Link to OFSTED Report
Biology GCSE
Specification: Edexcel

From Year 9 onwards, the material is GCSE standard and all lessons are taught by specialist teachers. Lessons contain practicals when possible, so experimental and analytical skills can be developed.

Year 9 - Pupils receive two hours a fortnight for each of the three sciences.

Topic B1 (Sept – Feb)
Key Biological Concepts
Topic B2 ( Mar– Jul)
Cells and Control
Pupils will begin by studying animal and plant cells under light microscopes and gain an understanding of the differences in structure. Biological drawing will be incorporated into the study of different kinds of animal cells. Enzymes will be introduced, with pupils running investigations into how different factors affect enzyme function. Cell division and growth are the focus for the beginning of the topic – this includes mitosis, cancer cells and stem cells. The use of stem cells in medical treatment and research is discussed at length and then moves on to the brain, the spinal cord and the use of scans to investigate brain function. The topic moves on to the nervous system, and finally concludes with the structure and function of the eye.

Year 10 - Pupils receive four hours a fortnight.

Topic B3 (Sep – Nov)
Topic B4 (Dec – Feb)
Natural Selection and Genetic Modification
Topic B5 (Mar – May)
Health, Disease and the Development of Medicine
Topic B6 (Jun – Jul)
Plant Structures and their Functions
The beginning of the topic covers reproduction, meiosis and DNA. Pupils will then move on to learn about the formation of proteins and how this leads to variation at the genetic level. This follows on to inheritance, missing alleles and the effect of mutations. The first half of the topic focuses on Darwin’s theory of evolution and as well as classification. The second half of the topic develops knowledge of genes in agriculture and medicine, fertilisers and biological control. Health and disease is covered in detail, from communicable diseases to cardiovascular diseases, pathogens, viruses, plant diseases and the immune system. The topic ends on antibiotics and monoclonal antibodies. Pupils begin by learning about photosynthesis and factors that affect it. This continues on to how plants absorb water and nutrients and finally looks at transpiration / translocation, plant adaptations, plant hormones and their uses.

Year 11 - Pupils receive three hours a fortnight.

Topic B7 (Sep – Dec)
Animal Coordination, Control and Homeostasis
Topic B8 (Jan – Feb)
Exchange and Transport in Animals
Topic B8 (Mar – May)
Ecosystems and Material Cycles
A number of important mechanisms in the body are explored, such as, the control of metabolic rate, the menstrual cycle and the hormones that control it, regulation of blood glucose, diabetes, thermoregulation, osmoregulation and the kidneys. This topic focuses on the circulatory system, including the heart. A knowledge cellular respiration is developed as well as factors affecting diffusion. This is the topic that focuses on Ecology. Concepts include: biotic and abiotic factors, communities, assessing pollution, parasites, biodiversity, food security, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle and rates of decomposition.

Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus