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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School

Sciences - Biology

Why study Biology?


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This a new Biology A-Level specification will nurture your passion for biology and lay the foundations for further study and careers in biological sciences and medicine.  We start off by investigating the biochemical basis of life including proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids.

We then investigate the cellular nature of life, including eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.  This is then used to explain the development of vascular and respiratory disease.  In Year 13 we explore the issues associated with genetic diversity and evolution.  Required practical lessons embedded within the course develop students’ experimental, analytical and evaluation skills with contemporary and topic biology examples.
Assessment involves 3 separate examination papers, each 2 hours using critical analysis of experimental data, comprehension questions and a written synoptic essay.

Biology is a popular subject, delivered by excellent and experienced practitioners who engage and support students to achieve their potential.  This year; students have linked with the UEA biology laboratory to carry out DNA investigations and other highlights of the course including a variety of dissections, microscopy and succession and zonation project at Holkham.  

Why our students like this course

 ‘Biology is a challenging, achievable subject that develops initiative and compliments many other courses…’

'I chose to study Biology as I feel it is a highly practical and interesting subject and relevant in modern society.  The course builds on the knowledge at GCSE and also introduces new topics that can lead to many career pathways.  Biology is a challenging and achievable subject that develops initiative and compliments many other courses available at Notre Dame.'

Entry Requirements
Grade 6s (12) in Science (if Double) or Grade 6 in Biology (if Triple) and a Grade 6 in Maths

Exam Board

Where will this subject lead me? 

Through biology you will have gained a wide range of skills including investigation, analysing information, using data and general scientific skills

It goes well with other sciences such as chemistry, maths, psychology and geography and is considered by many universities as a 'facilitating subject' which can lead on to many future options.

Studying biology can lead to careers in a range of areas including energy and the environment, animals and agriculture and, scientific, pharmaceutical and medical research.

Further Advice

Biology FAQs

What grades do I need?

You will need a grade 6 in Biology or Trilogy and a 6 in Maths and 39 points from your best 8 subjects.

Who are the teachers?

Mrs Bird (Head of Biology), Dr Stevenson (Deputy Head teacher), Mr Harper (Assistant Director of 6th Form and Head of Year 13), Mrs Banks (Easta Lead), Mr Olley.  You will be assigned two teachers and nine sessions per fortnight.

How many students in each set?

Currently 10-18 students in 4 sets for Year 12.

What is the homework like?

Homeworks each lesson include exam questions including data analysis questions and longer written pieces of work.  These guide revision and assess students level of written work.

How will we be assessed?

The school will give you a target grade and you will be expected to match or better this in each test. Every half term you will have a synoptic paper made up of exam papers. This will indicate if you need additional support.  A letter will be sent home to inform parents/carers of the support offered and independent study suggested.

How much independent study should I do?

Current students will tell you that consolidation and past paper questions help attainment and a more developed understanding.  You will be given set Biology study time in your timetable and have study sessions.  Your teachers will be happy to go through any additional work carried out.  Additional reading is provided during lessons including Biofactsheets, Big Picture and scientific journals.

What do Biology lessons look like?

Your lessons will be either single or double lessons.  We place a high importance on practical skills and these will be carried out during the double lessons and recorded in a lab book.  Accompanying material such as the lesson powerpoint, further reading and exam practice will be uploaded onto the google classroom to consolidate learning.

What materials do I need?

We recommend the Toole and Toole A level Biology book.  Revision guides and CGP materials can be purchased via the school to support your studies.  Each student is also given access to the online resource Kerboodle which includes revision material.

Contact a Teacher 

If you have any subject specific questions that you'd like to ask.  You are very welcome to contact the relevant Head of Subject.  To find their email address click on Teaching Staff.  For general enquiries, contact the 6th Form Team.