Head of Department:
Mrs S McBroom
Ms S Mullan
Mr E McErlain
Mrs A Lowery
Mrs S Young
AIMS OF THE BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT
To ensure that the pupils have a wide and balanced knowledge of the study of life.
• To develop a lifelong interest in and fascination in Biology, studying the complexity of living organisms, their structures and their functions, and life processes such as respiration, digestion and photosynthesis.
• To develop an ability to find solutions to worldwide problems such as global warming, MRSA and superbugs, epidemic and pandemic diseases.
• To develop practical and communicative skills, through making observations, asking relevant questions, analysing data, drawing conclusions, evaluating, and through discussion.
• To assume positive attitudes towards health and encourage a healthy life-style in regards to diet and exercise.
• To promote respect for all forms of life and to help pupils to explore some of the moral and ethical consequences of the application of scientific discoveries, these include the cloning of embryos, designer babies and genetically modified foods.
• To promote awareness and appreciation of biodiversity, looking at how natural selection operates, creating the great diversity of species that we see in the world today.
“The finding of the double helix thus brought us not only joy but great relief. It was unbelievably interesting and immediately allowed us to make a serious proposal for the mechanism of gene duplication.”
- James Watson 1928-present
To make a difference in tomorrow’s world by helping us understand the world we live in today.
In the Junior school, Biology is part of an integrated Science programme which covers the CCEA Revised curriculum. In year 8 and 9, it is studied along with the other two sciences. In year 10, the Science programme adopts a modular approach, which gives pupils an experience of the three separate Sciences with a science specialist. This helps pupils choose a suitable science course for GCSE.
At GCSE, Biology can be taken as a single subject or together with one or two of the other Sciences, or in turn as part of a Double/Single award qualification. As an effective preparation for studying Biology at A level, students are recommended to take both Chemistry and Biology at GCSE. Ideally the three Sciences give a solid foundation for AS/A2 level students who intend to follow a Science career, although Double Award gives a good basis also.
The CCEA syllabus is followed and the course content divided over two years, year 11 and year 12, with the first module being examined at the end of year 11. If the Biology Separate Science specification is being studied, it is examined in three papers, with a practical assessment carried out in the laboratory in year 12. Practical Science is a key part of the specification, with students carrying out nine prescribed practical’s during the course.
Unit 1: Cells, Living Processes, and Biodiversity 35%
Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Microorganisms and Health 40%
Unit 3: Practical Skills: Externally assessed Practical Skills unit in two parts; booklet A (7.5%) and booklet B (17.5%). Booklet A has two practical’s from the prescribed practical list. These are carried out before May in year 12 and are marked externally.
If the Double Award Science Specification is being studied then the Biology component is examined by means of two separate papers.
Unit 1: Cells, Living Processes, and Biodiversity 11%
Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Microorganisms and Health 14%
Unit 3: Externally assessed Practical Skills unit in two parts; booklet A and booklet B. Booklet A has one practical from the prescribed practical list. This practical is carried out in Biology before May in year 12 and is marked externally. (25%-total including Chemistry and Physics)
Biology Fieldtrip Seaweed
Biology Bird Skeletons
A level Biology
At A level, the CCEA specification is followed. Students (year 13) may take just one year of the course and gain an AS level or continue and do a second year A2 to gain an A level (AS + A2).
Unit AS 1: Molecules & Cells.
Unit AS 2: Organisms and Biodiversity
Unit AS 3: Practical skills in AS Biology
Assessment: Three written papers worth;
Unit AS 1 37.5%
Unit AS 2 37.5%
AS 3 -internal practical assessment, marked by teachers and moderated by CCEA. 25%
Unit A2 1: Physiology, Co-ordination and Control, and Ecosystems. 24% of A level
Unit A2 2: Biochemistry, Genetics & Evolutionary Trends. 24% of A level
Unit A2 3 practical skills in Biology 12% of A level
AS results are 40% of the total A level.
A2 results are 60% of the total A level.
In all examinations, we have had an excellent set of results.
All of our Biology labs are fully equipped and the department has a specialist Biology Technician.
Each of the three labs has up-to-date equipment for practical work and teaching, including an interactive white board.
The Biology department also has a green house, and a pond.
GCSE fieldwork is mostly done in the school grounds. AS field work is usually done at a rocky shore, e.g. at Ramore Head, Portrush.
Biology makes a significant contribution to many scientific careers, Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Veterinary, Physiology, Forensic Science, Research to name but a few.
Biology also makes valuable contributions in healthcare, environmental conservation, education, biotechnology, forensic science, government and policy, business and industry and science publishing and communication.