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Biology (A level linear – No AS examinations) at Gumley House Convent School

Course description

 Biology encompasses learning about living organisms and life processes from a molecular level to an individual organism and the whole communities of species.

The course starts by introducing the fundamental basis of life on earth. Through microscopy and theory you will learn about the ultrastructure of cells and the details about how new cells are generated for growth, repair and reproduction. Contemporary issues such as the risk factors of cancer, the effects of heart disease, possible treatment for HIV and conserving biodiversity are covered.

You will learn through teacher led explanations, videos, carrying out practical investigations, making models, taking part in discussions and/or debates, quizzes, group work and by the completion of individual activities. There will be a minimum of 12 core practical investigations which will allow you to develop your skills in order to pass the non- examined practical skills module.

The residential field trip is run by external professionals who cover the practical aspects of the module about environment. Students will have the opportunity to explore woodland and marine ecology and use their statistical techniques in real life situations.

As an A level student you must spend at least 6 hours completing private study per week to consolidate your learning and ability to apply subject knowledge to different contexts.

You will enjoy this course if:

· You are academically minded with a good understanding of Biology and Chemistry

· You are interested in how living things function and what happens when things go wrong.

You will need to be self-motivated and have an active approach to learning new concepts in lessons rather than being a passive learner who wants to take notes. You should be independent, proactive and able to meet deadlines.

Course content

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology (non-exam assessment)

Module 2 –Cells, Exchange & Transport & Chemicals for life. This module introduces the fundamental basis of life on earth. You will learn about the t transport system of multicellular plants and animals.

Module 3 – Cell Division, Development & Disease Control. This module covers the risk factors, and possible effects of cancer and respiratory diseases are discussed. You will also learn about immunity and disease control.

Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease. This module introduces diversity as the variety of life in all its forms. It incorporates some fieldwork skills and you will learn how projects such as the Millennium Seed Bank in Kew Gardens enable us to conserve species and genetic diversity.

Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy. This module covers the organs involved in homeostasis including the kidney and live; communications systems such as the nervous system and brain and its application in a wide range of fields.

Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems. This module focusses on the ever changing area of genetics and its application in a wide range of fields.


Entry requirements

English and  Maths at level 5 and three different subjects at a minimum grade C. Grade B in Core Science and Additional Science or a grade B in Biology GCSE (Triple Science).


In Year 13 you will sit 3 exams which will count towards the final grade: 

Paper 1: Foundations in Biology -external written exam 41%

Paper 2: Biology in Depth  - external written exam 37%

Paper 3: Practical Skills in Biology- external written exam 36%

Paper 4; Non exam assessment- core practical skills are developed and reported separately

Financial information

 There is an optional field trip – 2 days – during the Spring term for year 13 students.

Future opportunities

There are thousands of careers and Higher Education options available to a student with an A level in Biology. After the obvious ones of medicine and dentistry, there are the biomedical sciences, forensic science, marine science and Ecology, science journalism, nursing, nutrition, physiotherapy, radiography, cell biology, immunology, environmental science, food technology, law, education, business... the list is endless! You could take this course with other advanced level courses, which overlap with Biology such as Chemistry, Applied Science, Physics, Geography, Geology or more general subjects that may not relate to the sciences, to prepare for higher education. With further training, you could go into a job related to Biology or one of the other sciences such as a Doctor, Nurse, Scientist or Marine Biologist. The course will also help you to develop the basic skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.

Further information

To find out more about this qualification, contact us or your school/college careers staff.


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gumley House Convent School directly.

Last updated date: 10 May 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years

Contact details


  • More information
    • The main entrance to the School is via Gumley Gardens off  St John's Road.

      The School is close to a number of bus routes- 267, 237, 235,117 and H37.

      There is limited parking in the school during school hours. There is metered street parking in South Street (off Twickenham Road).