Biology affects all of us. It plays a crucial role in our everyday existence. Advances in new technologies such as cloning and recombinant DNA have made this discipline more exciting than ever. Rapid advances in medicine, biotechnology and genetic engineering have raised ethical and social issues that we want our students to approach from a scientifically informed viewpoint.
Our primary responsibility is to our students and their learning. As such we will provide an educational experience and curriculum in which we:
- create a stimulating environment that facilitates intellectual growth of students
- provide students with the time and freedom to develop their understanding and make links between what they learn in the lesson and the world around them.
- encourage students to be advocates for science and the scientific approach to
- instil critical and analytical skills related to biology throughout the GCSE and A-level courses.
Students learn using a range of techniques and are encouraged to approach tasks and questions logically, to apply their learning effectively and to articulate their ideas using key scientific terms. Research indicates that students learn best by doing and then having adequate time to reflect on what they have done in order to reconcile their findings with their previous understanding of the world. Therefore our teachers organize their classrooms around frequent, hands-on practical work which sets the stage for increasingly sophisticated classroom discourse that challenges students intellectually and develops their ability to communicate ideas.
Knowledge learned in Biology underpins many choices throughout life. As such, teachers use the latest teaching methodologies which support development and building of a comprehensive knowledge of Biology. We have regular opportunities for assessment. This ensures students know how they are progressing and are able to take responsibility for their learning. Tracking progress also allows staff to ensure the best possible outcomes at GCSE and A-level. The Biology Department has excellent laboratory facilities and is equipped to a high standard to support students’ learning.
The enriched curriculum
We underpin our Biology lessons with a wide range of extracurricular activities.
- Competitions such as the KS4 Biology Challenge and KS5 Biology Olympiad enable pupils to explore topics beyond the limitations of the curriculum. Our students who score highly in these competitions are encouraged to attend the awards ceremony in London.
- We have a student-run MedSoc group. This group discuss medical and ethical issues and support each other with their applications to university.
- Our Environmental and Wildlife Club encourages a love of nature alongside a consideration of the environment in which we live.
- We have a mentoring system where students are able to support younger pupils with Biology work, developing their understanding and removing misconceptions.
- We look for role models to help our students discover career pathways they may not have considered, for example “Science Live” where students are able to listen to cutting edge scientists talk about recent discoveries and their work.
- Students are encouraged to take part in the after-school Journal Club, where they are able to give presentations and discuss any science topics they are interested in, from dental stem cells to sleep deprivation.
- We expand students’ horizons, introducing them to the complexity of ecology during a residential field-trip to Wales in Year 12.
- We nurture and support relationships with past students, acknowledging their accomplishments. We encourage former students to return and work with our MedSoc group and present at our Journal Club, alongside our own students.