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Mission Statement

The beginning of the 21st century is an exciting time to study Biology. New techniques and advances in molecular biology and genetics are revolutionizing the way we catch criminals, diagnose, treat, and cure diseases and grow crops. In Biology we aim to promote an enjoyment of, and a respect for, living organisms and the environment.  We encourage pupil curiosity and develop a scientific approach to problem-solving.  We enable students to understand biological concepts and relate these to everyday life.  Pupils are given the opportunity to work in groups as well as develop their skills in independent study.

The Biology Team

Subject Co-ordinator

Mr Stephen McCay

A Level Subject Teachers

Mr Stephen McCay

Ms Anna-Marie McCloy

Mr Kieran O'Donnell

Course overview

The Biology specification we offer for AS and A-Level is that offered by CCEA and builds on the broad objectives of the revised Northern Ireland Curriculum. The A-Level award provides an excellent basis for the further study of Biology and related courses and is relevant not only in the fields of science, engineering and medicine, but also to areas of commerce and the public service in which problem-solving and practical skills are valued.


Biology at A-Level will be offered as a modular course. These modules will be a mixture of externally-examined units and internally-assessed coursework.

The awarding of the full Biology A-Level will be based on marks from AS (40%) and A2 (60%).

Three modules will be studied in Year 13 at AS-Level:

AS 1: Molecules and Cells

1/2 hour written exam

37.5% of AS

(15% of A Level)

AS 2: Organisms and Biodiversity

1 1/2 hour written exam

37.5% of AS

(15% of A Level)

AS 3: Practical Skills in AS Biology

A: Internal Practical assessment

B: 1 hour written exam

25% of AS

(10% of A Level)

With another three modules studied in Year 14 for the A2 qualification:

A2 1: Physiology, Co-ordination and Ecosystems

2 1/4 hour written exam

24% of A Level

A2 2: Biochemistry, Genetics and Evolutionary Trends

2 1/4 hour written exam

24% of A-Level

A2 3: Practical Skills in Biology

A: Internal Practical Assessment

B: 1 hour written exam

12% of A Level

Key Features of the CCEA A-Level Biology Specification

  • It offers a free-standing AS qualification after one year.

  • It affords extensive opportunities to develop evidence for key skills.

  • It provides a firm grounding for those wishing to enter higher education courses in Biology and related subjects. In most of these courses, an A-Level award is a prerequisite for entry.

  • It includes Northern Ireland perspectives, particularly with respect to biodiversity strategies and the human impact on the ecosystem.

  • It contributes towards an understanding of ethical and cultural issues, thus adding to a full and rounded education.

Entry Requirements

It is expected that pupils wishing to study AS Biology have achieved a minimum of a grade BB at GCSE Double Award Science.

Career Opportunities

Many university courses have entry requirements which demand at least one science subject at A-Level, some require two.

Examples of Careers associated with Biology:
Doctor, physiotherapist, dentist, optician, occupational therapist, dietitian, podiatrist, pharmacist, medical laboratory scientist, veterinary surgeon, nursing, biotechnology industries, food and drinks companies, pharmaceutical companies, laboratory, management and research workers, marine and freshwater biology research, fish farming, agriculture and horticulture, teaching and lecturing, research, journalism, broadcasting, sports science.

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