Through each Key Stage we aim to develop an interest in, and enthusiasm for, biology. Our students acquire scientific skills, knowledge and understanding for progression to further their learning. During Sixth Form, girls are encouraged to dig deeper into the subject, pursue their interests and develop independent learning.

Key Stage 4 and 5 schemes of work are developed around the GCSE and AS/A2 specifications respectively. We have a large number of Sixth Form students taking AS/A2 Biology; typically more than 50 students embark on the Year 12 course.

The new AQA A-level Biology specification follows a linear format, where a total of eight core topics are taught across two years, all of which will be examined at the end of the second year. The topics will also involve a number of practical skills which are assessed throughout the course during lessons and on a three day residential eld course at the end of the rst year.

There are four topics studied in Year 12:

  • Biological molecules

  • Cells

  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment

  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

There are a further four topics in Year 13:

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms

  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

  • The control of gene expression

  • Practical work is an integral part of the course and students attend a residential eld course at the end of Year 12

Many girls studying A-Level Biology take up places in Higher Education to study medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, biomedical science and other science-related courses, although a few will have studied Biology as their only science at A-level. Each year, some students achieve full marks in AS/A2 modules. In the last ten years we have had students with GCSE or A-level marks within the top five in the country. We are also successful in preparing our students for Oxbridge and for the Advanced Extension Award.

Extra-curricular activities take place at every key stage. These include:

  • National competitions, e.g. Biology Challenge

  • Inter-house competitions with a biological theme during Science Week in March

  • Visiting lecturers for Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5

  • Local university visits for Years 12 and 13

We have links with the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield. This benefits our students by exposing them to young women as science role models and informing them about cutting-edge research findings. We have had interesting talks on topics such as cystic fibrosis by PhD students and a pathology event.