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Biology

Biology is a rapidly expanding and fascinating subject at The Oratory

All pupils should think about studying Biology at The Oratory because we have an excellent team of enthusiastic biology teachers and a well-resourced department. Pupils will get to spend time both in and out of the classroom learning about the world around us.

 

"Beyond the Syllabus Study Room"

Pupils make good use of our ‘beyond the syllabus study room’ where they can sit, surrounded by our collection of plants and tropical fish aquarium, having access to interactive IT equipment and a whole range of resource books.

About

All pupils should think about studying Biology at They Oratory, because we have an excellent team of enthusiastic biology teachers and a well-resourced department. Pupils will get to spend time both in and out of the classroom learning about the world around us. We believe that pupils learn through practical experience so make lessons as hands on as possible. The Biology Department is a bright and happy place to study. Pupils make good use of our ‘beyond the syllabus study room’ where they can sit, surrounded by our collection of plants and tropical fish aquarium, having access to interactive IT equipment and a whole range of resource books.

I really enjoy my role as Head of Biology at The Oratory. I studied Biology at The University of York, where I developed a keen interest in Ecology. I loved being able to go outdoors, to learn about the natural environment. I have fond memories of carrying out fieldwork in the local environment, using the collected data to make biological links. It was this practical work that made me want to become a teacher. I wanted young people to experience the same kind of learning that I had experienced, developing a whole range of transferable skills. I completed my PGCE at The University of York the following year and have not looked back since!

Ms Sarah Kenyon - Head of Biology

Biology on Twitter

    Curriculum

    1st and 2nd Forms

    Junior Biology is taught by specialist biology teachers over two periods each week. Pupils cover a range of biological topics including;

    Cells, tissues & organs

    Food & digestion

    Ecology

    Variation & classification

    Reproduction & inheritance

    Microbes & disease

    Photosynthesis & respiration

    Practical work is carried out frequently to support learning.

    iGCSE

    COURSE: EDEXCEL 4BI1

    The iGCSE syllabus in biology is designed to enable students to learn about the key concepts and principles of the natural world. It relates facts to real-life examples and allows students to develop skills of observation, investigation and analysis.

    The course consists of five key topics:

    The nature and variety of living organisms

    Structures and functions in living organisms

    Reproduction and inheritance

    Ecology and the environment

    Use of biological resources

    The course is assessed over two exam papers as specified below:

    Paper

    Content Summary

    Assessment

    Weighting

    Paper 1

    Assess core content. Questions can come from any topic area of the syllabus that is not in bold in the specification

    2 hour written examination paper.

     

    Mixture of multiple choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions

    61.1% of the total International GCSE

    Paper 2

    Assesses all the content, including the content that is in bold in the specification. Questions may come from any topic are across the specification. Bold statements cover some sub-topics in greater depth

    1 hour and 15 minute written exam paper.

     

    Mixture of multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions

    38.9% of the total International GCSE

     

    Students begin the iGCSE in Third form covering the basic biology topics. Third form are allocated three periods of biology per week. The subject then becomes optional in the Fourth and Fifth form with four allocated periods per week. All pupils who have chosen to take Biology sit the examination paper at the end of the Fifth form.

    A GCSE qualification in Biology is very useful for boys who wish to follow careers in medicine, veterinary science, chemistry, agriculture, sports science and other related areas.  It is also a desirable qualification for those not wishing to study Science to a higher level as the course helps develop inquisitive thought and both literacy and numeracy skills through analysis of investigations.

    A- Level

    Biology is a rapidly developing science and the A Level course has been designed to reflect this.  It builds on topics studied at GCSE and provides a foundation for further studies in Biology and related areas.

    The course is split into six modules which are taught across the two years. The course includes a practical endorsement which consists of a minimum of twelve assessed practical investigations carried out alongside academic teaching.

    Module

    Title

    Content

    1

    Development of practical skills

    Planning, implementing, analysis & evaluation of investigations

    2

    Foundations of Biology

    Cell structure, biological molecules, DNA, enzymes, cell membranes, cell diversity and cellular organisation.

    3

    Exchange & transport

    Exchange surfaces and both plant and animal transport systems.

    4

    Biodiversity, evolution & disease

    Communicable diseases, disease prevention, immunology, biodiversity, classification and evolution.

    5

    Communications, homeostasis and energy

    Communication, excretion, nervous system, hormonal system, plant and animal responses, photosynthesis & respiration.

    6

    Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

    Cellular control, inheritance, gene technologies, ecosystems, populations & sustainability.

     

    Assessment Overview

    Paper

    Content

    Assessment

    Weighting

    Biological processes

    Modules 1,2,3 & 5

    2 hour 15 minute paper

     

    Multiple choice, short and longer answer questions

    37% of total A level

    Biological diversity

    Modules 1,2,4 & 6

    2 hour 15 minute paper

     

    Multiple choice, short and longer answer questions

    37% of total A level

    Unified biology

    All modules (1-6)

    1 hour 30 minute paper

     

    Short and longer answer questions

    26% of total A level

    Practical endorsement

    Non exam assessment

    Reported separately as Pass or Fail

     

    Biology is a worthwhile subject to study for those students who are contemplating careers in Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Pharmacy, while it also has close links with many Geography and Chemistry-based university degree courses.

    Co-Curricular

    Every year, the Biology Department hosts a range of activities to celebrate the RSB’s Annual Biology Week. During the week, we run a range of events, including dissections and competitions. St Philip House, our Junior House, are also treated to a trip out or a visit from a local animal encounters experience.

    Lower Sixth pupils are taken to Studland Bay to carry out a more in-depth profile of the sand dunes. They also carry out biological drawings to help them complete elements of their practical endorsement.

    Fourth Form biologists are taken to Studland Bay along with the geographers to carry out fieldwork. This allows pupils to put into practice the theory of sampling techniques, to collect and analyse real data relating to sand dune succession.

    Third Form biologists are taken to 'The Big Bang Fair'. This allows pupils to enjoy an array of talks and hands-on demonstrations related to scientific experiments.

    The First and Second Forms either have a visit from an animal encounter experience or are taken out to places such as Beale Park as part of the RSB Biology week celebrations.