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, 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 on to achieve great success, gaining even PhD’s in Medicine and Stem-cell research , Environmental Management, Biochemistry, Forensics, Drug Development, Immunology, Microbiology, Fisheries 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 seventeen A*-A s and excellent performances from most of our students. Our A levels results were amazing with two A* and seven A s. 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. 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 Lovemore Chikwana
Some of the topics taught at IGCSE :
- Organisms and life processes
- Animal and plant physiology
- Ecology and the Environment
- Cell structure and Microscopy;
- Variation and Selection;
- Basic Biochemistry;
- Microorganisms and Genetic modification
Some of the topics taught at A – level:
- Biochemistry, Diet and Health
- Proteins, Membranes, DNA and Gene Expression
- Cells, Development, Biodiversity and Conservation
- Energy, Environment, Microbiology, Forensics and Immunity
- Respiration, Muscles and Internal Environment
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. Excellent experimental design is an important aspect of the course and students are challenged to show their sound understanding of this aspect of the course.
End of topic tests are given to students and the end of year examination is based on IGCSE level questions in Year 9. In years 10 & 11 formal topic tests and diagnostic examinations are regularly administered by the department. At the end of Year 11, the students are externally assessed. Two written examinations are taken in the same series. Both papers contain a mixture of different question styles which include multiple choice, short answers, calculations and extended open response questions.
Pearson Edexcel International Advanced Level
This qualification consists of six externally examined units. It is made up of three IAS units ( units 1, 2 and 3) plus three IA2 units ( unit 4, 5 and 6). Distinct modules of learning and teaching with related units of assessment are taken at appropriate stages during the course . Throughout the course, the department regularly administers both formal topic tests and diagnostic examinations.
In Year 9, we cover fundamental work at IGCSE level extending knowledge, insight, and investigative skills. In Years 10 & 11, students follow the new Edexcel Biology syllabus. The Edexcel syllabus specification is also effectively followed at both AS and A2 level.
- 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 student is provided with a relevant text book and syllabus guide. Hand-outs and work sheets are given during lessons to further support students’ 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.
- Massive reservoir of academic resources (both hard and soft copies)