GLF Schools

GLF Schools

GLF Schools was founded in 2012 in order to enable the federation of Glyn School (an academy in 2011) and Danetree Junior School. Together, we began our journey to become a MAT of more than 1000 talented staff working with over 10,000 children in 40 schools across 5 regions in southern England.

We aim to develop our Biologists as young people that can become proactive, independent and resilient scientists. As a knowledge engaged curriculum, we believe that knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills; both are entwined. We are committed to providing a stimulating, engaging and intellectually challenging learning environment to enable all our students to develop scientific consciousness, to foster a spirit of scientific enquiry, enthuse students and create a sense of awe and wonder about the world which we inhabit. 

Head of Science Miss S Caverhill S.Caverhill@glynschool.org 
Head of Biology Ms K Bryan K.Bryan@glynschool.org

Why study this subject?

Biology is the study of life and living organisms.  It looks at the world from a very small sub-microscopic level up to a global scale.  Biology investigates the ways in which organisms function to stay alive and how they interact with each other and the environment around them. 

Biology is a living subject and there are always new discoveries and developments being made especially in the areas of health and the environment.  Even as you read this there are thousands of chemical reactions taking place in your body which are keeping you alive. Why not study Biology and find out a bit more about them?

Year 9 Science sequence of lessons

Half term 1 and 2

This term at the start of Year 9 is a great opportunity to ensure that the basics of cell structure and studying cells using microscopes is embedded before moving on to more complex cell functions. Students are taught the differences between light and electron microscopes and can compare the magnification and resolving power of different microscopes. Students are also introduced to Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells and able to give features that are common between these cells and explain the differences that exist. Students are then introduced to chromosomes and how they behave when a cell is dividing for growth, repair and replacement. We look at cell differentiation and how stem cells can be used for treatment of disorders. After looking closely and cell structure, we move on to how transport of substances occurs across the plasma membrane and the processes of diffusion, osmosis and active transport.

Half term 3 and 4

In the second term, we move on the look at how large multicellular living organisms are organised and structured with a particular focus of the digestive and circulatory system of humans. We look closely at how lifestyle choices can have an impact on Coronary heart disease and the relationship between diet, exercise and stress and health. Students are taught about Cancer and how tumours form and the factors that can influence the uncontrollable cell growth that leads to these malignant or benign tumours. After looking at animals, we move on to study the organisation of large multicellular plants and apply the levels of organisation to a plant system and study how the systems link together to make the organism successful at carrying out all life processes.

Half term 5 and 6

We use this time to start an introduction to Ecology, the good weather in the spring makes being outdoors and having a thriving ecosystem to look at within the school grounds, allows students to perfect their techniques to sample the ecosystem. Students are able to look at interactions between biotic factors and also how the abiotic affect the community of organisms. We also use this time to ensure that there is an opportunity for revisiting some of the key concepts to ensure that all students have a good grounding before moving on to Year 10 GCSE content.

Year 10 Science sequence of lessons

Half Term 1 - Infection

Students now have an understanding of the systems within the human body and within plants and are able to look in greater detail at how these systems may be affected by infection. Using their knowledge of cells from microscopy unit and interleaving their subject knowledge to look at the structure of viruses and bacteria.

Half term 2 - Infection and Bioenergetics

Now students have the detailed subject knowledge of the systems to allow organisms to function they can look in greater depth at the process which support the life of these organisms. 

Interleaving from unit 1 on cells and microscopy and unit 2 on organisation. Now students are looking at Photosynthesis and respiration and metabolism.

Half Term 3 - Bioenergetics

Now students have the detailed subject knowledge of the systems to allow organisms to function they can look in greater depth at the process which support the life of these organisms. 

Interleaving from unit 1 on cells and microscopy and unit 2 on organisation. Now students are looking at Photosynthesis and respiration and metabolism.

Half Term 4 - Homeostasis

Students are able to develop their understanding and build on their knowledge of the systems within the body and look at more complex systems like the nervous system and the endocrine system.

Students need to use their prior knowledge and to learn how these systems interact to maintain normal body functions.

Half Term 5 - Homeostasis

Students are able to develop their understanding and build on their knowledge of the systems within the body and look at more complex systems like the nervous system and the endocrine system.

Students need to use their prior knowledge and to learn how these systems interact to maintain normal body functions.

Half Term 6 - Revision and PPE Evaluation

Students revise and pull together all their subject knowledge so far to apply it to exam questions and improve their exam technique looking at command words, markschemes and examiner reports.

 

Year 11 Combined Science sequence of lessons

Half Term 1 and 2 – Inheritance, Variation and Evolution

Students now have an understanding of the systems within the human body and within plants and are able to look in greater detail at how these systems may be affected by infection. Using their knowledge of cells from microscopy, we know dive deeper in to understanding the units of inheritance, where we find our genetic material and how these genetic characteristics can be passed on to offspring for the continuation of the species. We also look at how species can change over time and how Charles Darwin developed his theory of Evolution by natural selection. We discuss how variation is caused both by our genetics and the influence of the environment and how variation by mutation is the driving force of evolution.

Half Term 3 and 4 - Ecology

Students are able to develop their understanding of ecological systems and build on their knowledge of the chemical processes of Photosynthesis and respiration to describe how atoms and nutrients are recycled in Ecosystems. Students are able to develop plans for sampling their local environment using ecological sampling techniques, carry out their plans to measure the distribution and abundance of organisms in their habitat. Students are taught to have an understanding and appreciation for the need to preserve Biodiversity and ho human activities impact on the Biodiversity of different ecosystems.

Half Term 5 and 6 – Revisiting prior topics, revision and Exam skills

As we arrive at the end of our journey into understanding the biological world and process that allow organisms to survive, we revisit some of the key concepts that students need to have a secure understanding of. We ensure that the scientific methods used to carry out investigations are well understood and students are able to interpret data related to experimental evidence. Students are able to present data skilfully in tables and graphs,  draw conclusions and discuss limitations of investigations.

Students are well prepared for their examinations, they have a good understanding of how to approach the different commands given within an examination context and are able to express themselves in the extended writing style of questioning.

 

Year 11 Triple Science sequence of lessons

Half Term 1 and 2 – Inheritance, Variation and Evolution

Students now have an understanding of the systems within the human body and within plants and are able to look in greater detail at how these systems may be affected by infection. Using their knowledge of cells from microscopy, we know dive deeper in to understanding the units of inheritance, where we find our genetic material and how these genetic characteristics can be passed on to offspring for the continuation of the species. We also look at how species can change over time and how Charles Darwin developed his theory of Evolution by natural selection. We discuss how variation is caused both by our genetics and the influence of the environment and how variation by mutation is the driving force of evolution.

Half Term 3 and 4 - Ecology

Students are able to develop their understanding of ecological systems and build on their knowledge of the chemical processes of Photosynthesis and respiration to describe how atoms and nutrients are recycled in Ecosystems. Students are able to develop plans for sampling their local environment using ecological sampling techniques, carry out their plans to measure the distribution and abundance of organisms in their habitat. Students are taught to have an understanding and appreciation for the need to preserve Biodiversity and ho human activities impact on the Biodiversity of different ecosystems.

Half Term 5 and 6 – Revisiting prior topics, revision and Exam skills

As we arrive at the end of our journey into understanding the biological world and process that allow organisms to survive, we revisit some of the key concepts that students need to have a secure understanding of. We ensure that the scientific methods used to carry out investigations are well understood and students are able to interpret data related to experimental evidence. Students are able to present data skilfully in tables and graphs, draw conclusions and discuss limitations of investigations.

Students are well prepared for their examinations, they have a good understanding of how to approach the different commands given within an examination context and are able to express themselves in the extended writing style of questioning.

How is this course assessed at GCSE?

Two written exams.  Each paper is 1 hour 45 minutes in length and worth 50% of the final grade.  The papers will contain a mixture of multiple choice, data analysis, structured and open response questions. 

Students will complete 10 required practical investigations throughout the course which can be assessed in the final written exams. There is no longer a coursework component but students will be asked questions on a series of required practicals which they will complete in class while studying the course.

 

Further education opportunities after GCSE?

Biology can lead to A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Applied Science, Geography, Psychology and Sociology. 

It can also support BTEC qualifications in a variety of subjects and apprenticeships.

Year 12 Biology sequence of lessons

Subject

Half Term 1 

Half Term 2 

Half Term 3 

Half Term 4 

Half Term 5

Half Term 6

Biology

Molecules of life

Cell structure and division 

Nucleic acids

Transport across cell membranes

DNA, genes and Protein synthesis

Exchange and Transport systems

Genetic diversity and Biodiversity

Exchange and Transport systems

Cells and immune system

Mass transport in animals and plants

Maths skills

Revision

Why we sequence the scheme of work this way

At the start of the A Level course, it is vital that the fundamental concepts are revisited and expanded on to ensure a secure foundation to be successful. This means looking at cell structure and microscopy in greater detail and linking how organelles within a cell operate together to perform essential functions. It is also important to look at how cells divide for growth and reproduction and to learn new practical skills to observe these events. Another fundamental concept is the idea of structure and how the structure of molecules not only relates to their function but also provides explanations for how external factors may affect their functioning. This understanding of molecular structure and how molecules behave underpins the remaining topics taught in this course and therefore it is essential to cement these ideas at the beginning of the course and to allow for interleaving as we move through the content.

In half term 2, we continue with the idea of molecular structure and look in detail at the structure of ATP, water, DNA and RNA. This builds on prior knowledge of how molecules form and the chemical reactions that allow bonds to form between monomers coming together. Students need to understand the structure of cell membranes before learning about how molecules are able to cross the membranes to allow for transport into and out of cells. 

Now that the fundamental understanding of the structure of biological molecules is secure, we can move on to more complex examples of molecules within living organisms. It is really important for students to understand the complexities of protein synthesis and how the DNA code informs the structure of proteins. This is essential information before moving on the genetic diversity in half term 4. During half term 3 , we also look at the transport systems of plants and animals and students gain a good understanding of how and why organ systems are structured in such a way and how their structure makes them effective exchange surfaces. This builds on the knowledge taught in half term 2 about how molecules can cross cell membranes.

We continue into half term 4 looking at transport systems. We also start to look at ecosystems and studying living organisms within ecosystems. Another key concept in the Biology A Level course is to look at how important biodiversity is and the levels at which we measure biodiversity including genetic, species and ecosystem diversity. We teach this area of the specification at this point as it leads on from the knowledge gained from looking at the structure of DNA and how the genetic code is translated into usable proteins that are essential to the survival of living organisms.

In half term 5, we are now in  position to look at the intricacies of the immune response to foreign particles. Students need to have a deep understanding of cell structure and the structure of blood tissue and therefore, this unit of work is taught at this point in the course and not earlier. We also teach the need for the bulk transport of materials around living organisms and explore the mechanisms that can achieve the mass transport of materials in animals and plants.

In the final half term of the Year 12 year, we focus on some skills and in particular the Maths skills requirement in this course. This includes the statistical tests that students need to be familiar with and the basis maths skills needed such as calculating standard deviation, percentage error and uncertainties when using different apparatus. This is not necessarily a stand alone unit but we find that it helps to provide an emphasis on the maths requirement by having some dedicated lessons to the maths component of the course. We also look at revision skills and revisit some of the practical skills that the students have become familiar with while completing the 6 required practicals for Year 12. 

Year 13 Biology sequence of lessons

Subject

Half Term 1 

Half Term 2 

Half Term 3 

Half Term 4 

Biology

Photosynthesis

Respiration

Populations in Ecosystems

Inherited Changes

 

Energy and ecosystems

Nutrient cycles

Populations and evolution

Response to Stimuli 

Gene expression

Nervous coordination and muscles

Gene expression

Recombinant DNA technology

Homeostasis

Why we sequence the scheme of work this way

This second year of the A Level course builds on the fundamental topics taught previously and we start with teaching the Biochemistry of photosynthesis and respiration which links to molecular structure and enzyme action. This topic poses some challenges and teaching it at the beginning of the year provides opportunities for revisiting and interleaving. We also look at the idea of populations in different ecosystems and how this links to the idea of diversity and expands on the basic understanding of sampling covered at GCSE level. Moving on from this unit to the idea of inheritance and how inheriting different traits leads to changes within populations of the same species creates a seamless flow between different units of content. Teaching this unit at this point allows for future units of work to build on the understanding of the role genetics plays many aspects of biology.  

 

In the second half term, we focus on energy and energy transfer in the context of ecosystems and build on the fundamental biochemical understanding of photosynthesis and respiration. This allows students to link the ideas from different units in a synoptic manner and the subject of Biology can be viewed in a holistic way. Students are then taught about how populations within ecosystems change and understanding genetic changes lead to a deeper understanding of the process of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection. 

 

In this half term 3, we start to delve deeper into the world of genetics and try to cement a good understanding of how genes control characteristics and how environment can play a role in the outward expression of our genetic code. These abstract ideas can be challenging and therefore, we approach this part of the specification when students have completed the units that cover a lot of biochemistry so that students are used to thinking about the molecular level and have been introduced to many different types of molecules that have different functions in living organisms. The second part of the content taught in this half term is about how our bodies respond to the external environment, this content  perhaps more intuitive for students and therefore is taught alongside some of the more challenging aspects to allow student to see that Biology links to many aspects of living organisms 

Half term 4 builds on the response unit of work and looks at the finer details of how nervous transmission causes the human body to coordinate muscle movement. The fundamental concepts of protein structure and transport across membranes that was taught in Year 12 plays a role in the understanding of the transmission of action potentials in neurons and therefore it is a good opportunity to revisit and recap these key concepts. Some more content is taught on using DNA in the recombinant DNA unit of work building on the gene expression work so students are familiar with the structure of the genome and the terminology associated with this. Finally, teach Homeostasis, this unit of work is covered in the GCSE specification so it is familiar to the students but covered in a greater level of detail at A Level. 

Career opportunities?

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Biological Science careers will all require Biology.