Biology is the most popular science studied at Sutton Valence; it is the opening to many careers from medicine to conservation, alongside many other fields that offer the opportunity to change the future.

Biology is the study of the natural world around us, from the largest of mammals, all the way down to our very own microscopic DNA. It is a fascinating subject that allows us to understand how living organisms function, from a molecular, to cellular, to multicellular level, including the intricate and mind-blowing structure of the incredible human machine. Biology involves both studying the past, through the stages of evolution, and the future, in the form of potentially life-changing advances in modern day medicine; it shows us the links, and furthermore, the very delicate relationships that exist between the millions of different species inhabiting our planet, and furthermore, how we can preserve them; it challenges us logically through facts and figures, whilst also challenging our morality; Biology is without doubt, a subject that will never cease to amaze.                                     

To succeed in this subject, it is important that a pupil has:

  • A keen and inquisitive mind;
  • Intrinsic motivation and willingness to read around and ahead of topics covered in class;
  • An interest and understanding of the natural world;
  • An ability to rapidly adopt high-level concepts;
  • Ability to work scientifically by writing methods, drawing graphs and analysing and evaluating data.

Junior Curriculum

Biology is taught as a separate subject at junior level. As with the other Sciences, there is an emphasis on skills and how science works. The topics that are covered include:  cells, tissues and organs, nutrition, breathing and respiration, plant reproduction, sexual reproduction, and health and disease.

Third Form

The Third Form begin the year with the Discovery Term which enables them to study some interesting and exciting Biology topics that are not included in the GCSE curriculum, but which will further their enthusiasm and passion for the subject. These include the topics of sexual reproduction, health and diet, and disease. Whilst capturing the imagination of the Third Form, this introductory term also aims to develop some of the key practical skills that are required at GCSE, from writing methods, to drawing graphs, to completing mathematical calculations. Lastly, pupils will complete a section of their CoPE award in the Discovery Term, where they will undertake a forensics week, using techniques such as blood typing and DNA fingerprinting to uncover the suspects in a murder case. The Third Form then begin the GCSE syllabus in January.


Board: WJEC

Examination: 100%

The key topics that will be covered over the two year course include: cell biology, transport systems, health, disease and the development of medicine, coordination and control, photosynthesis, ecosystems, inheritance, variation and tvolution.

A Level

Board: OCR Biology A

Examination: 100%

We follow the OCR A Level Biology specification. This is modular and comprises of six modules. As fieldwork forms a part of practical work in Biology, all students will normally be expected to attend a four-day residential field course in the Summer Term of the Lower Sixth.

  • Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology
  • Module 2 – Foundations in biology
  • Module 3 – Exchange and transport
  • Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease
  • Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy
  • Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

Biology department staff

Miss Zoe Radford holds a BSc (Hons) Zoology degree from Swansea University and a Biology PGCE certificate.

Mr Andrew Hammersley holds a BSc (Hons) Biology degree from Hull University.

Miss Eleanor Oliver holds a BSc (Hons) Zoology degree from Bangor University.


Miss Zoe Radford
Head of Department

Contact Us

Sutton Valence School

North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent, ME17 3HL


Tel: 01622 845200


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