All pupils study biology as a separate science to IGCSE, with approximately a third of the L8th opting to continue at A level. Our teaching emphasises a practical approach to scientific enquiry, with a very extensive repertoire of experimental work and dissection for all year groups. Lessons frequently draw on articles from scientific journals to bring the latest research findings into the classroom.
St Paul’s was one of the first independent schools to adopt the more rigorous and demanding Edexcel IGCSE. The course provides an exciting, challenging and detailed introduction to a wide range of biological topics from cells and molecules, human and plant physiology and ecology and evolution. The course is an excellent preparation for A level, allowing us much greater scope to explore topics in depth during the 8th form.
AS and A level
Pupils who study biology at A-level follow the Cambridge International A-level course. This course provides in-depth coverage of biochemistry, cell biology, animal and plant transport systems, and the biology of disease and the immune system in the L8th. In the summer term pupils carry out a long-term biotechnology practical, introducing them to a range of cutting edge molecular biology techniques. In the U8th, the principles learnt in the L8th are applied to bioenergetics, the nervous system, genetics and biodiversity and evolution.
The department runs societies and trips across all year groups for boys with an interest in biology and medicine. MedSoc meets weekly during Monday lunchtimes to hear invited speakers from all branches of medicine and medical research. PaskSoc, the Eighth form Biology Projects club run in collaboration with King’s College, London and the Sanger Centre, gives Paulines the chance to gain experience of modern laboratory techniques and some pupils have carried out further independent research projects into synthetic biology through the International iGEM competition. Junior Forensics and Selborne societies allow younger Paulines to study whole organism biology and to start to link it to molecular DNA analyses. Many take part in competitions run by the Society of Biology: Fifth formers can enter the Biology Challenge competition, and the 8th enter the British Biology Olympiad competition. St Paul’s regularly tops the medal table in the Biology Olympiad, and in recent years pupils from St Paul’s have won places in the UK team to compete in the International Biology Olympiad.
After St Paul's
A large number of Paulines go on to study medicine, biochemistry or biological sciences each year. Notable Old Pauline biologists include the neurologist, Dr Oliver Sacks and reproductive physiologist, Professor Lord Robert Winston. Mark Isalan is now a reader in gene network engineering at Imperial College, London and studies protein and gene network engineering, and recent OP Gonzalo Garcia studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, completing his PhD in applying physical and mathematical techniques to diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease and co-founded Transmission Education.
Biology Staff Members