Biology is the science of life; therefore anyone interested in the world around them, or in themselves, will be interested in this subject.

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.

Years 7-9

Year 7 pupils follow a combined science course comprising topics from Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The Biology offering comprises cells – the building blocks of all life and human reproduction.

The Year 8 course aims to deliver a broad and interesting year of study. We begin looking at ecosystems and how the world around us is interconnected. We explore the impacts good, bad, deliberate and inadvertent that humans have on the natural world. We then move to Human Biology, studying movement with the musculoskeletal system and biochemistry of the human body. We finish the year learning about anthropology and the evolution of homo sapiens as we know them today.

Our Year 9 curriculum focuses on preparing students with the skills of a scientist, we spend time working on data collection and analysis. These lessons being invaluable not only later on in their time at school, but beyond, too. As part of the GCSE course which starts part way through Year 9, we study transport of substances in organisms. This being perhaps the most core of Biology’s tenants, and how these principles affect the construction of both plants and animals. This line of study leads us to investigate the structure of the heart and lungs and even dissect a heart or two. We aim to set in place really strong foundations for the study of Biology covering central dogma that should stay with our students whether they conclude their studies at 16, 18 or far beyond.

GCSE course

The GCSE Biology course at HCS is based on the AQA specification. We offer both separate and combined (trilogy) sciences. The course is broad and well-constructed. There is a synoptic approach that sets out foundations and then layers new interrelated content.

During our time at GCSE we will study Human Biology, specifically construction of the digestive, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems. We will cover the bioenergetics of perhaps the two most important chemical reactions in nature, photosynthesis, and respiration as well as topics in genetics and the environment. The environmental topics offer strong cross-curricular links with both Geography and Chemistry, giving students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding from gaining multiple insights on complex issues such a climate change.

A-Level course

See Sixth Form Curriculum here for details of our A-Level Biology course.

Outside the classroom

Dissection club: open to all students and lead by Miss Duignan with the support and help of our Sixth Form pupils - future medical and veterinary students.

Wildlife Photography club: open to all pupils to develop the skills needed to make the most of our natural world.

Biology Society: open to all Biology Sixth Form pupils and aimed at broadening pupils’ knowledge with the most up-to-date research in the field of Biological Sciences.

British Biology Olympiads club: open to Upper Sixth Form pupils who have been selected to enter this international Biology competition which takes place in February.

Biology Challenge: open to all Year 10 Triple students.

Mycology club: open to all KS3 and KS4 pupils combining art and fungi for the MISAC (Microbiology Advisory Committee) national competition which takes place in March.

Lunchtime revision sessions and tutorials are available for all year groups focusing on exam techniques.

Biology week: this is a national event taking place in October to celebrate Biology. Outside speakers and pupils from local schools are invited to join in the many events organised in the Department which culminate with the Biology Department Hull Cup.

Year 9 Human Biology Prize: this is presented on Speech Day in July and is awarded on the basis of academic achievement and a presentation on Anthropology, judged by a group of invited guests in the Library during Science Week in March.

HCS Wildlife Photographer of the Year: this competition includes 3 categories (KS3, KS4 and KS5) and takes place during Science Week (March).

Year 11 Biology Prize awarded to the top Biology Student of the Year.

Senior Biology Prize awarded to the top Year 13 Biology Student.


Year 8 Biology trip to Think Tank in Birmingham (Summer term).

Year 9 Biology trip ‘Darwin day’: A visit to The Museum of Natural History at Oxford University will allow pupils to improve their knowledge and understanding of evolution and Darwinism (Summer term).

Year 9 Biology trip Forensics at @ Bristol (Summer term).

Year 10 GCSE Science live lectures at Birmingham Symphony Hall (Spring term).

Year 12 and 13 Study day at Oxford University Museum of Natural History: this offers Sixth Form pupils a chance to listen to Oxford professors and lecturers on the most recent aspects of their research (December).

Year 12 & 13

Oncology Day at Oxford Oncology Research Centre (March).

Aspire to Medicine Conference Birmingham (March).

Biology Week lecture at Birmingham University (October).

Opwal research trip to Mexico or South Africa, working with University researchers gathering data on biodiversity (Summer Holiday).

Trip to Iceland looking at extremophiles, whale watching and northern lights (February).

A-Level Biology student
Science students