Biology

We are biological beings and our lives are intricately crafted by the interactions of biological organisms and processes, by studying Biology your eyes will be opened to the wonders and complexities of the science of life.

Having an understanding of Biology has an impact on our daily lives as it helps us to better understand ourselves and our place in the world.

The OCR A-level course involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics that are related to living organisms and their environment. You are encouraged to develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of biology and how they relate to each other. An appreciation of how society makes decisions about biology related issues and how biology contributes to the success of the economy and society is a key element of the course.

The specification builds upon the concepts and skills that you will have developed in your GCSE course. You are actively encouraged to follow your scientific curiosity whilst developing higher order thinking skills. We continue to emphasise the importance of independent thinking and learning and we fully support you in the pursuit of your own personal interests. Practical work forms an integral part of the course and ideas are taught through mini research projects, group discussion, student presentations and, question and answer sessions, as well as teacher input.

The areas of study at AS/A2 Biology are broken down as follows:

Year 1 – Cells, Exchange & Transport. / Molecules, Biodiversity, Food & Health.

Year 2 – Communication, Homeostasis & Energy./ Control, Genomes & the Environment.

Extra sessions during enrichment and over some of your holidays allow us to explore topics in greater depth beyond the curriculum and gives us the chance to assist you with your revision programmes.

Once a year we attend a revision seminar in London run by the very people that set your exam papers. The seminars are clearly focused on the topics and issues that will help you enjoy and succeed in your studies. They inform you of exactly what it is the examiners are looking for and give you the chance to ask the people marking your papers what it is that achieves the very best grades.

Being part of the team for the Society of Biology British Biology Olympiad will challenge and stimulate you whilst expanding and extending your talents within Biology. It may even qualify you for the International Biology Olympiad, which was last held in Bern, Switzerland!

Whilst there is no doubt how exciting the Biology A-level course is, we should not lose sight of the fact that it provides a springboard into a variety of different careers and further study. You can go on from this course and pursue a career in any of the following; nursing, veterinary science, dentistry, medicine, agriculture, forestry, horticulture, animal science, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiotherapy, marine biology, microbiology, forensic science, conservation and many other biological pursuits, including the rapidly expanding genetic technology industries.

Chemistry

Chemistry has contributed much to our comprehension of the world around us. From the production of the food we eat and the medicines we take to our understanding of what drives the global warming phenomenon.

Chemistry is an exciting and engaging subject that is continually developing and changing to meet the challenges of our modern world.

At Finborough, we follow the OCR A Level chemistry specification.  The specification is divided into chemical topics, each containing different key concepts of chemistry.  The course builds upon the existing popular OCR GCSE Chemistry course and has been updated in response to modern developments in chemistry and also the impact of chemistry on modern society and resources.  There is an emphasis on a range of generic skills such as problem-solving and effective communication as well as the ability to manipulate data. There is also a strong emphasis towards practical work and skills are developed that require creativity and accuracy.

This specification provides an excellent foundation for further study of chemistry, medicine (and related subjects such as pharmacy and pharmacology) or other sciences.  Chemistry is essential for students planning careers in other health professions such as pharmacy, dentistry, optometry and veterinary medicine

The main employers of those who study chemistry are in the chemical and related industries, such as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, petrochemicals, toiletries, plastics and polymers. However, those who studied chemistry may enter many different sectors including the food and drink industry, utilities and research, health and medical organisations and scientific research organisations and agencies.

Physics

Physics is an exciting and stimulating subject that tries to answer the most fundamental of questions about our universe.

Studying A-level Physics allows you to explore a wide spectrum of new ideas while making sure that you really understand the key concepts that you met at GCSE.  It will provide you with an essential foundation for a career in Science, Engineering, or for one of the many related areas. Equally, as a highly regarded and widely respected qualification, it is an excellent preparation for a much wider variety of careers and university courses. As well as learning about how the universe works, you’ll get a broad training in skills that all employers value – an ability grasp concepts quickly, a determination to find coherent answers, not to mention problem-solving, analytical, and mathematical skills. Even if you don’t end up working in a physics-related industry, these skills are still highly regarded. Studying physics is a good way of keeping your options open and earning an excellent salary.

At Finborough School the sixth form physicists study the OCR Physics A Course.

In year 12 the students study mechanics and investigate motion, forces in action and work and energy. They then move onto the electrons waves and photons unit and cover all aspects of electricity in detail. The year ends with the study of the weird world of quantum physics and wave – particle duality where truth is indeed stranger than fiction!

In year 13 they move to more advanced topics  and study more mechanics,  gravitational, magnetic and electric fields, nuclear physics and radioactivity, medical imaging. The last part of the course examines the universe – its evolution, expansion and its future.

Students will carry out a lot of practical work and are expected and encouraged to keep up to date with current exciting developments in physics, of which there are many.

Trips are organised to Institute of Physics lectures and universities to inspire students. Hospital visits are planned to make the medical imaging part of the year 13 course more accessible. Students will also visit a variety of different   workplaces to enable them to see for themselves how their studies can be applied.

A visit to CERN in Switzerland is currently being planned to see The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), one of the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerators. It first started up on 10 September 2008 and consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way.

Physics is undeniably a demanding subject, but with aptitude and hard work there is no reason why all should not achieve excellent grades.