Head of Faculty: Dr T.S. Morgan
Follow the Biology Faculty on Twitter: @ShrewsburyBiol
Counting Charles Darwin among our alumni, Biology will always have a special place in the curriculum at Shrewsbury. All pupils study the subject up to IGCSE level, with the aim that it will help them lead a healthy life, look after the environment, and build the best foundation possible if they wish to pursue the subject into the Sixth Form. Human physiology, ecology, and genetics are therefore important parts of the course and the ethical implications of modern advances in reproductive and genetic technology are also covered.
Many pupils continue with Biology into the Sixth Form and are build up a much more detailed understanding of the nature of the subject in the 21st century. Significant numbers each year choose Biological Sciences, Medicine or related courses at University. The Medical Society, run by biologists, helps to ensure that those applying to Medical School are as well prepared as possible. Similarly, those applying to Oxbridge are mentored to provide sound preparation for the application process and life as an undergraduate.
The Biology Department enjoys outstandingly good facilities – modern laboratories for ten specialist teachers, excellent microscopes and other apparatus, and also a natural history museum with a wealth of specimens for a school. The aim of the department is to embrace the best of traditional biology – the historic specimens in the museum and dissection work in lessons for example – as well as modern advances such as DNA fingerprinting, genetic engineering and data logging. We enrich this programme with a visit to a university research department.
Practical work is at the heart of our teaching, especially the investigations carried out by pupils themselves. Skills are built up from the Third Form onwards and in the Sixth Form practical work is at the heart of the Pre-U course. Sixth Form practicals are wide-ranging and well-resourced, including genetic engineering (transferring a gene for Green Fluorescent Protein from jellyfish into bacteria to make them fluoresce under UV light) and genetic fingerprinting. Field work opportunities abound on or near to the School site and there is also a residential visit to Dale Fort Field Studies Centre in Pembrokeshire. This enables students to explore coastal habitats and to study much of the ecology sections of the Pre-U course.