As the study of the living world, Biology is an incredibly diverse and fascinating subject which offers opportunities to study all elements of the living world around us from cell structure, DNA and genomics to ecosystems and population.

Working with pupils from J1 all the way through to S6, the department offers pupils the chance to develop their skills through thoughtful experimentation and a variety of different techniques and approaches. Pupils can study towards National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher

Pupils are introduced to the science subjects from T1 onwards and are encouraged to develop an interest and enthusiasm for Biology as they progress through S1 and S2. Our aim as a department is to inspire pupils to develop an interest in Biology in order to appreciate and value where it fits into the world around them, and ultimately to use this knowledge to help create a better world.

Biology is offered at all examination levels from N5 to Advanced Higher and all courses promote scientific enquiry and investigative skills as well as developing the ability to manipulate numbers and carry out analysis of data.

Biology - National 5

At National 5 the course comprises three units:

  • Cell Biology covering cell structure, DNA, proteins, genetic engineering, respiration
  • Multicellular Organisms covering producing new cells, control and communication, reproduction, variation
  • Life on Earth covering ecosystem, distribution of organisms, photosynthesis, evolution and food production

Pupils will learn about the basic processes which go on in living cells; the work of the circulatory, nervous and reproductive systems and the interactions between organisms and their environment.

Biology - Higher

At Higher level, the course aims to further instil a passion for Biology and provide a gateway for entry into future careers ranging from the biotechnology industries and medical sciences through to agriculture and ecology.

Candidates develop an understanding of DNA and how the structure of the genome leads to the basis of evolution and biodiversity while Genomics is studied as one of the major scientific advances in recent times. Metabolic pathways and their control are considered along with the conditions in which organisms survive and their means of coping with these. The interdependence and complex interactions between organisms are explored and sustainable food production, with the fundamental process of photosynthesis at its core, is investigated.


Biology - Advanced Higher

At Advanced Higher, the course places great emphasis on the understanding of the scientific method and the development of investigative skills. Knowledge gained at Higher is built on with three main topics being covered:

Cells and Proteins: Proteomics and Proteins; Cell Communication; Control of the Cell Cycle

Organisms and Evolution: Population Biology and Animal Behaviour; Evolution; reproduction and Courtship Behaviour; Parasitism, Immunity and Treatment

Investigative Biology: Scientific Method; Literature and Ethics; Extended Scientific Research Project

Throughout their study of the subject, pupils will develop useful transferable skills related to handling and processing information and carrying out scientific investigations.

All courses are taught in a way which puts direct experiences at the centre of pupils learning. A wide range of practical activities are used to illustrate key ideas and concepts along with a wide range of activities from cooperative learning, group work, individual projects and investigation to fieldwork and field trips.

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To find out more about how we engender hard work and determination in our young people, come and visit us and meet our dedicated teaching staff and speak to our pupils.