Open Morning

Biology

“Turn on the TV any night of the week and you will find a wealth of inspiring documentaries bringing the natural world to your sitting room. We study this amazing world day in, day out; with us, you will learn fascinating facts about it that we so often take for granted. - Life! But not as you know it” - Mrs R Bentley, Head of Biology

We are a friendly and collaborative department consisting of six members of teaching staff and two full-time technicians. We feel that education here is not just about passing exams, but rather about the sheer joy of learning and individual research, discussion and debate are at the heart of our teaching. All students are encouraged to dig deeper, explore ideas and develop their own particular interests. The strong relationship forged between teachers and pupils is key to driving this success. We have first-class teaching and inspirational teachers who are passionate about their subjects, and we are very proud of the achievements of all our pupils. New Hall’s Biology Department promotes excellent working relationships between teachers and students. Our staff provide intellectually stimulating, enjoyable lessons to all. We are proud of our strong emphasis on carrying out practical work in lessons. Furthermore, there are robust links with the Preparatory School, including a bespoke curriculum KS3 style curriculum delivered to Year 6, with Year 5 starting this year. 

 The Biology Department Aims are 

  • To encourage enthusiasm and a passion for the study of Biology and a culture of academic excellence, innovation and fun.
  • To provide all students with an understanding of the importance of Biology and develop an understanding of the scientific method and its application.
  • To encourage students to develop confidence, knowledge and skills to find answers to questions about the workings of the biological, chemical and physical world and become better-informed citizens.  
  • To encourage the learning of a body of biological knowledge, which can be directly or indirectly applied to life issues, help decision making about Science, and to value scientific contributions and achievements.
  • To encourage the further study of Biology and other STEM subjects at university and beyond.

 

Students have the opportunity to broaden their learning in various ways, including 

  • A thriving STEM Club runs for the younger students in Key Stage 3. 
  • Biology Society is open to students in Key Stages 4 and 5. 
  • MDV Society is open to students in Key Stages 4 and 5.
  • Year 10 students have the opportunity to attend lectures by top scientists at the GCSE Science Live Lectures.   
  • All Year 9 and 10 students complete the Biology Challenge.
  • Year 12 students sit the Intermediate Biology Olympiad.
  • Year 13 students sit the Biology Olympiad.
  • Each year there are extensive co-curricular activities run during Biology Week.  

‘Nucleus’ the first magazine published by the Biology Society

In previous years we have taken part in Operation Wallacea expeditions to places such as the Galapagos Islands and this is something that we are eager to re-introduce. This has allowed the students to take part in expeditions designed around research projects on wildlife conservation, social science or protected area management aims.  

Facilities

Biology lessons are taught in 4 purpose-built laboratories offering extensive opportunities for practical work. 

We have superb ICT facilities, allowing data logging, internet research, experimental modelling, and online teaching. Each member of staff is issued with a laptop and iPad for personal use and regular training on the latest platforms is given. This allowed us to seamlessly teach our lessons remotely with great success. One student wrote “I think that my Biology lessons were really successful because they are very interactive with lots of involvement.  I particularly liked the interactive nature of the lessons (including the use of Teams and Nearpod) and the support given by the teacher.” 

We are lucky to be one of the only schools in the area to have a fully working farm, and as such, this is used extensively by the department. Year 7 students follow a bespoke skills-based course on the farm and a Farm Club allows the students to participate in animal-based activities, to nurture an interest in animal behaviour and welfare and practice animal handling for our veterinary students. 

The Curriculum

Year 10 students completing their fieldwork on the school grounds

The three sciences are taught separately in Years 7-8 after which the pupils follow the 3 sciences to GCSE.  

In Year 7 and 8, students follow an accelerated course which covers the basic principles of Biology. Topics include reproduction, respiration, photosynthesis, health and digestion. 

In Year 9 students start their GCSE journey and this continues into Year 10 and 11. They study Biology as part of the AQA Science Double Award (GCSE) or the Triple Science (GCSE).  

 In Year 12 and 13 students follow the Biology AQA specification. This specification aims to build on GCSE knowledge and is an excellent foundation for university studies.  

Year 12 and 13 Vet Science students doing work experience on our farm

We have successful applicants to many top universities to study subjects such as Biomedical Science, Medicine, Sport and Exercise Psychology, Zoology and Veterinary Medicine. We have also had success with students securing places on courses at Oxford and Cambridge. 

We are delighted that Biology exam results are consistently excellent, and students outperform national expectations in public examinations. In 2019, the most recent year of normal examination processes, 88% of the students gained grades 6-9 and over 80% attained an A*-B at A level. Many students go on to study Biology related degrees including Medicine, Biological Sciences and Natural Sciences. Year 9 and 10 students participate in the annual Biology Challenge Competition, run by the Royal Society of Biology. This aims to stimulate and reward students’ curiosity about the natural world and encourages them to take an interest in Biology outside of school.

A Level pupils compete in the British Biology Olympiad aiming to be selected as a member of the UK Team competing in the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) which involves the top pre-university biology students in the world. In this academically selective school, the challenges include stretching the ablest up to Oxbridge level. The department also has a comprehensive support programme for candidates applying to Oxbridge and medicine, with much success in this area.  

Some of our Year 10 students who have completed the Biology Challenge and gained Bronze, Silver or Gold awards

Co-curriculum

Science club is available to all students, offering a range of fun activities and experiments.

Every year we celebrate Science Week and Biology Week by offering a number of events. This year during Biology Week, students had the opportunity to attend ‘Dissection Club’, a Biology debate and the ‘VIVIT Experience’, which involved an autopsy using a semi-synthetic cadaver.

We offer the opportunity to take part in the Biology Challenge and British Biology Olympiad competitions.

Year 10 Triple Science students had the opportunity to attend lectures by top scientists at the GCSE Science Live Lectures.  The day consisted of fascinating and inspiring lectures from a range of well-known leading scientists who have all played important roles in making science more accessible and engaging for public consumption.

The lively lectures were provided by: Prof Robert Winston; Prof Andrea Sella;  Prof Jim Al-Khalili; Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Prof Alice Roberts.

 

Staff

Mrs Bentley
Mrs English
Mrs Willson
Dr Tiffen
Mrs Dennis
Miss Clifforth

Head of Biology: Mrs Bentley [email protected]
Twitter: @NewHallScience
Instagram: @newhallbio