Biology, A-Level


Biology has led to major developments in areas such as food production, diagnosis and treatment of disease, enhancing sports performance, conservation and forensics. If you are fascinated by the way plants, animals, micro-organisms and humans work then this is the ideal course for you. South Downs College offers a choice of two specifications, according to your own interests. Both specifications include practical work in which you will carry out investigations, dissections, microbiology and fieldwork.

Both specifications will equip you for entry to careers in Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Conservation, Medicine, Sports Science and Veterinary Medicine via higher education degrees, and graduate pathways into the health, sport and environmental industries. You can also progress to study a wide variety of courses at university, from Agriculture to Zoology.

A Level Biology will help you make sense of the living world around you. You will study the biology of plants and animals, human health and the wider natural environment. You will gain insights into how living organisms work, and understand wider environmental issues in more detail. This is a challenging course that is full of interesting and relevant information, be prepared for hard work and you will find it rewarding!



Type of study
Examination board

Availability & Details

Biology (Specification A), A-Level SF-BIOLAL-D(1718)000

South Downs Campus
Academic Year 2017-18 (1 year)
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A minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C or 5-9, including English and Mathematics. This must include double Science at grade B/5 or above and Mathematics and English preferably grade B/5.

We offer a choice of Biology Courses at A Level, OCR Specification A or OCR Specification B.

Specification A is similar to a traditional A Level biology course, focusing on animals, plants, the environment and biotechnology, as well as topics relating to humans. This course would suit students wishing to progress to study biological sciences at a higher level.

Specification B contains more emphasis on human applications of biology, with more topics related to medical areas, as well as work on plants, the environment and biotechnology.

Both specifications contain a Practical skills and Data Handling module.

You will:

  • Carry out experimental and investigative activities, including appropriate risk management, in a range of biological contexts.
  • Analyse and interpret data to provide evidence, recognise correlations and causal relationships, and use statistical tests.
  • Evaluate methodology, evidence and data.

Both Specifications include:

Year 1
Cells, exchange and transport – Cells and microscopes, tissues organs and organ systems. Respiratory and transport systems in mammals. Transport of materials in and out of cells. Plant transport systems.

Molecules, biodiversity, food and health – Proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, water and enzymes. DNA and RNA. Human parasites and pathogens and defence against disease. Plant diseases. The study of biodiversity, habitats, classification and evolution.

Year 2
Communication, homeostasis and energy – Plant and animal hormones, and nervous systems. Homeostasis and excretion. Photosynthesis and respiration.

Control, genomes and environment – Inheritance and genetic technologies. Artificial selection and biotechnology using microorganisms and enzymes to make useful products.



You will be taught in well-equipped and serviced laboratories where a variety of learning opportunities and teaching styles will be provided through lectures, problem solving, data handling, experimental and observational tasks.

The course also contains statistical analysis and other mathematical techniques. Fieldwork is carried out at specialist centres such as Leeson House in Dorset. Students have the opportunity to attend outreach events such as those run by the Universities of Portsmouth and Southampton.


The A Level will be assessed through externally marked examinations in the summer term of the second year. There is no coursework component.

Contact us

There are great teachers here. This college has felt more like a university than a school, and it’s definitely lived up to that more grown-up feel.

Vicky Lipscombe, A Level student

This is a really good college, and it is definitely somewhere you can achieve your dreams.

Yolanda Stemp, BTEC student

My experience at the college has been really good, it’s been really rewarding, all the lecturers were so lovely and supportive there’s no way I could have done it without them - the teaching has been outstanding.

Lucie Brooks, A Level student


Students may also progress to higher level courses in biology, health, sport, the environment and specialised areas such as genetics, biochemistry and marine biology.


Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry, Radiography, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Sports therapy, Sports science