We ensure that the Biology curriculum is intellectually challenging and relevant to students at the Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School. We establish a stimulating environment, which inspires students’ love of Science and Biology. We strive for high quality teaching and learning in the classroom.
Students of all academic abilities develop an understanding of Biological processes, the organisms around us and the interactions between them. We promote the idea that ‘Science is everywhere’; encouraging students, no matter what their ability, to consider the links between the Biology curriculum and the world around them.
We encourage all students to consider and appreciate the need to maintain a sustainable world through developing their understanding of biodiversity and human impact. We place importance on empowering them to use scientific knowledge ethically.
Learning through practical work is key in our curriculum. We seek to ensure that students develop high level investigative skills such as hypothesising, testing and evaluating so that they can better understand scientific theories and develop their practical and communication skills.
All our Biologists continually develop their knowledge and skills in order to reach their full potential, and we hope that they ultimately consider a career within a STEM subject such as Medicine, Healthcare, Optometry or Paramedic Science.
Key Stage 3
Our two-year programme of study ensures that students can learn and develop the key skills required for success at KS4. We place emphasis on scientific terminology and working scientifically is integrated throughout; allowing students to explore new ideas or concepts in a creative and engaging manner as well as develop their knowledge. We have built in ‘Practical Skills’ lessons in which students are able to undertake practical investigations linked to each of the 3 Science areas in order to develop their scientific thinking and creativity.
Over the two years, the students will study the following:
- Cells – The building blocks of life
- Reproduction – Where we come from
- Organ systems - Eating, drinking and breathing
- Human Impact on the planet and the ways in which we can reduce our impact and improve sustainability
- Respiration - Getting the energy your body needs
- Photosynthesis and Interdependence - Looking at plants and ecosystems
- Variation and Evolution - Adaptation for survival
Students will develop the following skills:
- Planning, carrying out and evaluating investigations
- The use of scientific terminology
- How to present observations and data using appropriate tables and graphs
- Applying scientific knowledge to a range of everyday situations
- Explaining how scientific ideas affect society by considering the social, ethical, moral and personal impact.
Students will be assessed in a range of skills during regular cumulative assessments; this will include assessment of their scientific knowledge as well as their practical skills. Progress will be reported on the student 'Assessment Tracker' attached to their exercise book.
Key Stage 4
Awarding Body and Paper:
- AQA GCSE Biology 8461
- AQA GCSE Combined Science 8464
All students will take separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics lessons in Year 9. The majority of students will be working towards the AQA Combined Science specification 8464.
Programme of Study
GCSE Biology gives students the chance to gain a good understanding of human biology, organisms, evolution and the environment.
The specification integrates the principles of 'How Science Works' throughout the units. The course helps put Biology in the context of students' everyday lives with topics ranging from ‘cells’ and ‘infection and response’ to ‘biodiversity and human influences’.
The specification is based on a series of topics related to the living world and relevant to students. It is designed to help them understand how Science can be used to explain the world in which they live and the impact humans have. Students will understand how Biology is used to solve problems ranging from infectious diseases to sustainable sources of food.
Assessment will compose of 2 final exams in Year 11, both 1 hour 45 minutes and worth 50% each. For those students sitting the Combined Science exams, assessments will compose of 2 final exams, both of 1 hour and 15 minutes. The exams will contain multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. There is no coursework or controlled assessment component.
What it can lead to
It is suitable for students of all abilities, whether they intend to study further in Science or not. It can open doors to future careers in Medicine and the Life Sciences.
Biology forms part of the school's suite of GCSE Science exams which offer students a variety of possibilities and combinations to help them achieve to the best of their abilities.
The Higher GCSE Science specifications involve greater mathematical rigour; success at this level gives a good grounding for further study of Biology at A Level.
Tier of Entry
Key Stage 5
Qualification: A Level
Awarding Body and Paper: OCR A Biology H420
Programme of Study
A Level Biology gives students the chance to gain a deeper understanding of an organism’s function, interact with each other and respond to changes in their environment. The specification integrates practical work and mathematical skills throughout the units. The course covers a range of ‘animal’ and ‘plant’ based topics, giving students a broad curriculum, while also encouraging an appreciation of biodiversity, human impact and what we might do to act more responsibly and sustainably.
The specification is based on a series of modules:
- Foundations in Biology
- Exchange and Transport
- Biodiversity Evolution and Disease
- Communication, Homeostasis and Energy
- Genetics and Ecosystems
All students also work towards the Practical Endorsement as part of their Biology A Level. This represents to employers and Universities that students are competent in a range of practical investigations and have obtained core skills such as data presentation, safe and careful use of scientific equipment and referencing of their background research.
Assessment will compose of 3 final exams in Year 13:
- Paper 1 – Biological Processes – 2 hours 15 minutes
- Paper 2 – Biological Diversity – 2 hours 15 minutes
- Paper 3 – Unified Biology – 1 hour 30 minutes
The exams will contain multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. Students gain practical skills throughout the course; these are assessed in the written examinations and in the practical endorsement (component 04). Activities that could count towards the practical endorsement are indicated in the specification.
What it can lead to
Biology forms part of the school's suite of A Level Science exams which offer students a variety of possibilities and combinations to help them achieve to the best of their abilities. It can open doors to future careers in Medicine and the Life Sciences, alongside providing a basis for further study and employment reliant on strong analytical, data interpretation and evaluative skills.
The A Level Biology specification involves significant mathematical rigour; strong performance in Maths at GCSE and success at this level is required for a good grounding for study of Biology at A Level.