KS5 Biology

In KS5 A level Biology, we study the following

Year 12

  • Biological molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, enzymes, DNA, RNA, water ATP and inorganic ions.
  • Cell structure and division including eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells and their components, cell division, cell membranes and the exchange of substances across these membranes.
  • The immune system, including immunity and vaccination, antibodies and their use in medicine and viruses such as HIV.
  • Exchange and transport systems, including surface to volume ratios, gas exchange, the effects of human lung disease, digestion and absorption, hemoglobin, the circulatory system and the heart, cardiovascular disease and transport in plants.
  • DNA, RNA and protein synthesis, including genes and chromosomes, nucleic acids and the genetic code.
  • Diversity, classification and variation, including meiosis and genetic variation, mutations, genetic diversity and natural selection, classification of organisms, DNA technology and Biodiversity.
  • Populations in ecosystems, including ecosystems, variation in populations, succession and conservation.
  • Developing skills of application and analysis, also acquiring advanced investigative and practical skills through laboratory practical work (including 6 assessed practicals) and an Ecology based field course in Dunbar

Year 13

  • Photosynthesis and respiration, including ATP, the light dependent and independent reactions of photosynthesis, non-cyclic and cyclic phosphorylation, limiting factors of photosynthesis.
  • Energy transfer and nutrient cycles, including energy transfer in in ecosystems, farming practices and production and fertilizers and eutrophication.
  • Stimuli and response, including nervous communication, responses in animals and plants, receptors and the control of heart rate.
  • Nervous coordination, including neurones, synaptic transmission and muscle contraction.
  • Homeostasis, including the control of blood glucose, the kidneys, and the control of blood water potential.
  • Genetics, populations and evolution, including inheritance, linkage epistasis, the chi squared test, the Hardy-Weinberg principle, variation and selection, speciation and genetic drift.
  • Mutations and gene expression, including cancer, stem cells, transcription and translation and the epigenetic control of gene expression.
  • Genome projects and gene expression, including making and amplifying DNA fragments, using recombinant DNS technology, gene probes and their medical application, and genetic fingerprinting
  • Continuing to develop skills of application and analysis. We will also do statistical analysis and acquire more advanced investigative and practical skills through laboratory practical work (including 6 assessed practicals)


  • Learning will be continuously assessed and monitored through home learning and exam-style tests.
  • Feedback will be provided from these to enable students to develop their understanding and improve their exam technique.
  • Regular self and peer assessment will also take place to enhance their learning.


All of the external examinations (AQA) take place at the end of at the end of year 13. There are 3 papers in total, all of which are 2hrs

  • Paper 1 assesses the Year 12 content and is worth 35% of the total grade. It is a mixture of short, long and extended response questions.
  • Paper 2 assesses the Year 13 content and is worth 35% of the total marks. It is a mixture of short, long and comprehension questions.
  • Paper 3 assesses both Year 12 and Year 13 content, is worth 30% of the final grade and consist of a mixture of structured question, including practical techniques, critical analysis of experimental data and an essay.

Learning beyond the classroom

  • Regular and consistent consolidation of concepts and content covered in class using class notes, text books, appropriate websites etc..
  • Watching biology-related documentaries and TV programmes e.g. wildlife documentaries by David Attenborough, Horizon, Spring-Watch
  • Reading scientific magazines such as New Scientist and Scientific American
  • reading popular science books e.g. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, Bad Science by Ben Goldacre or Will We ever Speak Dolphin from New Scientist
  • Visiting Science museums and Nature reserves e.g. Newcastle Life Science Centre and RSBP Bempton Cliffs

Teachers of KS5 Biology

  • Miss K Walsh – Head of Science
  • Mr G Pentland – Teacher of Biology and Head of Sixth Form College and Assistant Headteacher
  • Miss A Stainthorpe – Teacher of Biology