Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest


Academic Year 2016/2017

Head of Department:
Mrs G Doherty

Teaching Staff:
Mrs S McBroom
Miss M McErlean
Ms S Mullan

Mrs S Young


General Aim:
To ensure that the pupils have a wide and balanced knowledge of the environment and the living organisms within it.

Specific Aims:
• To develop a life long interest in and enjoyment of the study of living things, and an appreciation of our relationship with the environment
• To develop knowledge and understanding of biological concepts and an ability to solve problems
• To develop practical and communicative skills, through designing investigations, making observations, asking relevant questions, analysing data, drawing conclusions, evaluating, and through critical writing and discussion.
• To assume positive attitudes towards health and encourage a healthy life-style.
• To promote respect for all forms of life and to help pupils to explore some of the moral and ethical consequences of the application of scientific discoveries.
• To promote awareness and appreciation of Biology in everyday life and how its practical application affects societies and economics in both developed and developing countries.
• To provide access to a wide range of careers based on or related to the subject.


Junior Science
In the Junior school, Biology is part of an integrated Science programme which covers the CCEA Key Stage 3 curriculum.  In year 10, the Science programme adopts a modular approach, which gives pupils an experience of the three separate Sciences.  This helps them in choosing a science course for GCSE. 
GCSE Biology
At GCSE, Biology can be taken as a single subject or together with one or two of the other Sciences, or in turn as part of a double award qualification.  As an effective preparation for studying Biology at A level, students are recommended to take both Chemistry and Biology at GCSE.  Ideally the three Sciences give a solid foundation for A level students who intend to follow a Science career.

The CCEA syllabus is followed and the content divided over two years,  year 11 and year 12. If the Biology Separate Science specification is being studied it is examined in two papers , each  one and a half hours, and a controlled assessment.
Unit 1: Cells, Living Processes, and Biodiversity 35%
Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Microorganisms and Health 40%
Unit 3: Practical Skills (Controlled Assessment) 25%

If the Double Award Science Specification is being studied then the Biology component is examined by means of two separate papers, each lasting one hour.
Unit 1: Cells, Living Processes, and Biodiversity 11%
Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Microorganisms and Health 14%
Unit 3: Practical Skills 25%
(Controlled Assessment- two tasks are taken from two of the three disciplines) 
A level Biology
At A level, the CCEA specification is followed.  Students (year 13) may take just one year of the course and gain an AS level or continue and do a second year A2 to gain an A level (AS + A2).

AS Course (As from September 2016 the new specification will be covered)
Module 1: Molecules & Cells.
Module 2: Organisms and Biodiversity
Module 3: Practical skills in AS Biology
Assessment: Three written papers worth; Module One 37.5%, Module Two 37.5% and Module Three plus Practical Skills 25%.
Module 1 and Module 2 will be taken in May/June.

A2 Course
Module 3: Physiology and Ecosystems.
Module 4: Biochemistry, Genetics & Evolutionary Trends.
Assessment of Practical Skills.
Assessment: Two written papers each worth 40% and coursework 20%
Module 3 is sat in January and Module 4 in May/June
AS results are 50% of the total A level.
A2 results are 50% of the total A level.

In all examinations, we have had a very good record of success over the years.

Each of the four Biology teachers has a fully equipped laboratory and the assistance of a full–time Biology technician.

Each of the four labs has up-to-date equipment for practical work and teaching, including an interactive white board.

The Biology department also has a green house, and a pond.

GCSE fieldwork is mostly done in the school grounds or Bishop’s Gate.  A level field work is usually done at a rocky shore, e.g. Portrush.

An after–school club, LEAP (Loreto environmental awareness project), is held weekly from 3.15 – 4.15pm for pupils who are keenly interested in the environment.

Biology makes a significant contribution to many scientific careers, Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Veterinary, Physiology, Forensic Science, Pathology to name a few.
Biology makes useful contributions to other careers – Agriculture, Occupational Therapy, Food Technology, Forestry, Fisheries and Equestrian.