Biology

Course ID
A Level (Biology) and IGCSE (Biology, Science Double Award)

Introduction to the Biology department

Students study Biology at Wolverhampton Grammar School  using a context-based approach. Ideas are introduced  within relevant settings to help bring the subject to life. Our aim is to develop your interest and enthusiasm for the subject to inspire you to consider further study or related careers such as biomedical science and medicine etc.

Biology is one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and is highly regarded by universities and employers alike.

Biology is also very much a practical subject at Wolverhampton Grammar  School and purpose built laboratories, dedicated Technician staff along with expert teachers will ensure you have all the facilities and expertise  required to make the most of this challenging subject.

Three large laboratory classrooms and a dedicated prep room provide access to a real sized human body model, model organs, microscopes,  slides of tissues, preserved specimens, a human skeleton and other animal  bones as well as practical equipment for microbiology, choice chambers,  dissection and much loved animals including a Royal Python called  Monty, an assortment of spiders, crickets and assassin bugs and the latest  addition to the Department’s family – a Bearded Dragon called Camilla.

Full time teachers and a full time technician provide dedicated teaching and support utilising three laboratories and a prep room. The staff are:

  • Helen Hills (Head of Department)
  • Karen Flavell
  • Rachel Young
  • Rob Walker (Senior Science Technician)

The Department aims to develop curious minds and an interest in laboratory work from Year 7. However, younger children from the Junior School are also involved in extra-curricular activities with the department including a very popular fish dissection as one of our “Passport” activities for children moving from Year 6 to our senior school.

As students progress through to GCSE they develop knowledge and further understanding of Biology. This coupled with the Department’s skill in developing further enthusiasm for the subject ensures that the key skills are critical and scientific evidence are applied in a practical way.

Progression to A Level opens up the pathway to further study or careers in biology and science related disciplines including Biomedical Science, medical courses or other biological sciences.

The Department undertakes a number of trips and visits with students including visiting specialists in the medical field in Hospitals and Clinics etc.

Many former students have gone on to study Medicine and other related disciplines and are now practicing GPs, Clinicians, Surgeons, Dentists or Research Scientists.

Students can study single sciences ie biology, chemistry and physics at GCSE or the Science Double Award, which counts as two GCSEs.

This course will help students to develop their curiosity about the living world and enable them to engage with Biology in their everyday lives. This specification contains a broad range of biological topics that are designed to stimulate interest in Biology and provide the knowledge and understanding for students to make informed choices about further study in Biology and related disciplines. The course follows a linear structure.

What the student will learn

  • Cell activity: cell structure, movement of substances into and out of cells, cell division.
  • Tissues, organs and organ systems: organisation, animal tissues, plant tissues.
  • Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and enzymes.
  • Human biology: breathing, respiration, circulation, digestion, the nervous system, principles of homeostasis, control of water and ion content of the body, temperature control, control of blood glucose.
  • Defending ourselves against infectious disease.
  • Plants as organisms: photosynthesis, exchange and transport, plant responses, sexual reproduction in plants.
  • Variation and inheritance: genetic variation, genetic disorders, genetic manipulation.
  • Adaptation and interdependence: adaptation, environmental change and distribution of organisms, humans and their effects on the environment.
  • Evolution: natural selection, speciation.
  • Energy and biomass in food chains.
  • Decay and the carbon cycle.

How the student will be assessed

Assessment

Paper 1

Time

1 hour and 30 minutes

About

  • Structured and open questions.
  • 90 marks – 50%.
  • Weighted more to assessment of knowledge, understanding and application.

Paper 2

1 hour and 30 minutes 

  • Structured and open questions.
  • 90 marks – 50%.
  • Includes a higher proportion of questions testing skills.

Biology A Level sits well with subjects such as Chemistry, Geography and Mathematics. The subject will also be of interest to you if you are considering studying Physical Education (PE). It will also suit students who  wish to take Biology as their only science choice as well as those wanting
to study it in addition to other science subjects.

Assessment

AS Paper 1: Foundation in Biology
• Section A – Multiple choice
• Section B – Structured questions
• 1 hour 30 minutes
• 50% weighting
AS Paper 2: Biology in Depth
• Structured questions
• 1 hour 30 minutes
• 50% of the total qualification
A Level Paper 1: Fundamentals of Biology
• Section A – Multiple choice
• Section B – Structured questions
• 2 hours 15 minutes
• 41% weighting
A Level Paper 2: Scientific Literacy in Depth
• Structure questions
• 2 hours 15 minutes
• 37% weighting
A Level Paper 3: Practical Skills in Biology
• Structured questions
• 1 hour 30 minutes
• 22% weighting
Non Exam Assessment – practical endorsement
• Practical activities to demonstrate competence
• Pass/Fail
• Reported separately

 

See www.ocr.org.uk for further information.

 

© Wolverhampton Grammar School 2015. Registered Charity Number: 1125268