Before beginning your A Level studies, you will receive a selection of carefully curated websites, podcasts and books that will support your progress in the first few topics covered in Year 12.
We also welcome younger girls to attend a taster day to experience an A Level biology lesson, and to talk to Year 13 students to hear their experience of the course.
Throughout your course, you will have access to regular lunchtime surgeries, to access any further support you may need. We also support students after school and during free lessons. The teaching department also provides key support materials on Cloudbase including past papers, videos, animations and other interactive learning tools.
Module 1 Development of practical skills in Biology
The development of practical skills is a fundamental and integral aspect of the study of this subject. These skills not only enhance learners’ understanding of the subject but also serve as a suitable preparation for the demands of studying Biology at higher levels.
Practical skills are embedded throughout all sections of this specification. Learners will be required to develop a range of practical skills throughout their course in preparation for the written examinations. The practical skills are assessed in a written examination. The practical skills developed are those of planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating.
Module 2 Foundations in Biology
This unit covers the study of cellular structure, biological molecules, enzymes, cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation. It also includes the features and differentiation of stem cells and their potential uses in research and medicine.
Module 3 Exchange and transport
In this unit, students study the structure and function of gas exchange and transport systems in a range of animals and in terrestrial plants.
Module 4 Biodiversity, evolution and disease
Students learn about the biodiversity of organisms; how they are classified and the ways in which biodiversity can be measured. It serves as an introduction to ecology, emphasising practical techniques and an appreciation of the need to maintain biodiversity. Students also gain an understanding of the variety of organisms that are pathogenic and the way in which plants and animals have evolved defences to deal with disease.
The impact of the evolution of pathogens on the treatment of disease is also considered
The A Level is split into six teaching modules: Modules 1-4 (as above), plus modules 5 and 6.
Module 5 Communication, homeostasis and energy
Students explore how organisms respond to changes in their external and internal environment using responses that are controlled and co-ordinated electrically and/ or chemically. Communication is fundamental to homeostasis with the control of temperature, blood sugar and blood water potential being studied as examples. In this module the biochemical pathways of respiration and photosynthesis and the metabolic processes of excretion are also considered.
Module 6 Genetics, evolution and ecosystems
Students study genes and how they control the way cells function. Changes within genes lead to variation and variation produces the raw material for evolution. In this module, some of the practical techniques used to manipulate DNA such as sequencing, amplification and genetic engineering are considered and their therapeutic medical use.
Cloning and the use of microorganisms in biotechnology are also considered. This unit provides an understanding of how ecosystems work and how to manage them for sustainability. It also covers population dynamics and conservation.