Biology is the study of life itself: from the functioning of the living cell to the study of plants and animals. Issues in Biology are crucial ones in today’s world. The field of genetics is of increasing importance in medicine and medical research; as DNA sequencing becomes quicker and cheaper, new worlds of information are opening up; biological developments in relation to forensic science are providing new insights into crime detection.
Biology is a versatile subject; it is often used to broaden the profile of an otherwise arts-based course as well as being a staple component for students with future aspirations in science, veterinary science or medicine. The department uses a practical, hands-on approach wherever possible; there is an emphasis on laboratory skills. Students are challenged to think imaginatively and to be critical scientists – to use, rather than to simply reproduce, the factual basis of their learning. There are close links with the nearby University of Kent, and visits to see their research facilities are part of the enrichment aspect of the course in addition to the popular fieldwork visit to the ecology centre on the Isle of Wight.
The department’s objectives at A-level are:
- To enable pupils to link the structures, properties and functions of molecules, organelles, cells, tissues and organs
- To use biological models to explain a healthy lifestyle
- To explain the control systems of cells and organs
- To develop understanding of how genes and molecules affect entire organisms
- To explain the landscape in terms of interactions between the biotic and abiotic
- To develop the skills of using data to draw conclusions and to test hypotheses
The Biology department comprises teachers with very different postgraduate backgrounds who work together to share their enthusiasm for ecology, molecular biology, physiology, anatomy and medicine. Their high levels of subject mastery combine with wide-ranging teaching experience in a lively and enthusiastic department. The context is always supportive; as well as challenging and enriching the able, the department offers easy opportunities for those who are struggling to have additional help outside the classroom.