Studying Biology at The Senior School involves exploring human and plant Biology, learning the theory and conducting practical Science. 

KS4 (Years 10 and 11): IGCSE

Year 10 and 11 students follow the Pearson Edexcel IGCSE (9-1) Biology (4Bi1) course.  The main areas of assessment are the nature and variety of living organisms, structure and functions in living organisms, reproduction and inheritance, ecology and the environment, and the use of Biological resources. 

What will I learn?

This is a 2-year course of study in the Science of How/Why Things Work in the world around us.  It is a single-tier qualification that is suitable both for students for whom it is a final Science qualification and for those students who require a sound foundation for further study of Physics at A-level.  

The aims of the course are  

  • To impart a systematic body of scientific knowledge and the skills needed to apply this in new and changing situations in many domestic, industrial and environmental contexts.  

  • To foster an appreciation of the practical nature of Physics and develop experimental and investigative skills based on correct and safe laboratory techniques.  

  • To develop an appreciation of the importance of accurate experimental work in scientific methods and reporting.  

  • To formulate hypotheses and design experiments to test them.  

  • To evaluate, in terms of scientific knowledge and understanding, the benefits and drawbacks (including social, environmental and economic) of scientific and technological developments.  

Curriculum Content

The Biology course aims and objectives are to enable students to:

  • learn about unifying patterns and themes in Biology and use them in new and changing situations
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of biological facts, terminology, concepts, principles and practical techniques
  • apply the principles and concepts of Biology, including those related to the applications of Biology, to different contexts
  • evaluate Biological information, making judgements on the basis of this information
  • appreciate the practical nature of Biology, developing experimental and investigative skills based on correct and safe laboratory techniques
  • analyse, interpret and evaluate data and experimental methods, drawing conclusions that are consistent with evidence from experimental activities and suggesting possible improvements and further investigations
  • recognise the importance of accurate experimental work and reporting scientific methods in Biology
  • select, organise and present relevant information clearly and logically using appropriate vocabulary, definitions and conventions
  • develop a logical approach to problem solving in a wider context
  • select and apply appropriate areas of mathematics relevant to Biology as set out under each topic
  • prepare for more advanced courses in Biology and for other courses that require knowledge of Biology.

It is examined through two written papers, one of 2 hours and the other of 1 hour 15 minutes. 

What sort of homework will I be set?

You will be set a variety of homework tasks including practice questions, lab reports, past paper questions and textbook exercises. 

Sixth Form: AS and A level

Edexcel Biology International AS and A level: XBi11/ YBi/11

Curriculum Content

The course covers the major topics in biology, including biological molecules, diet, transport, health, cells, development, biodiversity, conservation, energy, the environment, microbiology, immunity, respiration, the internal environment, coordination and gene technology. 


Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of biology by applying the concepts that they study to a range of different problems, set in a variety of contexts. Students will need to apply mathematical skills to the problems. Students will also develop their practical skills. This course includes at least 18 core practical activities. 

How is the course assessed?  

At the end of Year 12 you will take 3 written papers, two of 1 hour 30 minutes and one of 1 hour 20 minutes. This gives you an IAS in Biology. 

At the end of Year 13 you will take a further three written papers, two of 1 hour 45 minutes and the third of 1 hour 20 minutes to get an IAL in Biology. 


What are the GCSE requirements for the course?

To study Biology at A level you will need the following:

  • IGCSE Biology with a grade of 6; preferably Grade 8 or 9 at IGCSE. Students entering with a 6 may find the course challenging.  
  • IGCSE Chemistry is strongly recommended but not required (those without a background in Chemistry may struggle with the Biochemistry component of the course)  

  • IGCSE Maths grade 6 or above  

Future Career Choices

Many careers involving Science for example: Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Radiology, Biology, Physical Education, Genetics, Forensic Science, Agronomics/Agriculture, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Sports Science, Sports Medicine, Kinesiology, Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Research, Education, Food Science, and many more.