If the 20th century was the century of physics, the 21st century is becoming known as the century of biology. While combustion, electricity and nuclear power defined scientific advance in the last century, genetic technology, disease prevention and climate science will define this one. Biology is the study of life and living matter, from a molecular level to entire species and populations. Our A level course provides a diverse introduction to many fields of study, all of which are relevant to us as individuals.

Pupils follow the Edexcel (Salters Nuffield) course. In Year 12, pupils study topics such as fundamental molecules in Biology (including water, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates), the structure and function of the heart (building on the detail learnt at GCSE) and the lungs (with reference to cystic fibrosis, the most common genetic disease in the UK).

At the end of Year 12, pupils go on a residential ecology field trip to Cromer in Norfolk. Pupils learn about the interrelatedness of the living and non-living components in an ecosystem and go on to then learn about the effects of climate change on these ecosystems in Year 13.

Curriculum photos - sixth form science.jpg

Pupils in Year 13 also learn about forensic science (how do we estimate time of death? – not for the faint-hearted!), the immune system (how infectious diseases such as HIV and TB kill millions of people annually, and the defences our bodies have against pathogens), and the brain and behaviour (the structure of the brain and scanning techniques used to better understand its inner workings).

We aim to inspire our pupils to pursue careers in Biology. Many of our A level pupils have gone on to study related courses at university including Zoology, Pharmacology, Natural Sciences, Marine Biology, Medicine, Midwifery, Dentistry, and Veterinary Science.

There are a number of enrichment opportunities for students including visits to various university labs. In recent years these have included the Royal Veterinary College, UCL Zebrafish Lab and the UCL Dept of Molecular Biology. We have also welcomed speakers from UCL and John Moores University. As a successful biology department, we have established ongoing links with the Wellcome Collection, the Wellcome Genome Campus and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. These partnerships have enabled us to – for example - borrow industry-standard equipment, and to assist students with work experience placements.

Year 12 curriculum map | Year 13 curriculum map

Suggested reading for A level Biology


Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters – Matt Ridley

The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins

The Gene: An Intimate History – Siddhartha Mukherje

The Epigenetics Revolution – Nessa Carey

Medicine and Disease

The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancers – Siddhartha Mukherjee

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery – Henry Marsh

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses – Meredith Wadman

Brain and Nervous System

The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body – Frances Ashcroft

The Human Brain: A Guided Tour – Susan Greenfield

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat – Oliver Sacks


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari

Why Elephants Have Big Ears: Understanding Patterns of Life on Earth – Chris Lavers

Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll: The Science of Hedonism and the Hedonism of Science – Zoe Cormier


Why Geese Don't Get Obese (and We Do) - Eric Windmaier Scientists and Memoirs