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Devonport High School for Girls

Name of Head of Department

Mr D Blackford BSc (Hons), PGCE

Introduction to the department

Biology is the scientific study of living organisms and life processes from molecules, cells and individual organisms to populations and whole ecosystems comprising of animals and plants.

The Biology department at Devonport High School for Girls delivers a curriculum that is exciting, stimulating and challenging across all key stages. At KS3 the students are taught a 2 year course that forms the foundations for KS4 AQA GCSE Biology that starts in year 9. For those who choose science rather than separate sciences, the department also offers core and Additional Biology at GCSE. Large numbers of students choose to continue their study of the subject to A level and beyond. Students regularly progress to a variety of challenging degree courses and careers, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, biochemistry and natural sciences, at the Universities of their choice, including Oxford, Cambridge and other Russell Group institutions

Key stage 3  (Year 7 and 8) 

Years 7 and 8 are divided into four modules each. In year 7, ‘cells’, ‘reproduction’, ‘environment’ and ‘variation’ are taught. In year 8, it is ‘digestion’, ‘plants and photosynthesis’, ‘respiration’ and ‘muscles and movement’.

Key stage 4  (Year 9, 10 and 11) 

AQA GCSE Biology is delivered.

Separate science students follow all of units 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Practical skills are assessed throughout the course and examined as part of the final examination series.

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the AQA website GCSE Biology Specification

Combined science

Combined science students follow selected elements of units 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Practical skills are assessed throughout the course and examined as part of the final examination series.

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the AQA website GCSE Combined  Science: Trilogy Specification

Extra-curricular activities 

The department organises regular enrichment activities for students. The sixth form attend a residential field trip to Slapton each year  and the leading AS Biologists compete in the Biology Olympiad each Spring. There is also a sixth form visit to the University of Plymouth EM suite

The department also takes students to the Peninsula medical school as part of the 'Men in White' activity, and takes part in the year 10 Biology Challenge.

There is always a laboratory open at lunchtimes and students are encouraged to drop in to seek extra help or catch up with missed work.