Our department is one of the largest in the College and also incorporates Applied Science and GCSE 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 three 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.


AS and A2 AQA Biology

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 way in which biologists work and the contribution of biology to society in a way that underpins the specification. 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. It is hoped that students will acquire a large body of facts and at the same time develop a broad, general understanding of the principles of Biology. It is also important be able 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.

AS Applied Science

This course will allow you to study how science is applied in many different types of professions and industries. The focus of the course how scientists use science in their work. You will study Biology, Chemistry and Physics concepts as well as investigate specific companies or organisations that employ scientists. The major form of assessment (66%) is internally-assessed coursework.

GCSE Core Science

This course will be offered as a single award following the AQA Science A specifications. This course is primarily offered to allow students who do not have a Grade C in a Science subject to achieve this target. It is not a suitable preparation for AS level Biology, Chemistry or Physics but may be suitable for other courses at AS requiring a GCSE in Science. The course concentrates on ‘How Science Works’ and the coursework will involve obtaining practical data individually and then sitting a written exam using the data collected.

Please see the Course Details box on this page for links to downloadable subject information sheets.

Trips and Visits

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

  • A visit to Colchester Zoo to look at Biodiversity and Conservation as part of both the AS Biology and the IB Biology course.
  • Fieldwork is an essential part of any Biologist’s experience. In the AS Biology course there is a requirement for students to carry out fieldwork investigations towards the end of the summer term of the first year in preparation for progression into the A2 year of study.
  • The AS Applied Science course requires students to go on trips to various local places of scientific interest.
  • We have very good links with The University of Essex, and provide an opportunity for AS level Biology students to attend a revision conference 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 re-sit classes to support A2 students who are re-sitting AS units in the second year. 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.