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Biology A Level at QE Academy Trust

Course description

We recently introduced a brand‐new course which brings Biology into the 21st century. Edexcel Pearson Salters Nuffield Advanced Biology (SNAB) is a new and innovative approach to the teaching and learning of A Level Biology. It is relevant, exciting, engages and motivates students and takes account of recent developments in Biology.  

Course content

AS Level Units

Unit 1: Lifestyle, health and risk ‐ This is about risk and cardiovascular diseases. It starts with the experiences of two real people: Mark, a 15 year‐old boy who suffered a stroke and Peter, a very fit man in his 60s who had a heart attack. The Unit presents the Biology that is needed to understand what has happened to Mark and Peter, including the Biology related to the heart and circulation, atherosclerosis and blood clotting, before going on to the risk factors which contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, such as obesity, cholesterol levels and smoking.

Unit 2: Genes and health ‐ We are introduced to a couple, Claire and Nathan, who are trying to decide whether they should have a child. They are faced with a dilemma. Claire's mother had cystic fibrosis and they are concerned that their child may get the disease. The Unit is structured to answer the questions that they may be asking.

Unit 3: The voice of the genome considers the most fundamental biological story there is ‐ development from a single egg into a complex multi‐cellular organism. Cell structure, gametes, DNA replication and mitosis are among the biological ideas studied in detail. The use of stem cells in medical therapies and the ethics of the processes are discussed.

Unit 4: Biodiversity and natural resources investigates the methods plants have developed to overcome the difficulties of being located in one place and looks at how humans have exploited the ingenuity of plants. "Plants are cool". Biodiversity and Natural Selection are introduced, and the role of zoos and seed banks in conservation is discussed.

A2 Level Units

Unit 5: On the wild side is an ecological Unit, looking at ecosystems and how they work. It also focuses on the evidence for, and impact of climate change and asks the question "will living things evolve fast enough to cope?"

Unit 6: Infection, immunity and forensics in the context of Forensic Biology, with our own Crime Scene Investigation.

Unit 7: Run for your life considers what allows a cheetah to run at 100 km an hour and a human sprinter to run 100 m in 10 seconds whereas long distance athletes cannot achieve these speeds, even with performance‐enhancing drugs, but can keep going for much longer.

Unit 8: Grey matter starts with the story of the anthropologist Colin Turnbull who took a forest‐dwelling Bambuti tribesman out to the plains. Kenge, the Bambuti, looked across the plain, turned to Colin Turnbull and asked what the insects he could see were called. He was in reality looking at buffalo away on the horizon. The Unit looks at how he actually saw the buffalo, covering the eye, vision, the nervous system and brain. It also looks at development of the brain, perception, and learning, linked to why Kenge might have been mistaken.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements: to do the Level 3 programme at Queen Elizabeth’s, you will need
to have achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*‐C including at least one of
English/Maths. Individual courses might also require certain grades at GCSE in
particular subjects.


Paper 1 – Lifestyle, Transport, Genes and Health ‐ 50%
Covering Topics 1 and 2 as well as Core Practicals
Paper 2 – Development, Plants and the Environment – 50%
Covering Topics 3 and 4 as well as Core Practicals
Practical Endorsement
During Core Practicals, students’ skills will be assessed to ‘Pass’ this extra endorsement

A level:
Paper 1 – The Natural Environment and Species Survival – 33.3%
Covering Topics 1 – 6 as well as Core Practicals
Paper 2 – Energy, Exercise and Co‐ordination – 33.3%
Covering Topics 1‐4, 7 & 8 as well as Core Practicals
Paper 3 – General and Practical Applications in Biology – 33.3%
Covering Topics 1‐8 as well as Core Practicals and questions based on a pre‐release article
Practical Endorsement

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact QE Academy Trust directly.

Last updated date: 17 December 2015
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