Biology

In the biology department we aim to stimulate and sustain pupils’ interest in and enjoyment of the subject by making the work we do relevant to their everyday lives, wherever possible, so that they gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. A wide variety of teaching methods are used, ranging from practical investigations to lectures from outside speakers; from internet research to teacher demonstrations.

The department is housed in modern, purpose-designed laboratories and is extremely well equipped with an impressive range of equipment for practical activities including microscopy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology.

Appropriate courses are provided, for both those who will end their study of biology at either IGCSE, AS or A level, and also those who will continue their studies in biological sciences, medicine, veterinary science and many other related subjects.

Year 9 and IGCSE

Years 9, 10 and 11

IGCSEs were introduced at HMSG in January 2010. They are highly respected qualifications, recognised worldwide and by UCAS, and provide an excellent grasp of science at this level and will also provide a better platform for the study of the sciences at ‘A’ level.

At the end of Year 9 pupils choose between taking three separate science IGCSEs, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, (‘Triple Award’), and  IGCSE Double Award Science.

In both schemes there is no coursework and the examinations take place at the end of Year 11.

Edexcel Biology IGCSE: details of the specifications and a ‘Guide for Students and Parents’ can be found at: http://www.edexcel.org.uk/

AS and A Level

The A level biology course at  HMSG  is Edexcel Biology, following the “context-based” Salters-Nuffield approach.  This well established approach to the study of biology at A level biology, uses accessible contexts to provide the basis for in-depth study of the underlying biological principles. An outline of the specification is given below, and further details can be obtained from Edexcel’s website http://www.edexcel.org.uk/ and the dedicated website provided by The Nuffield Foundation & Salter’s Institute in conjunction with The University of York http://www.advancedbiology.org/. As at IGCSE, a wide range of learning activities including planning and carrying out practical work, engaging with scientific literature and news articles, thinking skills and problem solving continue to be integral parts of the study of biology in the Sixth form at HMSG.

There are additional sessions and online support for those girls wishing to pursue a career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary or biomedical science where a BMAT or UKCAT admission test is required.

Co-Curricular

Activity

When?

Age group

Harris Scientific Society

Evenings

Year 12 + 13

Monmouth Science Initiative

Wednesday p.m.

Year 12 + 13

Engineering Education Scheme Wales

Lunchtimes and after school

Year 12

STEM Club

After school

Y 9-13

Monmouth Astronomical Society

First Tues evening of the month

All ages

British Physics Olympiad and Physics Challenge Competitions

Michaelmas Term

March

Years 11-13

British Chemistry Olympiad and Cambridge Chemistry Challenge

Michaelmas Term

Summer Term

Years 11-13

Biology Challenge Competition

March

Years 9-10

British Biology Olympiad

January, March

Y13

National Science and Engineering Competition 

Lunchtimes and after school

All ages

Oxbridge and Russell group Biological & medical sciences discussion group

lunchtimes

Y11-12+13

Oxbridge Physics and Engineering

Lunchtimes after school

Y13

Astronomy Club

Lunchtime

All ages

Science Clubs

Lunchtime

Years 7 + 8-9

Faraday IET Competition

Lent term

Year 8

Chemistry Research Club

Sixth form Research Club

After school

Year 10-11

Year 12-13