There are a number of changes coming to Biology at Oxford High School from September 2016. These are detailed below.

In Year 9, girls study Biology as a separate science for the first time. The course provides a general introduction to the subject and introduces important skills and concepts that they will need throughout all their biological studies at OHS. These include microscopy, dissection, experimental design and enzyme reactions. From September 2016, girls will be starting the new Edexcel separate science iGCSE Biology course.

Girls in Year 10 will still be following the old Edexcel iGCSE Biology specification, but some will be studying it as a separate science, whilst others will choose to study it as part of the Double Award course.

Meanwhile, girls in Year 11 will be completing their final year of Biology as part of the Double Award iGCSE science qualification.

Although the structure of the course is changing, Biology remains Biology, and students can still expect to cover Heart and Circulation, The Nervous System, Immunology, and Genetics.At the end of whichever specification they’re on, they will not only gain their iGCSE qualification, they will also have enjoyed a challenging course that, should they choose to continue with Biology, provides ideal training for A-level.

Biology is a traditionally popular subject at A-level, with over 60 girls in Years 12 and 13 choosing to study it. We follow the OCR specification which, by September 2016, will have fully converted to the new OCR A course. Although the theoretical knowledge required is much greater than at iGCSE, it is also more satisfying and interesting, and we continue to place a strong emphasis on investigative  practical work. This includes using PCR and gel electrophoresis to amplify and analyse the girls’ own DNA, breeding fruit flies, and genetically transforming bacteria to glow green in UV light.

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