Unimaginable developments will be taking place in the area of biological science within the lifetime of St. Andrew’s students. Progress in DNA sequencing and cell biology are leading to fundamental insights into how life ‘ticks’, opening up whole realms of future endeavour. Medicine, agriculture, bio-fuels for energy, drug production, environmental monitoring are just a few areas likely to be transformed by new developments.
Biology is a large potential career area and many students follow it for that reason. Many of our students have gone onto achieve great success, gaining PhD’s in medicine and stem-cell research etc. Other students find biology a useful complimentary subject giving them some science background while they specialize in non-science areas. Biology is about life, a topic of natural interest to us all.
Last year, our GCSE results were outstanding with eleven A*s and excellent performances from most of our students. We have a well balanced, enthusiastic teaching team in the department and a wealth of good teaching resources.
An educated person should understand how we function as individuals and in the world as a whole. It’s a complex world which society is increasingly realizing has to be looked at holistically – as a whole. We all share one Earth, a wonderful planet that is facing some difficult challenges. The young scientists of the future have much work to do.
Head of Department:
Sylvester Chikwana, BSc
Sarah L S Percival , BSc (Hons) PGCE
Mr Chilipo Gunda , BEd.
- Students are taught a variety of topics including:
- Life characteristics;
- Classification and use of keys;
- Body organization;
- Cell structure and microscopy;
- Diffusion, osmosis and active transport;
- Basic biochemistry;
- Photosynthesis in plants;
- Nutrition in animals
Students are also taught key skills in the subject of Biology. The discipline of science requires a methodical, analytical approach. It is important to be aware of potential variables, and design experiments which control those variables which should be kept constant. Good experimental design is an important aspect of the course and students are challenged to show their understanding of this area of study in their coursework activities.
End of topic tests are given to students and the end of year exam is based on IGCSE level questions in Year 9. In years 10 & 11, under the Cambridge IGCSE programme, all students are assessed by examinations, and coursework, either at the core or extended level. The coursework takes place mainly in class time with one ‘out of school project’ in year 11. It is mainly made up of staff guided practical investigations in class time but we progress to students conducting their own small project as students progress from Year 9 to 11.
In Year 9, we cover fundamental work at IGCSE level extending knowledge, insight, and investigative skills. In Years 10 & 11, students follow the Cambridge iGCSE Biology syllabus.
- Coloured pens
- Scissors and glue
Homework is set each week and marked at least every two weeks.
The scope is wide with established areas like medicine, forestry, farming, fisheries and food science being supplemented by new fast growing areas such as environmental management genetic engineering, and biotechnology. Such is the pace of change that new career areas in biological sciences are constantly appearing.
Each students is provided with a ‘Biology For You’ textbook and is given regular hand-outs during lessons to further support their homework and studies.
Teaching Equipment and Facilities
The department boasts of modern equipment that enhances learning:
- Smart board
- New incubators
- Electronic water baths and balances
- Digital / Automatic Sphygmomanometer
- DNA / Gel Electrophoresis Kit
- Modern Light Microscopes
- Dissecting kit
- Ecological equipment
- Live and Preserved specimen
- Three spacious, furnished and well ventilated rooms serve as the main laboratories where teaching is also delivered.
- AS and A2 students are offered the Edexcel syllabus. The department has a massive reservoir of academic resources (both hard and soft copies)