Biology is best known as the study of life, but that does not just mean learning about cells and plants, molecules and physiology.
In Biology, we teach the principles that define every living thing, rules that connect everything in the universe. We believe that learning about life means learning about the world around you and delving into he past, the present and the future.From organ systems to ecology, biochemistry to evolution, in the Biology Department we guide and inspire our pupils to be curious, methodical and passionate about what they are doing.
Teaching of the AQA Biology GCSE begins in the First Year in order to allow sufficient time for the syllabus to be taught thoroughly with plenty of time for practical work.
During the First Year, pupils study cell organisation, structure and transport before moving on to infection and response, bioenergetics and homeostasis in the Lower Fifth before concluding with inheritance, variation, evolution and ecology in the Upper Fifth.
Specialist biologists teach both the GCSE Combined Science and separate triple Biology. Lessons combine whole class discussions and explanations with tasks done individually, in pairs and small groups. Biology lessons are taught in four spacious and well-equipped laboratories. The excellent resources and our full-time biology technician enable students to carry out many interesting and enjoyable practical tasks.
At A Level, students go on to investigate areas such as immunity and forensics, biodiversity, genes and the brain.
We also make excellent use of our School Zoo, ponds and fields during teaching to learn biological investigative skills and techniques to either inspire pupils to take the subject further or simply enjoy this life-affirming subject.
Physics is about the Cosmos around us – from the biggest scale such as the patterns in the arrangement of the galaxies to the behaviour of the smallest parts of sub-atomic particles.
There is nothing in our Universe which is not interesting to a group of Physicists somewhere. Thus, Physics is an enormously wide-ranging subject in its own right, unified by the action of the four forces underpinning the behaviour of matter. Describing and predicting the results of the phenomena set in place by these forces is also the basis of the various branches of Engineering.
At Bede’s we are passionate about inspiring the next generation of space scientists, particle physicists and mechanical engineers. We do this by celebrating achievement, encouraging debate and driving them to think about the really big ideas.
Bede’s Physics department staffing is gender balanced and consists of teachers with a wide range of experience. We believe that the study of Physics should extend well beyond the classroom and expose pupils to challenging ideas at the forefront of science. For that reason, our extra-curricular offer is of particular value to students; we take groups of students to CERN in Geneva, attend lecture series at Sussex University, provide a Cambridge masterclass as well as weekly support sessions.
At A level, pupils ask and attempt to answer fundamental questions about nature, such as what is matter and why we cannot travel faster than light. It also involves a practical element which enables pupils to get hands-on experience and develop sophisticated investigative skills. A level physics is then a subject which is foundational to many university courses and careers. The study of A level Physics will make an application form stronger, whether for work of any kind or any university course – even one not related.
Chemistry is all about provoking reactions. Even a simple word like “atom” conjures up hundreds of thoughts and images.
In Chemistry lessons, we give these ideas structure, help one idea interact with another and bond together chains of thought to help the world make sense.
Sometimes Chemistry is called the “central science”, because it not only involves Physics and Biology, but it also provides answers to may of the questions posed by other sciences.
Whether looking at what makes a nuclear explosion happen, why one thing poisons us and another provides nourishment or asking why some acids live happily in the human body while others are extremely dangerous to us, Chemistry is the subject where we experiment constantly to find answers to these questions – any many more besides.
Beyond the classroom, we enrich pupils’ learning through a range of extra-curricular options; in the younger years pupils will be exposed to some of the techniques used by forensics specialists in the Bede’s CSI Day. Those aspiring to a career in Medicine are supported through the Young Medics Week as well as an accompanied trip to the Cambridge Medicine Masterclass, and these students will also be provided with specialist coaching for medical interviews.
Pictured above is Lower Sixth pupil Lottie at a recent Twilight Session at the University of Southampton, at which our A Level chemists enjoyed a few hours of advanced science courtesy of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Our pupils worked under the supervision of PhD students to extract natural compound Trimyristin from nutmeg over the course of several experiments.
The Animal Management department was founded at Bede’s in 2011 when the first cohort of BTEC Level 3 students started the course.
We have moved from the Science Building into the bespoke Animal Management Centre and over time the site has evolved into the incredible School Zoo and Animal Management Unit that you can see today.
End of course evaluations show that Animal Management students enjoy the courses we deliver and do well.
This is no doubt that by ensuring that our students get both regular ‘hands on’ experience working in our own School Zoo as well as alongside our vocational partners which include Drusillas Park, Bristol Zoo, ZSL London Zoo, ABWAK, DEFRA and local farms and specialist pet shops and aquaria, our pupils benefit from a unique educational experience. We are also fortunate that our teaching staff are hugely experienced in the subject – both academically and vocationally.
But perhaps most importantly of all, everyone in the Animal Management department has an infectious enthusiasm for the subject – we love zoology, and that comes across in everything that we do, from activities sessions, school trips, practical lessons and lectures – we make sure Animal Management is fun whilst remaining academically rigorous.
The department currently offers the provision of two main strands:
Every pupil in the First Year at Bede’s gets to sample the delights of Animal Management as part of The Flourish Project carousel.
They will spend around 8 hours of lessons over four weeks looking at wildlife conservation, both in captivity and in the wild, the ethics of keeping animals in captivity, how to heath check their pets, and perhaps most enjoyably – take part in animal handling and feeding sessions.
Broadly equivalent to one GCE A Level, the BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal management is assessed by 66% coursework-based assignments and 33% external exam.
The course covers animal welfare and ethics, animal health and disease, animal behaviour, practical animal husbandry and work experience in the land-based sector.
We have been enormously successful in terms of student outcomes – with our 2019 cohort of students passing the Animal Welfare and Ethics exam with some of the highest marks in the country. 75% at Distinction level and 25% at Merit, but more importantly - with our students scoring between 25 - 40% higher on each question than their counterparts in other UK centres.
Historically our results have also been very good, with 50% of all students taking BTEC Level 3 Animal Management achieving a Distinction star, the equivalent to an A* at A Level, and 76% of students achieving at the equivalent of A*/A grade.
For those wishing to pursue a career in areas such as zoology, conservation or veterinary science, Animal Management provides the perfect pathways.