Head of Department - Mrs E Segalini-Bower, M.Sc, PGCE
Miss S. Duignan, B. Sc, PGCE
Mrs I. Whitmore, B. Sc, PGCE
Biology technician: Mrs J. A. Hart
'What can be more curious than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of a horse, the paddle of a porpoise, and the wing of a bat should all be constructed on the same pattern and should include similar bones, and in the same relative positions?' Charles Darwin, 1859
Biology is the science of life; therefore anyone interested in the world around them, or in themselves, will be interested in biology.
Biology also lies at the heart of some of the most challenging problems facing us in modern life. For example, our ability to predict the consequences of climate change, control new and existing diseases, feed an increasing global population, manage threatened habitats, or make informed ethical decisions about genetically engineered crops or animal testing will all depend on our understanding of biological processes. Biology also informs us about what it means to be human: how we evolved, how we function as living organisms and why we behave as we do.
The biological sciences are undergoing a period of unusually rapid growth, and the results of biological research already influence many different aspects of our daily lives. This trend looks set to continue, bringing with it a wide range of employment opportunities. Never have the biological sciences been more exciting or more relevant.
Biology supports applications to many degrees, including Medicine, Veterinary Sciences, Dentistry and Physiotherapy. Biology also supports careers in industry, local government, the health service, central government research institutes and teaching in schools or higher education institutions. In addition, because of the relevance of biology to many aspects of everyday life, biological qualifications are in strong demand in a wide variety of professions that have not traditionally been regarded as scientific, including publishing, business management, retailing, the financial sector, patent law, journalism and the civil service.
The department’s statistics and results show that we have had great success in attracting students to study the subject and an equal success in the results achieved. The aims of the Biology Department are to attract as many students to the subject as possible, to encourage their interest and to instil an enthusiasm to learn more about the complexities of living systems. It is our aim that students should leave with a much deeper knowledge of the subject and have a clear understanding of the concepts involved in biology and how it relates to the modern world.
In Year 7, all pupils follow a combined science course comprising aspects of all three sciences.
In Year 8 and Year 9, pupils are taught the three separate sciences by subject specialists.
Year 8 Biology – The importance of being human -
The Year 8 Biology course aims to deliver an understanding of how the human body works, focusing on three main systems (digestive, respiratory and immune). The areas of study chosen mean that there is a major emphasis on health and life style choices (smoking, respiratory diseases, healthy diet, vaccinations). It is also aimed at broadening pupils’ understanding of the moral and ethical issues arising from medical treatments, such as the controversy over the links between MMR vaccinations and autism.
The last part of the course will allow students to understand the relationship between humans and other species of animals and plants (ecology).
Students are divided into band A and B based on their performance in the first year (Junior Science). The course consists of one 70 minutes period per week.
Throughout the course, students carry out practical investigations aimed at allowing them to develop the skills needed to better understand the work of scientists and researchers.
Dissection club: students are encouraged to participate in the Tuesday lunchtime dissection club, run by Miss. Duignanat 1.20 in CDL.
This offers an opportunity for students to explore the anatomy of a range of animals and human organs (including frogs, rats, fish, eyes and hearts, to name a few!)wetting their surgical appetites and furthering their Biological knowledge in a unique and engaging way.
Year 9 Biology - Living on planet Earth
The Year 9 Biology course encompases a range of Biological topics, which aim to lead students into their forthcoming GCSE studies.
Students will develop an understanding of the evolution of humans and their place in the natural world, and through this, gain an understanding of the processes of adaptation, natural selection and evolution. This leads naturally into many of the AQA GCSE topics covered in year 9.
Students are divided into band A and B based on their performance in end of Year 8 exam (completed during the summer term). The course consists of one 70 minute and one 35 minute period per week.
Dissection club: students are encouraged to participate in the Tuesday lunchtime dissection club, run by Miss. Duignan at 1.20 in CDL.
Year 9 Biology trip: A visit to The Museum of Natural History at Oxford University will allow students to improve their knowledge and understanding of evolution and Darwinism.
Year 9 Human Biology Prize: there is an annual Human Biology Prize which is presented on Speech Day and is awarded on the basis of performance throughout the year, enthusiasm for the subject, work ethic and a research project on evolution.
Students are encouraged to carry out an independent research task into an area of Human evolution which they find particularly interesting.
At GCSE, Year 10 and Year 11 students follow the Biology AQA specification.
Over 50% of pupils study the sciences separately, leading to the award of three GCSE qualifications. The remaining students follow a Dual Award Science and Additional Science Course, resulting in the award of two GCSE qualifications.
Year 10 Biology
In Year 10 students follow the AQA Biology course comprising of aspects of Human Biology as well as Evolution and Environmental Biology.
During the Year 10 Biology course students will develop and be tested on their practical skills which will contribute to their GCSE grade.
All Year 10 students sit their first GCSE exam (B1- Biology) in early June.
Year 10 Biology Lecture: all Year 10 Biology students are invited to attend a lecture which this year will be at Birmingham Symphony Hall on Monday 23rd of January 2012. Our students will have the opportunity to listen to eminent speakers such as Professor Lord Robert Winston and Professor Steve Jones on topics such as genetics and fertility treatments. This should allow them to understand the various applications of Biology to everyday life.
Biology Challenge: this is a competition organised by the British Biology Olympiad for the best and most motivated biologists amongst Year 9 and Year 10 students, to stretch their knowledge and understanding and to test their enthusiasm for Biology. Students compete with other students from British schools and are issued with Gold, Silver or Bronze Awards.
For more information please visit: http://www.biology-olympiad.org.uk
Year 11 Biology
In Year 11 students follow the AQA Biology course consists of two units: B2 Additional Biology covering topics such as ecosystems, photosynthesis, inheritance and enzymes; and B3 Further Biology which covers topics such as transport systems, kidney, heart, microbiology and aspects of biotechnology).
During the Year 11 Biology course students complete a practical investigation followed by an 45 minutes exam paper (ISA), which will contribute 25% to their final Biology grade.
The department attracts approximately 40% of Sixth Form students who are taught in 3 parallel sets at AS Level (31 students follow the AS Biology course) and 2 parallel sets at A2 level (22 students follow the A2 Biology course).
Students at A level follow the OCR GCE Biology course.
Our Biology A Level results are excellent and in the summer over 80% of grades achieved were either A*, A or B.
British Biology Olympiads 2012
The BBO is designed to stimulate and challenge our most gifted Biology Sixth Form students to extend their knowledge and to demonstrate their talent.
This is an international competition which is rewarded with medals, certificates and other prizes.
Medals are presented by the BBO President at an annual awards ceremony in London. The current President is Professor Steve Jones.
The twelve finalists take a series of practical tests and receive training in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham over three days during the Easter holidays.
A small team will be selected to represent the UK at the International Biology Olympiads, for British students to compete with pre-university students from over 50 countries in the world.
For more information please visit: http://www.biology-olympiad.org.uk
A Level Biology conferences: all Sixth Form Biology students are encouraged to attend conferences organised by various scientific institutions, to broaden their understanding of the applications of Biology in many aspects of scientific research.
The aim of these lectures is to enthuse and motivate Biology students and guide and inspire them about their future University and career choices.
AS Biology Field Trip: this will take place in Slapton Ley (South Devon) from Friday 23rd of March to Monday 26th of March 2012 and will enable students to engage in field work techniques and ecological and conservation studies, in one of the best Field Study Council Centre in England.
Biology department revision sessions
Mrs. Segalini-Bower in KLL:
Monday 1.30 A2 Biology (KLL)
Tuesday 1.30 year 10 B1 Biology
Wednesday 1.30 A2 F214 and 3.45-4.30 year 11 Biology
Thursday 1.30 AS F211
Mrs. Whitmore in GDL:
Monday 1.30 year 11 B2 Biology
Thursday 1.30 AS F212
Miss. Duignan in CDL:
Monday 1.30 year 11 B2 Biology
Thursday 1.30 A2 F215 modules 1 and 2