Head of Department

Mrs Claire Gallagher 

Teaching Staff

Mr David Cocks 
Dr J Roberts

Miss A Hoskins  


Dr H Cassell

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We aim to encourage students to enjoy biology, to develop thinking skills, encourage an awareness of and respect for the environment and lead a healthy life. Whether going on to study biology at higher level, students are logical encouraged to critically analyse sources and think synoptically about the biological world.

Our students are passionate about their subject. You can sit in on one of our sixth form student-led biology society meetings, just click on the play button below. The Q&A session at the end is particularly fascinating!:

Summary of Subject Content and Exam Format:

Lower school (KS3)(National Curriculum)

All pupils are taught biology, by specialist biology teachers, as a separate science. We teach the full range of topics needed for a good grounding in basic human and plant biology as well as the study of micro-organisms and disease and ecology. We aim to stretch students’ minds and encourage them to see the relevance of biology to everyday life. We also contribute to an understanding of how science works and personal learning and thinking skills. We aim to begin study towards the GCSE specification at the beginning of Year 9.

Head of Biology Claire Gallagher explains why this subject has never been more important. Discover how students are encouraged to dig deeper, exceed their targets and achieve fantastic results and find out more about the fascinating range of school trips and our thriving biology society by clicking on the play button, below:

Upper school (KS4/GCSE) (GCSE progress booklet and syllabus)

At GCSE most students take biology, chemistry and physics as 3 separate sciences and are taught for 3 periods a week by specialists. A small number study GCSE combined science instead of biology, chemistry and physics, again taught by specialists in each subject.

Exam board/division of exam and course work: AQA GCSE Biology 8461

Exams are taken at the end of Year 11.

Lower and Upper Sixth (A Level)(Syllabus)

Our results reflect the excellent standard of teaching and the commitment of staff and students to effective collaborative study. Large numbers of our sixth formers go on to study biology-related subjects at university.

Exam board/division of exam and course work: OCR GCE Biology A H420

Year 13 students take 3 written papers at the end of the academic year. Students are also assessed separately for the practical endorsement.

In Year 12, students take part in a field study trip to Malham Cove to investigate the ecology, practice sampling skills and to get an introduction into presentation and analysis of data. In Year 13, students have the opportunity to experiment with biotechnology techniques at the Centre for Life in Newcastle.

Additional information:

Resources: The biology library is a useful resource, filled with extra reading books and revision materials.

Exam results:

The biology department is incredibly successful at A Level, with around 70% of students typically obtaining A*/B grades.

Career opportunities of subject:

Biology is one of the most popular A Level subjects in the country, attracting students studying a wide range of other subjects. Many of these students enjoy the subject so much they eventually choose a biologically related degree course, including vocational careers such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science. Others go on to careers in law, computing, accounting or teaching. So, whatever field you will eventually work in, you will find biology a very rewarding and challenging course which will develop many of the skills essential for a successful career.

Links: - web portal containing sites for all subjects at GCSE and A Level – GCSE site - GCSE site - KS3 site - excellent for A Level note-making.

Revision clinics for GCSE and A Level run in the late Spring and Summer terms.

Student endorsements:

“As an aspiring medic, A Level Biology has developed my research and problem-solving skills whilst also furthering my knowledge of human systems. The course has been interesting and challenging and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

“Studying Biology has given me an insight into the fundamental aspects of human life. The topics are interesting and lessons are engaged.”

“The wide range of topics covered in Biology has helped me narrow down which topics I particularly enjoy and want to study at university. It gives you such a broad range of knowledge but also lets you study topics in detail