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Mrs S A Simms BSc PGCE (Head of Department)

R Reaney BSc inc QTS

Mrs B McKeeman BSc PGCE

Mr P Baxter BSc BAgr PGCE

Technical Support - Mrs R McCullough

Why Study Biology?

Biology is an important subject that is frequently featured in the news and media. Gene cloning, threats to conservation, biodiversity and our landscape and new advances in medical treatment are just a few of the issues which are current news headlines.


In Biology, we learn about the fascinating human body and how all its organ systems function. We study and carry out research on global issues of pollution and conservation, as well as learning about plants and why they are so important to the world around us.

Biology at Carrickfergus Grammar School

Biology at CGS is taught by specialists in three dedicated labs, a tutorial room and the extensive school grounds. In addition to room-based lessons we make as much use of the surrounding meadows, hedgerows and playing fields for environmental studies as time (and weather) will permit. The Biology teachers have a great enthusiasm for their subject and seek to share this with all students.

Key Stage 3

We follow the NI Curriculum and cover topics:

Year 8

  • Cells and Life Processes

  • Classification and Keys

  • Animal Reproduction

  • Plant Reproduction

Year 9

  • Diet

  • Digestion and Enzymes

  • Breathing

  • Circulatory System

  • Photosynthesis

Year 10

  • Skeleton

  • Nervous System

  • Ecology

  • Genetics


Students will follow the CCEA specification.

Unit 1: Cells, Living Processes and Biodiversity. Written exam 35%
Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Micro-organisms and Health. Written exam 40%
Unit 3: Practical Skills
Booklet A: 2 practical tasks 7.5%
Booklet B: Written exam 17.5%

A Level

Students require at least B grade in GCSE Biology and preferably have studied GCSE Chemistry in order to study A level Biology. Biology is one of the most popular A-level courses with a very high uptake. Students follow CCEA Biology which is designed to promote continuity, coherence and progression within the study of Biology. A-level combines topics from diverse disciplines such as Biochemistry, Botany, Ecology, Zoology, Cells, Physiology and Immunology. This gives the student a broad but in-depth knowledge and flavour of the biological subjects which can be studied at a higher level.

AS and A2 Level Course Specification
Examining Board : CCEA


This subject allows pupils to obtain a prerequisite qualification to gain entry to Higher Education in the field of Biology, or prepare for direct employment in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, communication, education etc.

AS Unit 1: Molecules and Cells. 1 hour 30mins written exam 37.5% of AS and 15% of A Level.

AS Unit 2: Organisms and Biodiversity. 1 hour 30mins written exam 37.5% of AS and 15% of A Level.

AS Unit 3: Assessment of Practical Skills in Biology. 1 hour written exam and lab book of 7 practical tasks. 25% of AS and 10% of A Level.

A2 Unit 1: Physiology and Ecosystems. 2 hour 15mins written exam 24% of A Level.

A2 Unit 2: Biochemistry, Genetics and Evolutionary Trends. 2 hour 15mins written exam 24% of A Level.

A2 Unit 3: Assessment of Investigational and Practical Skills in Biology. 1 hour 15mins written exam and lab book of 5 practical tasks. 12% of A Level.

More details of the GCSE and A-level courses can be found at

Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.

- Jeffrey Eugenides

Career Options

Biology is the gateway to a host of career options:

Medicine, Physiotherapy, Research Scientists, Veterinary Medicine, teachers, nurses and midwives, dentists, dieticians, forensic science, medical laboratory work, Pharmaceuticals, development of new drugs, agriculture, journalism, nature conservation and many more!!

It 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.

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