A Level


Why should I study this course?

Biology is a fascinating course that will see you exploring the vast and varied forms of life on planet Earth. From the smallest biological molecules to large and diverse ecosystems, you will gain the knowledge, skills and understanding to make rapid progress in the field of biosciences. We believe that carrying out regular, interesting and informative scientific investigations is a key part of helping you to achieve the best grades possible. Because of this you can expect a large part of the course to include practical investigations including dissections, enzyme catalysed reactions and even the genetic modification of bacteria (which involves inserting a fluorescent jelly fish gene that causes them to glow in the dark)!

Our students have scored in the top 5% in the country in terms of progress so you will have all the expert support that you need to make a real success of your time at College.

Meet the team: Ashley Howe  

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What will I study?

Biology is literally the science of life! There is so much to learn about our planet and the living organisms that inhabit it that whole books have been written on the different topics and areas you will explore but here are a few highlights:

  • The immune system and how a varied team of white blood cells and systems protect us from infection and death. How does cancer develop? How are scientists developing treatments that can fight cancer?
  • The circulatory system –What happens if the circulatory system fails? How is blood push through the 10,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain?
  • The respiratory system – How does breathing work? Why do we need to breathe?
  • Ecosystems and taxonomy – How do scientists classify the wide variety of life on Earth? DAVID ATTENBOROUGH
  • The nervous system – How do neurones generate electrical impulses? How do we respond to danger?
  •  The muscles – How do muscles contract?
  • Genetics – how are scientists genetically modifying organisms to make goats that produce spider silk and pigs with glow in the dark snouts?

Year One Units:

3.1 Biological molecules
3.2 Cells
3.3 Organisms exchange substances with their environment
3.4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms.

Year Two Units:

3.5 Energy transfers in and between organisms
3.6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
3.7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
3.8 The control of gene expression

Examination board


How is the course assessed?

There will be three exams at the end testing the knowledge and skills that you have acquired over the two year course. Now more than ever there is an emphasis on practical and mathematics-based skills.

10% of the examinations will include mathematical questions (up to GCSE higher level) and a further 10% will be practical questions.

What will the course prepare me for?

A-level Biology is a facilitating subject that can help you to get into the top universities and courses that are available both within the UK and abroad. With Biology being such a well-respected subject the possibilities are endless and it is a must-have course for medicine, veterinary science (becoming a vet!) and dentistry. Some of the pathways that our previous students have gone on to study include: medicine, veterinary science, marine biology, zoology, biochemistry, biomedical science, dentistry, pharmacology, forensic science and psychology.

Private study

The Biology team have produced a wide variety of learning materials for you to use during independent study time. To be successful you will need to regularly review past work whilst also reading ahead to enable you to link ideas and concepts to future topics. There are many resources on the Biology Moodle and Microsoft Teams pages to help you - including worksheets, presentations, workbooks, revision checklists and others..

What materials will I need to provide?

You will need the following stationery items: pen, pencil, ruler, paper for taking notes, and a scientific calculator.  Having highlighters and colouring pencils / pens would also be desirable.

How will I be taught?

You will have 4.5 hours of Biology on your timetable and be taught by one teacher.

The lessons have many creative ideas and there is a good mixture of individual work, paired work, and group work. We want you to succeed and our course will be tailored to your individual needs as a learner. We have produced a complete breakdown of the course and plenty of resources that will help you to find success should you be accepted onto the course. All of our lesson resources are available on the Biology Moodle page and our Microsoft Teams group, and we have digital textbooks for all students along with hard copies that you can book out of the library.

Lessons are practical and develop ideas from observations made during practical experiments. Students find the lessons interesting and useful - and that the teaching helps them make really good progress. iPads and Laptops are regularly utilised to enhance the learning experience and you are welcome to bring in your own Wi-Fi enabled devices subject to ICT Helpdesk approval.

This course is for you if... are prepared to ask difficult questions. You have to reject the bland unscientific statements and sound bites that the media throw at you and be prepared to appreciate all around you from a biological standpoint. It has to be said that you will have to learn a lot of detailed facts and apply them in an intelligent manner. If you are inquisitive about the world, you will love Biology.

Your application starts here

What are the course requirements?

5 grades 9-4 at GCSE including:
Grade 5 in Maths
Grade 5 in Science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics)
Grade 4 in English

If you are interested in joining the College, we will arrange a meeting with an experienced subject counsellor who will help you to choose courses that best suit your ambitions and achievements.

All entry requirement details are correct at the time of publication; however, the College may need to make some changes in light of student demand, staff availability and external factors beyond the College's control.

What skills do I need?

  • Good time management - punctuality to lessons is important, as well as getting into good routines of doing homework so that it is handed in on time.
  • Determination and persistence - there will be times when you are likely to find the course difficult and it might take more time than you're used to for a full understanding.
  • Initiative - if you're stuck, ask the Science department for some help. You will find the teachers approachable
  • Good ICT Skills – The Biology team regularly use Moodle, Prezi, Twitter, Memrise & Internet Research as useful tools to enhance learning. You will need to have a Twitter account set up if you do not have one at the start of the year. You will also be provided with usernames and passwords to access multiple learning platforms so be organised.