Biology is a dynamic and exciting subject very much in the forefront of many new developments in science in the 21st century. The new Biology suite in the Callard Laboratories comprises four teaching rooms, prep room, greenhouse, animal room and office with the use of an IT room in the same block.
We have a well stocked wildlife area with a pond at Queen’s College and are fortunate that much of the field work can be carried out within the extensive school grounds. However, our excellent location means we are also not far from local streams and the sand dunes and rocky seashore of North Devon, as well as being close to the beautiful Exmoor and Dartmoor countryside, where there is plenty of opportunity for the pupils to practically illustrate their studies. We also visit local attractions such as Bristol Zoo, Nettlecombe court field studies centre, The National Aquarium, the Quantocks, Paignton Zoo and At-Bristol to make the curriculum really come alive for our pupils. In years 10 and 11 pupils also have the opportunity to attend the Science Live lectures to hear about recent innovations in science.
Biology is taught as a separate subject to all pupils in Years 7 and 8. Pupils supplement their theoretical and practical laboratory-based studies by taking part in field visits and working outside.
In particular Key Stage 3 covers human organs and systems, green plants as organisms, living things in their environment, life processes and cell activity so that pupils have a good understanding of the world around them. We look in detail at human and plant reproduction, microbiology, the respiratory system and the circulatory system.
In Years 9, 10 and 11 pupils follow a programme of lessons that leads either to the AQA separate science GCSE Biology or the AQA combined science GCSE. At this stage we are looking for our pupils to understand scientific ideas; how they develop, understand factors which may affect development, their power and limitations and evaluate and consider ethical issues. The topics covered are very diverse, from DNA, genetics and genetic engineering to the causes behind and possible cures for communicable and non-communicable diseases in humans. The course takes the topics covered in years 7 and 8 and explains the issues in more depth as well as introducing new concepts. Students who do well on the separate science GCSE course will be in a strong position to cope with the challenges of the Biology A Level.
Pupils are also encouraged to take part in the Biology challenge, a countrywide competition which acts as a junior British Biology Olympiad, which aims to encourage an interest in biology beyond the school curriculum and stimulate curiosity in the natural world.