The King's (The Cathedral) School




Biology is at the forefront of many developments in the 21st Century. Sustainability, bioengineering, medical advances, agriculture and conservation are just a few areas where a secure knowledge of Biology is vital. In order to make sense of the changing world around us and to contribute to improving the lives of human populations around the world, whilst protecting other species, the study of Biology is essential. Students are enabled to:

  • Recognise the impact of Biology on everyday life;
  • Take informed decisions about issues that involve Biology;
  • Develop Scientific skills.

The science team at King’s aims to build on student’s natural curiosity for the world around them whilst working to equip them with important knowledge and skills needed to progress their studies, with a broad and ambitious curriculum. The team utilises its strong subject knowledge and experiences to enhance learning and by bringing real world careers and situations into the classroom, supporting the students to become potential future scientists of the 21st Century in further education and careers.

We aim to enable students to become confident, resilient scientists who develop a love of learning science and are able to apply scientific knowledge and understanding to both familiar and unfamiliar contexts in the world. They learn how to understand how science fits into society and how to make a positive contribution to their local and wider community. They learn to critically evaluate and refine methodologies, and judge the validity of scientific conclusions that are presented to them in the media as well as critically analysing qualitative and quantitative data to draw their own logical, well-evidenced conclusions.


Our Science programme is designed as a spiral curriculum with each year adding another layer of scientific understanding and knowledge which builds on previous work with concepts being interwoven throughout the Year 7-13 course. Students have the opportunity to revisit and revise core concepts throughout the course and lessons are planned to include activities where knowledge and skills are practised, scaffolded and modelled, allowing students the time and space to embed content.

The Year 7 and 8 programme is taught as a combined approach, and develops students’ specialist scientific language and vocabulary whilst allowing them to develop their confidence in the use of both mathematics skills and scientific practices. We provide a challenging curriculum which goes beyond that of the national curriculum for KS3 Science. This not only equips pupils with the knowledge and skills to progress into Year 9 (when they receive teaching separated into the three sciences), but also with the skills and knowledge to understand the world around them. The schemes of learning are designed to be as investigation-based as possible to support curiosity, engagement and knowledge acquisition. Lessons are taught principally as rotating Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics, to ensure students are aware of these three disciplines, but wherever possible links are made between the three to ensure students gain a strong understanding of the interconnectivity of Science.

During Year 9 students are introduced to GCSE-style content, revisiting and building on the previous year’s work with the aim of supporting the transition into GCSEs. The programme covers parts of the National curriculum that overlap with less challenging aspects of the GCSE Combined Science course and Key Stage 3, supporting the transition to Year 10. Lessons are taught separated into Biology, Chemistry and Physics (3 periods of each per fortnight).

Students are guided into the AQA Triple Science route of GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics or AQA Combined Science: Trilogy.  The Combined Science Trilogy course allows students to gain a sound core knowledge of all three Sciences. The course develops practical skills through both required and other practicals, which are common with the Triple GSCE, as well as providing the opportunity for students to demonstrate their mathematical skills. Students taking this route will have a sufficient background to progress to A-Level Sciences should their grades meet entry level requirements.

The Triple Science route also provides a solid foundation for studying A-Level Science subjects.  Subject knowledge is enhanced and developed through the additional concepts studied within this course. Key practicals are embedded throughout so students can develop their investigative skills, alongside using specialist equipment to explore a range of variables and contexts. 

For both routes, the sequencing of the courses taught are arranged so that students revisit golden threads of the subject, building on them each year with new concepts and supporting connections between ideas.

The A-Level Biology course covers aspects of human and plant biology whilst also encompassing environmental topics such as biodiversity and ecosystems, preparing our students for a multitude of careers and further study. The skills and content acquired at GCSE are revisited and expanded on. Maths skills are developed allowing students to analyse and present their work in a meaningful way. The first two topics delivered in Year 12 form the foundation of the course (cells and biological molecules) and links can be made back to these topics throughout. Topics then continue to be taught in considered blocks of learning e.g. the biochemistry of photosynthesis and respiration being taught alongside each other or communication (both hormonal and nervous) being delivered at similar times.

Students are assessed both formatively and summatively throughout Key Stages 3 to 5.  This is undertaken through a range of methods including questioning, practical investigative assignments, homework and regular end of topic assessments, as well as exams at the end of each academic year.

Help is available for students outside of lessons from all teachers.  Science Prefects work as mentors in the department running help clubs and volunteering their time in lessons too. The department also places a high value on providing a range of extra-curricular opportunities for our students to enrich and extend their science education. These include:


Target Year Group

Astronomy Club


Science Club




Faraday Challenge


Physics Senior Challenge

12 & 13

BAAO Junior Astro Challenge

10 & 11

Chemistry Cambridge competition


Chemistry Olympiad


Biology Olympiad


Medical Society

12 & 13


GCSE Combined Science

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GCSE Biology

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Biology A-Level

A-Level Results A*-B %

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A large number of students leave us each year to continue their studies in subjects connected to Biology. Eighteen students took up places at medical school in 2022 and there is a thriving medical society in the department run by students.


The department is supported by a well-qualified technician and is well resourced so that many lessons have a practical component. At KS5 students are able to develop their Biotechnology skills through the use of bacterial transformation, PCR and gel electrophoresis.

Animal and organ dissections are used to demonstrate key parts of anatomy but are not a compulsory part of the course.

Regular Events

The Biology department runs events during National Science and Engineering Week to go beyond the curriculum and enhance students’ experiences.

KS5 students take part in the Biology Olympiad each year.

Department Staff

Miss Faye Chantrell (FEC): Head of Biology Department
Ms Julie Robinson (JER): Teacher of Biology
Mr Chris Dunn (CND): Teacher of Biology and Sixth Form Deputy
Mrs Laura Newbold (LN): Teacher of Biology & Chemistry
Mr Duncan Rhodes (DR): Teacher of Biology and Deputy Headteacher (Academic)
Ms Georgina Newell (GN): Biology Technician