Biology is a high profile science in the media and the subject is a uniquely relevant and exciting area of study.
At St Paul’s School we aim to give pupils an appreciation of the diversity of the natural world and to inspire them to develop an intellectual curiosity into the structure and function of living organisms.
All pupils study biology as a separate science to IGCSE, with approximately a quarter of the Lower Eighth Form opting to continue at A Level. Our teaching emphasises a practical approach to scientific enquiry, with a very extensive repertoire of experimental work and dissection for all year groups. Lessons frequently draw on articles from scientific journals to bring the latest research findings into the classroom.
St Paul’s was one of the first independent schools to adopt the more rigorous and demanding Edexcel IGCSE. The course provides an exciting, challenging and detailed introduction to a wide range of biological topics from cells and molecules, human and plant physiology and ecology and evolution. The course is excellent preparation for A Level, allowing us much greater scope to explore topics in depth during the Eighth Form.
Pupils who study Biology at A Level follow the Cambridge International A Level course. This course provides in-depth coverage of biochemistry, cell biology, animal and plant transport systems, and the biology of disease and the immune system in the Lower Eighth (Year 12). In the Summer Term, pupils carry out a long-term biotechnology practical, introducing them to a range of cutting edge molecular biology techniques. In the Upper Eighth (Year 13), the principles learnt in the Lower Eighth are applied to bioenergetics, the nervous system, genetics and biodiversity and evolution.
The department runs societies and trips across all year groups for pupils with an interest in biology and medicine. BioMed Soc meets weekly during Monday lunchtimes to hear invited speakers from all branches of medicine and medical research. Pask Soc, the Eighth Form Biology Projects club gives pupils the chance to gain experience of modern laboratory techniques and some pupils have carried out further independent research projects into synthetic biology through the International iGEM competition. Junior Pask Soc allows younger pupils to study whole organism biology and to start to link it to molecular DNA analyses. Many take part in competitions run by the Society of Biology: Fifth Form pupils can enter the Biology Challenge competition, and the Eighth Form enter the British Biology Olympiad competitions. St Paul’s regularly tops the medal table in the Biology Olympiad, and in recent years pupils from St Paul’s have won places in the UK team to compete in the International Biology Olympiad.