology A-level gives students the skills to make connections and explore the way living species behave and work. Practical activities include using microscopes to see cell division; dissection of animal or plant systems; aseptic technique to study microbial growth; investigating activity within cells; investigating animal behaviours; investigating distributions of species in the environment. Biology A-level is a broad subject which opens the door to a fantastic range of interesting careers.

Subject content:

  1. Biological molecules
  2. Cells
  3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  5. Energy transfers in and between organisms (A-level only)
  6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments (A-level only)
  7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems (A-level only)
  8. The control of gene expression (A-level only)

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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