The Biology Department is a vibrant contributor to the science faculty, which is based in the Tate Building, named after the school’s founding headmaster. We teach an internally designed course in the lower school, culminating in most pupils being awarded Edexcel IGCSE Biology as a standalone qualification, though a small number also sit Biology as part of Edexcel IGCSE Double Award Science. In the Sixth Form, students take the newly reformed AQA A Level Biology. The Head of Department is Dr Keith Perry, who, in post since 2006, has presided over one of the school’s most popular A level subjects, with many pupils preparing for medical applications.
Biology is taught alongside the other science subjects in a purpose-built facility. The department occupies three well-equipped laboratories, serviced by a well-organised departmental preparation room and greenhouse to support our commitment to practical work. There are at least two further general science laboratories available, alongside two computer suites within the same building to facilitate use of ICT for research. Each laboratory is equipped with a networked digital projection system.
In Biology our emphasis is on developing pupils’ inquisitive and investigative skills in a subject that is at the cutting edge of science; for example, in understanding issues of human disease, global and environmental contexts and the pioneering progress happening in genetic engineering. With practical work at the forefront of our teaching, eliciting a greater level of pupil understanding than from them simply being told or demonstrated the principles, our pupils achieve very good knowledge of Biology. Fieldwork outside of school, including visiting Newcastle University’s Dove Marine Laboratory to study Rocky Shore Zonation, adds to the enrichment experiences that students enjoy in their Biology course. As many students take Biology in Sixth Form, it naturally follows that topics chosen for those pursuing the highly valued Extended Project Qualification often take as an independent research focus a topical area of Biology to complement their A level course.