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Biology A Level at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School

Course description

This A level course offers a unique chance to study real-life and cutting-edge applications of modern biology. Students begin by reading and discussing a real-life story-line and, through close study of the textbook and regular use of the dedicated website containing animations, multimedia resources and a wide range of supporting activities, the important biological principles involved are revealed and understood. Relevant practical activities involving investigations, microscope work, model making and role-plays form an essential part of the course. The course emphasizes the application of knowledge rather than learning large volumes of information so expect study work to reflect this.

Course content

AS Level Topics 1+2 : Lifestyle, Transport, Genes, Health: What is the risk of getting cardiovascular disease? What factors affect the risk and how do they work? The biology covered to understand this includes heart and circulation structure and function as well as the chemistry and function of food molecules. The symptoms and causes of the hereditary disorder Cystic Fibrosis are examined including details of how it affects normal lung and digestion functions, and what is happening at the molecular level from DNA structure and genetic code to protein synthesis, structure and function. The ethics of genetic screening and treatments are discussed.

Topics 3+4 : Development, Plants and The Environment: How does DNA replicate and how are new cells made? How does DNA control the development from a single egg into a complex multi-cellular organism? How do plants overcome the difficulties of being located in one place and how have humans exploited their ingenuity? The concern for disappearing biodiversity and loss of potential natural resources is used to highlight the need for biologists to identify, name and classify species. We look at the role of zoos in the conservation of endangered species.

Practical Skills: You will carry out several core practical’s and be assessed in the written exams on your ability to use apparatus skilfully and safely, produce and record valid and reliable measurements and present and analyse data appropriately.

A Level (AS plus the following) Topics 5+6: The Natural Environment and Species Survival: An understanding of how ecology, genetics, photosynthesis and evolution play a role in how human populations interact with wildlife and the consequences on successful conservation. We examine whether climate change is actually occurring by looking at effects on biodiversity and ecosystems. How the battle is fought between pathogen and host and why diseases can still occur despite the hosts protective mechanisms. How does the forensic scientist use this knowledge in determining the cause of death? All students attend a residential field trip to Slapton Ley Field Study Centre, Devon, in October.

Topics 7+8: Energy, Exercise and Coordination: Explores the relationship between respiration, homeostasis, muscle physiology and athletic performance. How genetics and animal models help understand the workings of the nervous system, including the role of neurotransmitters and the consequences of imbalances in conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

Practical Skills: You will carry out core practical’s and be assessed in the written exams on your ability to use apparatus skilfully and safely, produce and record valid and reliable measurements and present and analyse data appropriately. In addition your skills will be assessed against nationally agreed criteria. You will get a pass/fail for practical skills in addition to the exam grade.

Entry requirements

Grade B in both Core and Additional Science, or a grade B in Biology and one other separate science is required, along with a B in Maths.



How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School directly.

Last updated date: 26 June 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years