Aristotle stated, “By ‘life’ we mean a thing that can nourish itself and grow...” and this is an apt description of how the Bede’s Biology Department aims to encourage pupils to learn this subject.
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 yourself, decoding the world around you and delving into the past, the present and the future.
At A Level, we teach the Edexcel Salters Nuffield A Biology A Level specification, which is renowned for being excellent preparation for university study. The linear two-year course provides eight topics: Lifestyle, Health and Risk, Genes and Health, The Voice of the Genome, Biodiversity and Natural Resources, On the Wild Side, Infection, Immunity and Forensics, Run for Your Life and Grey Matter.
Key areas of practical study include microscopy, dissection, qualitative testing, microbiology, and fieldwork – studied both in our own beautiful grounds but also through visits to Wakehurst Place and local and national wildlife centres.
Pupils are taught in small groups of 10-12, led by a team of two dedicated teachers for each group. Lessons combine whole class discussions and explanations combined with task undertaken individually or small groups.
Across the A Level programme, there is the requirement to complete 18 core practicals, and then at the end of the course pupils sit three two hour theory papers.
Further enrichment opportunities are available with Sixth Form students participating in the Intermediate and British Biology Olympiad, an online competition run by the Society of Biology. Other competitions are run in collaboration with other departments; for example, biology-related essay writing or photography. Our very own biology conference also takes place during National Biology Week, which allows students to consider topical themes in depth.
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 A level we teach the AQA specification which covers topics such as Newtonian physics and modern Particle Physics including the ideas of Einstein and Planck.
We believe that the study of Physics should extend well beyond the classroom, exposing pupils to challenging ideas at the forefront of science. As such, we regularly take groups of A Level Physics pupils to lectures at the University of Sussex and have visited the LHC at CERN and the JET fusion research station near Oxford.
Bede’s is also working with astronomers from the UK Astronomy Technology Centre to identify potential targets for the James Webb Space Telescope with a launch scheduled for 2021.
Over the last three years Bede’s physicists have also represented the UK at NASA as part of the UK Space Design Challenge (pictured above are Jan, Finn and Tim who went to NASA in July 2019). Our pupils also compete in the Physics Olympiad Challenge every year.
The study of Physics can lead to a range of career options including as a clinical scientist, geophysicist, meteorologist, research scientist as well as a career in the area of aerospace and defence, renewable energy, medicine or nanotechnology.
Chemistry is all about provoking reactions.
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.
At A Level we follow the AQA specification, and students study organic chemistry, which is the study of carbon based compounds, inorganic chemistry which is the study of metals and physical chemistry which relates to the mechanics of reactions.
Beyond the core curriculum, the Chemistry Department is passionate about providing wider support and enrichment including weekly Chemistry support sessions, a range of support for aspiring medics as well as a Research Chemistry activity which runs as part of the Co-Curricular Programme.
Studying Chemistry can open up many career options including medicine, vetinerary science as well as careers in the energy, nuclear and food industries but more broadly, the analytical skills gained as a result of studying Chemistry will be respected in most professional spheres.
The Animal Management Department was founded in 2011 and has since moved to its own bespoke centre which has evolved over time, with the most recent extension in 2018.
Our passionate teaching team ensure that students receive both “hands on” experience working within the zoo and alongside vocational partners including Drusillas Park, Bristol Zoo, London Zoo, ABWAK and DEFRA as we as expert academic teaching.
The Animal Management Level 3 Extended Diploma in BTEC is broadly equivalent to an A level and is assess by coursework (66%) and external examination (33%).
Our students have historically achieved very successful outcomes with our 2019 cohort passing the Animal Welfare and Ethics exam with some of the highest marks in the country.
75% achieved Distinctions and 25% Merits and scored between 25% - 40% higher marks on questions than their counterparts in other UK centres demonstrating the value added by the expert teachers as well as the benefit of our facility.
The course overs topics including animal welfare and ethics, health and disease, animal behaviour, practical animal husbandry and work experience in the land-based sector.