The syllabus studied is the Edexcel AS and A-level GCE.
The AS course develops concepts introduced at GCSE, including the familiar areas such as Mammalian Physiology and Environmental Biology. New topics include Cell Biology and Biochemistry. All sections are developed in greater depth; for example, bringing an insight into chromosomal structure and an understanding of how genes code for proteins leading to the control of cell function. The course will follow a concept-led approach.
The coursework enables students to develop their own particular interests in the subject in order to write a report on a biological topic. Overall the course is designed to develop a range of practical skills including microscopy, plus the design, organisation and execution of experiments continuing ‘How Science works’ from GCSE. There is no whole animal dissection.
The A-level course draws on and develops concepts from AS as well as introducing new areas.
The coursework is a report in the style of a scientific paper which is written on a practical investigation. The practical work is carried out on a five day field course. At the field centre you will be taught by ecology specialists as well as receiving help from your own teachers. The field trip is obligatory for all AS students.
In Biology you will be encouraged to extend your knowledge beyond the confines of the examination course by reading journals such as the ‘Biological Sciences Review’ and ‘New Scientist’. There will be the opportunity to enter competitions and visit places of biological interest.
For those students wishing to continue in a science based career A-level Chemistry is recommended. The choice of careers in biologically based subjects is vast and includes the following areas:
Medicine; dentistry; veterinary science; pharmacology; biological sciences; microbiology; psychology; environmental science; nursing; physiotherapy; speech therapy; occupational therapy.