Biology at Sir Thomas Rich's

Biology is the study of life - your future

Biology is the study of life and living processes. Biology is rewarding, challenging, interesting and above all relevant. Your knowledge of Biology may be used to understand and perhaps help solve many of today’s problems such as illness, food production, conservation and the control of pollution.

You will gain an awareness of some contemporary issues including genetic engineering, biotechnology organ transplantation and fertility control. Alongside the theory you will develop practical, analysis and evaluation skills. In Biology at STRS we aim to develop a lifelong interest in scientifically important matters.


Head of Department:
Department Teaching Staff:

Key Stage 3 - Years 8 & 9

Teaching Arrangements: Years 8-9 are taught for two periods per week as a double lesson.
Homework Guidance: Students are set a homework per week. Tasks will vary including experiment write ups, a research task, questions, poster or revision.
Assessment Arrangements: Written topic tests are given as well an end of year examination.
Topics Covered:
Year 8
  • Microbes and Disease
  • Food and Diet
  • Plants and Photosynthesis
  • Pollution and Sustainability
  • Animal Behaviour
Year 9
  • Human Biology up to GCSE level
  • Digestion
  • Respiration and Breathing
  • Blood and Circulation

Teaching Arrangements: One double and one single lesson per week in Year 10, with an additional single lesson per week in Year 11.
Homework Guidance: Homework will include a range of tasks including past paper style questions, experiment write ups and research tasks. Students will be expected to access SharePoint for many of these tasks.
Assessment Arrangements: Students are expected to complete 12 required practicals but their GCSE grade is based on terminal examinations. A range of question types will be used, including multiple choice, short answer and those that require extended responses.
Exam Specification: AQA GCSE Biology (8461) Topics Covered:
Year 10
  • Cells
  • Cell division
  • Metabolism and transport in cells
  • Plant tissues and organs
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant disease
  • Health Issues
  • Ecology
Year 11
  • Biodiversity and Human interactions with ecosystems
  • The Nervous System
  • Homeostasis
  • Excretion
  • Plant Hormones
  • Reproduction
  • DNA and Inheritance
  • Variation and Evolution
  • Genetic Engineering and Cloning
Entry Requirements: A GCSE Grade 7 in Biology or double award Combined Science is required to study this course.
Teaching Arrangements: Students have seven periods a week usually split between two different teachers.
Homework Guidance: Students are set past paper and practice questions, practical write ups and some research tasks. They are also expected to regularly review the work covered in lessons and revise for tests.
Assessment Arrangements: Students will have to carry out 12 different types of practical activity for the practical endorsement part of their A level. Their grade is assessed through three terminal examinations. A range of question types will be used, including multiple choice, short answer and those that require extended responses.
Exam Specification: OCR Biology A H420 Topics Covered:
Year 12
  • Biological Molecules
  • Cells
  • Animal & Plant Transport
  • Exchange Systems
  • Enzymes
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Classification and Evolution
  • Biodiversity
  • Disease
  • Conservation and Sustainability
Year 13
  • Ecosystems and Populations
  • Nerves and Hormones
  • Communication and Homeostasis
  • Excretion
  • Plant and Animal Responses
  • Photosynthesis
  • Respiration
  • Cellular Control
  • Patterns of Inheritance
  • Biotechnology and Manipulating Genomes

Students are expected to attend a four day residential field course in Year 13 to develop their Ecology practical skills and knowledge.

University courses this subject may be required for or lead onto:
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Physiotherapy
  • Veterinary Studies
  • Pharmacology
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • Biochemistry
  • Sports Science
  • Microbiology
  • Forensics
Careers that Biology may lead onto:
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Physiotherapy
  • Veterinary Studies
  • Pharmacology
  • Animal welfare
  • Conservation
  • Agriculture
  • Teaching
  • Nursing
  • Radiography
  • Ophthalmology
  • Forensics
  • Research Scientist

"I have enjoyed Biology at Tommies because the teachers make the lessons fun and interesting. Also you are given the help that you need to keep your work organised and it really helps when you are revising."
-- Praseed
"I enjoy Biology because of the variety it brings: from the reactions that happen inside cells to the interactions between organisms in ecosystems. Everyone will find something that fascinates them. The range of teaching methods used, including practical work and field studies, ensures that the subject is really brought to life."
-- Matthew
"Biology is an engaging and exciting subject, covering a wide range of topics from DNA replication to biodiversity. It is universally useful. Biology at STRS is especially good due to excellent teaching and a wide variety of trips."
-- Sophie

To develop interest in Biology we would recommend visiting zoos, wildlife parks, botanical gardens, natural history museums and science museums.

Associated Clubs / Societies / Trips:
  • Biology support club on Tuesday lunchtimes
  • Year 8 trip to Bristol Zoo to study Animal Behaviour
  • Year 10 trip to Slimbridge WWT to develop Ecology practical skills
  • Year 12 trip to Oxford Natural History Museum to study Evolution and Classification
  • Year 13 Residential field course developing Ecology skills and knowledge