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Dalriada Biology Department aims to promote academic excellence and the all-round personal development of every pupil in a caring, happy environment which is sympathetic and responsive to individual needs, aspirations and talents.

We aim to:

  • establish and maintain good personal relationships and genuine partnership between pupils, staff, parents and governors in an atmosphere of friendship, trust and mutual respect

  • encourage pupils’ curiosity about Biology.

  • motivate and enthuse pupils in the study of Biology in the classroom and tertiary education.

  • challenge pupils as to how they could make a valuable contribution to the Scientific community.

  • develop the skills of teamwork, communication, numeracy and ICT

  • encourage individual initiative and independence of thought

  • assist pupils to recognise the need for discipline, and to develop a self-disciplined and responsible attitude to their studies

  • encourage a spirit of service in the wider community and promote active respect for the local and global environment


During the first two years in Dalriada, Science is taught as one integrated subject, with different modules of Biology, Chemistry and Physics delivered by one teacher. Once we get to Year 10, Biology is delivered once a week by a specialist Biology teacher. This course aims to introduce topics covered at GCSE and includes:

  • Microbiology   

  • Plant Reproduction

  • Human Reproduction

  • Variation

  • The Brain

  • Introduction to DNA

  • Ecology

As Biology is a practical subject, we try to include regular experiments in the pupil experience which allows team work, problem solving, the essential skills required to study Biology at a higher level to be developed, and of course a bit of fun!



We offer the CCEA Biology course at GCSE. This is taught during 4 periods a week over two years. There are 3 Units which are currently examined at the end of the second year and include the topics;

Unit 1: Cells, Living Processes and Biodiversity

  • Cells

  • Photosynthesis and plants

  • Nutrition and Food Tests

  • Enzymes and Digestion

  • The Respiratory System, Breathing and Respiration

  • Nervous system and hormones

  • Ecological Relationships and Energy Flow


Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Microorganisms and Health      

  • Osmosis and Plant Transport

  • Circulatory System

  • Reproduction, Fertility and Contraception

  • Genome, Chromosomes, DNA and Genetics

  • Variation and Natural Selection

  • Health, Disease, Defence Mechanisms and Treatments


Unit 3: Practical Skills

Pupils complete prescribed practicals throughout the 2 years. These are assessed by a practical exam in Year 12 of the course and a written exam based on knowledge and skills acquired when carrying out the prescribed practicals at the end of Year 12.


We are very proud of the fact that almost half of our GCSE students decide to continue Biology to A level. Again, the CCEA syllabus is offered and we advise pupils that they must attain at least a B grade at GCSE to be able to study Biology at this level. If students are coming to us from another school and have studied Double Award, we would ask that evidence is provided that they have attained a high score in B1 and B2 modules. It is recommended, but not essential, that students have studied Chemistry at GCSE to help with the Biochemical modules at A level.


We try to incorporate a range of experiences for our senior students which might include

  • Fieldwork at the Coast

  • Trips to see the Electron Microscope at UUC 

  • Competition Success

  • Medical Mavericks Workshop

AS Syllabus content studied in Year 13


Molecules and Cells

Molecules, Enzymes,Viruses, Cells, Cell Physiology, Continuity of Cells and Tissues and Organs

1 hour 30 minutes written paper



Organisms and Biodiversity

Transport and Exchange Mechanisms, Adaptations of Organisms, Biodiversity, Human Impact on Biodiversity

1 hour 30 minutes written paper



Practical Skills in AS Biology

A range of practical tasks specified to complement understanding of topics covered throughout syllabus.

a)Minimum of 7 assessed practical tasks

b)Practical sills written exam.


A2 Syllabus content studied in Year 14


Physiology, Co-ordination and Control, and Ecosystems

Homeostasis, Immunity, Co-ordination and Control and Ecosystems

2 hours 15 minutes written paper



Biochemistry, Genetics and Evolutionary Trends

Respiration, Photosynthesis, DNA as the Genetic Code, Gene Technology, Genes and Patterns of Inheritance, Population Genetics, Kingdom Plantae and Kingdom Animalia

2 hours 15 minutes written paper



Practical Skills in A2 Biology

A range of practical tasks specified to complement understanding of topics covered throughout syllabus.

a)Minimum of 5 assessed practical tasks

b)Practical sills written exam.


Normally at AS level, pupils will have one teacher delivering the syllabus content over 8 periods a week. The A level Biology is delivered by two teachers sharing the syllabus content, one will have 4 periods a week and the other 5 periods.  We have excellent technical support allowing us to deliver the full range of required practicals, allowing pupils to progress their investigative skills. It is not uncommon for around 80% of our Year 14 students to go on to study a Biology related degree and continue to use the knowledge and skills gained while at Dalriada, a statistic we are very proud of!

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