Life is an extraordinary phenomenon. How is it that this green planet we live on, with its incredible range of organisms, was little more than an accumulated mixture of chemicals several million years ago? How amazing that where there were once only the very simplest organisms, there is now such biodiversity with a fabulous variety of extremely complex living things, each species perfectly adapted to its environment. Most remarkable of all is the fact that we humans, Homo Sapiens, have such a big brain, giving us the ability to reason, innovate, learn, control and understand our environment, yet we still age, succumb to disease and die. This is what makes biology so exciting.
Studying biology is an excellent prelude to studying medical or veterinary sciences, but it also means you will be more knowledgeable about the many health issues we face and better able to understand and make informed decisions about medical procedures so it is equally well suited to study by an arts student. It will also ensure you understand the key environmental issues of the 21st century and the long-term effects of climate change on ecosystems, crop production and human populations.
Biology is fascinating because it means you discover how life works, whether at the molecular, cellular, organism or population level. It includes elements of both physics and chemistry but it is also easy to apply to concrete everyday-life examples. It is a highly visual science, but you will also develop the ability to think logically and develop your communication skills in a scientific context. We discuss some of the most interesting new areas of biology, particularly those involving genetic manipulation and assisted reproduction. Decisions made by governments and individuals involve using ethics as a tool to make decisions and so you will learn to evaluate and weigh up opposing arguments as you consider these issues.
We make sure we have a very wide range of activities in our lessons so that there is something for everybody and we complement these with field trips and study visits. The A level biologists have extra lectures from outside speakers, both in and out of school, and they also have the opportunity to compete in the Biology Olympiad. Girls lower down the school also have the opportunity to enter competitions such as the Biology Challenge.
As a department, we love to come up with ideas and try them out, so we are always looking for new ways to make biology an exciting and rewarding subject to study.