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Biology A level at Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School

Course description

All our A-Level courses are run by experienced A-Level teachers who are subject specialists, and the results of August 2016 continue a trend of improvement, with the best examination results to date.  Apart from first rate teaching and learning, Year 12 and Year 13 class sizes are small which leads to more personalised learning and individual attention, and there is a weekly drop in session for each science discipline which allows students an even greater level of support as it is required.  

At the start of each year all science students benefit from a series of induction lessons to focus and up-skill them for their studies ahead.  All students receive a textbook and a course handbook which outlines the course and includes a personalised learning checklist to aid learning as well as an in-house exam technique guide designed using the wealth of experience within the department.  

This is a progressive department where we aim to nurture independent learners ready for the challenges of university and work, therefore in addition to teachers tracking progress, students are expected to take ownership of their study through the use of their MYPLC App and Google Drive.

Course content

Year 12
Four topics will be studied in Year 12. These are: 
Topic 1: Lifestyle, Health and Risk
This topic builds on students' knowledge and understanding of the functioning of the circulatory system and the importance of lifestyle choices to health
Topic 2: Genes and Health
This topic considers the following biological principles: the properties of and transport of materials, across cell membranes and gas exchange surfaces, DNA structure and replication, protein synthesis, enzymes and monohybrid inheritance through the context of the genetic disease cystic fibrosis.
Topic 3: Voice of the Genome
This topic follows the development of multicellular organisms from single cells to complex individuals
Topic 4: Biodiversity and Natural Resources
The topic focuses on biodiversity and the wealth of natural resources used by humans. 
Year 13
In Year 13, students will complete an additional 4 topics. These are: 
Topic 5: On the Wild Side
This topic builds an appreciation that photosynthesis is the primary process that underpins the majority of ecosystems, and provides students with an understanding of how ecosystems work
Topic 6: Immunity, Infection and Forensics
This topic is centred on bacteria and viruses, looking at pathologists' work as well as evolution, prevention and cure.
Topic 7: Run for your Life
This topic is centred on the physiological adaptations that enable animals and humans, particularly sports people, to undertake strenuous exercise.
Topic 8: Grey Matter
The scene is set by considering how the working of the nervous system enables us to see. Brain imaging and the regions of the brain are considered. 

Entry requirements

Grade A in GCSE Biology and Physics or Chemistry
Grade A in GCSE Science A and A in Additional Science
Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics
Grade 6 in GCSE English language 
Preferably studied in conjunction with Chemistry, Psychology or Physical Education 


AS Level:

Paper 1: Lifestyle, Transport, Genes and Health (topics 1,2)

  • written paper 1h 30 min; 80 marks; 50% of AS level

Paper 2: Development, Plants and the Environment (topics 3,4)

  • written paper 1h 30 min; 80 marks; 50% of AS level


A Level:

Paper 1: The natural environment and species survival (topics 1-6)

  • written paper 2 hours; 100 marks; 33.33% of A level

Paper 2: Energy exercise and co-ordination (topics 1-4, 7, 8)

  • written paper 2 hours; 100 marks; 33.33% of A level

Paper 3: General and practical application in Biology (topics 1-8 and pre-released scientific article)

  • written paper 2 hours; 100 marks; 33.33% of A level

Practical endorsement: Practical skills and Techniques will be assessed directly using he Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC).  Core practicals will be carried out and write ups will be kept in school and moderated by Edexcel.

Future opportunities

The course provides a suitable foundation for the study of biological science or related courses in higher education. Studying biology can lead to many different career opportunities including research biology, agriculture, horticulture, conservation, veterinary science, pharmacy, health care and medicine. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School directly.

Last updated date: 01 December 2016
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