On entering the Biology Department, there is a real sense of life as befits this branch of Science. The Department is very well equipped and housed within seven large and bright teaching laboratories.
The teachers have a real passion for Biology – this is communicated in all classes, whether it be in a more supported S2 environment or a more independent S6 AH investigation, students are gradually given more initiative and independence as they progress through the Senior School. Whilst we are always mindful of the need for good results in national examinations, we also aim to pass on our enthusiasm and encourage our pupils to be active and creative learners with inquisitive minds.
Each stage of a pupil’s time in Biology will offer a wide range of topics, from large scale ecology and study of the workings of the human body through to the microscopic level with cell and molecular biology.
The learning experience that a pupil will have in Biology starts with a fascinating and varied look at the diverse topics Biology has to offer. Our S2 course was produced in-house to allow us to use the Department’s exceptional resources as much as possible. It presents the learner with a range of topics which prepares them for further study in Biology and also provides a useful grounding for those who do not wish to continue with the subject.
In S3 and S4 the teaching plays to the strengths of each teacher and this allows them to focus their course on the particular needs of the learners. We currently offer National 5 Biology for classes in S3 and S4.
The senior years are offered courses that prepare them to sit Higher Biology, Higher Human Biology, Advanced Higher Biology or Standard/Higher Level IB Diploma Programme Biology. Again, the teaching in these senior courses is varied to suit the group of learners in the class as there are many opportunities for individual initiative and investigation.
The Department has placed much emphasis on keeping fully up-to-date, and most students experience a range of microbiological and molecular techniques within their learning. We have invested in appropriate resources, such as a polymerase chain reaction thermocycler and a range of gel electrophoresis units for analysis of both DNA and protein. At the same time we have not lost sight of the roots of our subject and have devised a programme of field study days that are appropriate to each course.