Our department is one of the largest in the College and incorporates Applied Science. We are a very dynamic department, always looking to keep up-to-date with recent biological studies and developments. We have eleven biology specialist teachers and two technicians within the department, between us we have many years of teaching and examining experience on a range of related courses for a variety of examining boards.

Courses Offered by the Department

A Level Biology

This subject will give you the skills to make connections and associations with all living things around you. Biology literally means the study of life and if that’s not important, what is? This is a course which combines a study of basic biological topics with consideration of some recent advances, is scientifically and intellectually rigorous, but fascinating. It emphasises the ways in which biologists work and the contribution of biology to society.

Biology is an interesting subject in its own right, stimulating concern and respect for all life, developing understanding of key scientific principles and a wide range of key skills which are readily transferable to study at university level.

International Baccalaureate Biology

The IB Biology course combines the study of basic biological topics with a consideration of recent developments within a global context. Students will acquire a large body of Biological facts and at the same time develop a broad, general understanding of the principles of Biology. Students are taught to apply, analyse and evaluate scientific information and be aware of effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities. Students will also develop investigative scientific skills, become aware of moral and ethical issues and experience the international dimensions whilst studying a science. Theory of Knowledge is also covered in appropriate topics where aspects of the scientific method are addressed.

Applied General Extended Certificate in Science

The Applied Science course will allow students to study how Science is used in many different types of professions and industries. It covers theoretic and experimental aspects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics but the focus of the course is scientific usage, concentrating on how scientists and others use science in their work. The course will enable students to develop and sustain an interest in, and enjoyment of, science. They will appreciate how science develops and the impacts such developments may have in present day society, and develop essential knowledge and understanding relating to science and, where appropriate, the applications of science, and the skills needed for the use of this in new and changing situations. They will also develop practical skills relevant to science.

Medics

The Medics group helps students prepare for entry to University to study Physiotherapy, Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science. These meetings are a vital part of the preparation for course application, interview and for the courses themselves. The meetings will provide help with UKCAT and BMAT, advice and guidance on personal statements and University choices. Each student will experience a mock individual and multi-mini interview; they will have plenty of practice in the medics meetings where we will prepare and discuss interview questions, ethical scenarios and current news. Additionally, students will benefit from meeting and listening to the experiences of qualified ex-students and guest speakers. All students hoping to apply for these courses must attend Medics’ additional studies. Medics' meetings take place monthly in year 1 and weekly in year 2.

Trips and Visits

The Biology Department runs a number of trips every academic year, including:

  • A visit to Colchester Zoo to look at Classification, Biodiversity and Conservation, which are topics in both the A level Biology and the IB Biology courses.
  • Fieldwork is an essential part of any Biologist’s experience. At the end of the first year on the A level Biology course there is a requirement for students to learn practical skills associated with the study of Ecology and to carry out fieldwork investigations.
  • We have very good links with The University of Essex and other HE providers, which provides our students with the opportunity to attend a Biology conference and other talks where they experience a ‘taste’ of university life and what it might be like to study biology at degree level.

Support and Extension Activities

The Biology department runs a range of support and extension sessions every week to enhance students’ achievement on our courses. These range from drop in support sessions for students who require some help with specific topics or pieces of work and subject support sessions prior to internal test dates and the A level Biology examinations at the end of the course. We also offer extension classes which stretch our more able students beyond the course specifications and allow some the opportunity to sit the Biology Olympiad papers each year.

Please see our Courses page for full details of all the courses offered by the college.