Biology

If you have any further enquiries, please email Mr Graham Hartland, Head of Biology, at hartlandg@salesiancollege.com

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Why study Biology?

Biology is inherently fascinating: it encompasses everything from the small electrons to the largest Blue Whale. Ever evolving, it has given rise to exciting new technologies like creating a new trachea from stem cells and treating cancers with bespoke antibodies. These subjects, touched upon at GCSE, will be studied in greater depth at A Level. Biology is suitable for those wanting to study medicine and dentistry, as well a being a good companion subject for Chemistry, Geography, Psychology and PE.

What does the study of Biology involve?

At A Level, Biology covers: biological molecules and their functions within cells; the relationship between DNA and protein structures, and how this links with evolution and disease; the interactions between organisms in ecological relationships; the nervous and hormonal control of bodies; the complex biochemistry of respiration and photosynthesis.

Why study at Salesian College?

Salesian College has excellent purpose-built laboratories and well-qualified and experienced staff. The small groups allow a very favourable student to teacher ratio so that support is effective and timely throughout the course. We also offer opportunities to explore topics outside of the classroom like lectures at the Royal Institute and the two day Field Course at Juniper Hall Field Studies Centre.

What does the course involve?

Students will study the AQA GCE A Level Biology course, code 7402. There are three two hour exams at the end of Year 13. Practical skills will be assessed throughout the course, and aspects of these will form up to 15% of the final written papers. For those wishing to study just to AS level, we use AQA GCE AS-level Biology code 7401. Practical skills are still assessed in the written papers for this qualification, of which there are two, each lasting 90 minutes.

What the Biology Department offers

There are four experienced members of staff who deliver the course. Classes have two teachers, each delivering half the course within each topic. Students use AQA recommended resources, both online and paper. Every student has a textbook. Exam practice is embedded in the delivery of the lessons. Reading widely is essential. This is encouraged by student access to the Biological Sciences Review Magazine as well as to academic research through JStor. The school’s FROG VLE is also used to provide recommended reading lists and other resources to support learning. Practical activities are used to consolidate understanding and to build an investigative approach to problem solving.

What is expected from Biology Students?

It is hoped that students will:

  • Develop self-supported study skills
  • Challenge their understanding
  • Develop investigative skills
  • Enjoy studying life!

Time-management is key at A Level to ensure that work is completed to a high quality and handed in to deadlines. This ensures that students can be effectively supported as well as reaching their full potential.

What can an A Level in Biology lead to?

Biology A Level is a good starting point for further studies in medicine, dentistry, microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, histology, nutrition, sports science, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, environmental health, game design, biotechnology, food technology, crop science, crop protection, ecology, public heath, medical journalism, international politics and many more! Transferable skills learnt in Biology, particularly in dealing with qualitative and quantitative data and forming conclusions from these, are very valuable for university study as well as numerous career paths.

THE TOPICS COVERED IN THE BIOLOGY SPECIFICATION ARE

  • Biological Molecules
  • Cells
  • Exchange of substances with the environment
  • Genetic variation
  • Energy transfer between organisms
  • Responding to change
  • Genetics, Populations and Ecology
  • The Control of Gene Expression

SKILLS REQUIRED

  • A love of the natural world and a desire to know more about it
  • An open and enquiring mind
  • A willingness to work hard, think deeply, and apply knowledge to new situations
  • Practical aptitude, coupled with an ability to work with precision
  • A good higher pass at grade 6 in Biology and Chemistry or 66 in Combined Science at GCSE
  • A good higher pass at grade 6 in Maths and English at GCSE