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The two well equipped laboratories together with the extensive school grounds of 24 acres make biology a stimulating subject for all pupils at St. John’s school. Regular visits to The Royal Institution, The London Planetarium, The Science Museum, The Natural History Museum and The London Zoo are also an important part of our science education at St. John’s School.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 & 9)

In the three years leading up to the Key Stage 3 examinations, pupils follow the Cambridge ‘Spectrum’ scheme for science, which was published in 2002 and which has proved immensely popular in many schools across Great Britain and abroad. A wide range of practical work is used within the course and this is further supported by a range of video and ICT programmes.

he Biology department strongly encourages the use of direct observation of living organisms wherever possible. Pupils learn to handle a wide range of scientific apparatus and chemicals with competence and above all they are expected to demonstrate a high regard for living organisms and to foster a great deal of respect for the environment and conservation policies.

G.C.S.E. Biology

Taking Biology at G.C.S.E. gives pupils an opportunity for an in-depth study of many of the topics encountered at Key Stage 3. Human issues surrounding health, lifestyle and the environment continue to occupy a prominent place in the curriculum, but also included are topics such as genetic engineering, cloning, G.M. food etc. Coursework is a necessity at this level and will always be based on an extended laboratory investigation. By this stage, pupils will be expected to have a thorough working knowledge of ‘the scientific method’ in conducting experiments and writing reports.

G.C.E. Advanced Level

At Advanced Level Biology, pupils come face to face with the realisation that living organisms are extremely complex chemical machines, and ‘life’ is a strange blend of physics and chemistry. Many of the topics at advanced level take us to the very edge of current biological research. It is not only an insight into the complex chemistry of life, which has been slowly unravelled by scientists over the last hundred years, it also awakens us to just how much we do not yet know about life. There is plenty of scope for healthy VIth Form discussion and debate in Advanced Level Biology.

Three examination papers are taken at the end of the first year, making up the AS Award. These are:-

Foundation Biology – focussing mostly of Cell Biology and Biochemistry.

  • Transport – focussing on Mammalian Blood and Transport in Plants.
  • Health – focussing on a range of issues pertaining to Human Health.

At A2 students will take a further three papers:-

  • Central Concepts – covering a range of topics in Plant and Animal Physiology.
  • Mammalian Physiology & Behaviour.
  • Unifying Concepts – Questions in this paper can cover any topic in both the AS and A2 Scheme and tend to focus on scientific investigation and analysis.

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