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Mr R Tanner-Smith – Head of Science
Mr N Bulcock – Head of Biology
Mr A Johnson
Miss K Swales
Mr M Walsh
Miss J Bramley
Mrs J Charlesworth
Miss Hogg

Science Technicians
Dr D Rose – Chief Technician
Mrs A Peck
Mrs T Atkinson

A Level Biology

The AS and A Level course provides a coherent and thorough understanding of Biology and its relevance to areas like modern medicine and gene technology. The course is very popular, with around 170 students taking the subject in Year 12.  Many Biology students from the school go on to study Biology or related courses at degree level. These include applied courses such as Medicine, Veterinary Science, Physiotherapy, and Nursing; as well as pure Biological Sciences.

GCE A Level Awarding Body: AQA

Preferred Previous Studies

Students should have gained a grade B in GCSE Separate Science Biology or a grade A in GCSE Additional Science (Coordinated Science). A grade B in Maths, due to the significant numeracy demand, and a grade B in English, due to the extended writing aspects, are also expected. On very rare occasions students who do not meet these criteria may be able to take the course after a recommendation from their GCSE Biology teacher.

Course Content AS LEVEL

  • Biological molecules
  • The structure and role of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins; DNA and RNA; ATP and water.
  • Cell Structure
  • Detailed features of animal, plant and bacterial cells, and viruses; DNA replication and mitosis; how molecules get across membranes; the immune system and vaccination
  • Exchange and Transport
  • Gas exchange in mammals, insects and fish; digestion in mammals; the circulatory system, (heart, blood vessels and haemoglobin); transport of water and sugars in plants.
  • Genes and Variation
  • Genes and chromosomes, protein synthesis and the effect of mutations.
  • Cell division by meiosis, genetic diversity and classification andbiodiversity within communities.
  • Practical Skills – Students do regular practical work to develop essential skills and understanding. These include 6 compulsory tasks set by the exam board, on the basis of which practical and analytical skills are assessed as part of the end of year written exams.


  • Two 1½ hour written exams at the end of Year 12, which are each worth 50% of the AS qualification. Each exam covers all specification content and also assesses practical skills.

Course Content A LEVEL

All of the AS units of study plus…

  • Energy Transfers
  • Biochemistry of photosynthesis and respiration; energy flow through ecosystems and nutrient cycles.
  • Response and Control Response to stimuli in animals and plants including the nervous system and control of heart rate in mammals.
  • Muscles and homeostasis in mammals, including the control of blood glucose and kidney function.
  • Genetics and Populations
  • Genetic crosses and population genetics as well as evolution and speciation.
  • Factors affecting distribution of organisms, succession and conservation.
  • Control of Gene Expression
  • How gene expression is controlled; cancer and DNA technology.
  • Practical Skills – as with the AS course, students will do further practical activities to include 6 compulsory tasks which will be assessed as part of the end of year written exams.


Three 2 hour written examinations at the end of Year 13.  Paper 1 assesses the four AS topics, Paper 2 assesses the further four A level topics and Paper 3 assesses all eight topics and practical skills.