The Biology department is very successful, in 2016 over 60% of the Year 11 students gained A*’s in Biology (equivalent to the new grade 8 and above). A very high number of students choose to continue Biology at GCE and many of these go on to successfully study a Biology related degree, including a healthy number of medical students. Presently there are five specialist full-time teachers of Biology in the department who are assisted by a dedicated Biology technician and an assistant.The department aims to produce students who are passionate Biologists with a natural curiosity and livelong interest in Biology.
Students follow a two year Key Stage 3 course with four lessons per week, normally taught by one member of staff as Combined Science. The course is based on ‘Exploring Science’ by Pearson, but has bespoke opportunities for enrichment (such as the SciComp competition, CREST Awards and open-ended projects) built into the curriculum.
Teaching materials are designed to both lay a firm foundation and to enthuse a genuine passion for science. The course integrates both the key concepts in all of the sciences as well as the idea of ‘working scientifically’ as per English National Curriculum requirements, and is supported by both a hard copy textbook and online ‘Active Learning’ website material.
Our GCSE course is the Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9-1) in Biology (1Bio). This is taught by specialist Biology teachers from Year 9 to Year 11.
The course is examined in two 1 hour 45 minute papers at the end of Year 11. All our students take the higher paper allowing them to access grades 4-9. Students are provided with a text book and revision guide specific to this course. The work covered in Year 9 contains key overarching Biology concepts and their understanding and application form an integral part of the Year 10 and Year 11 course.
During the course students will undertake a large number of practicals, 16 of which are termed ‘core practical activities’ and as such are likely to be assessed in the terminal examinations.
At GCE we follow the Pearson Edexcel Biology A (Salters-Nuffield) course (9BNo). Each class is normally taught by two teachers who each have three lessons a week. The course is assessed terminally in Year 13 and the assessment is composed of three two hour papers. Many practical activities are carried out during the course and these include 18 core practical activities in which the students are assessed on particular skills. Assessment of these skills will lead to the award of Practical Endorsement.
All students are provided with the AS and A Level Pearson Salters-Nuffield textbooks and revision guides. They will also have access to the Salters-Nuffield Website that provides a plethora of resources tailored to the course.
What makes a good teacher at Dubai College?
A good teacher’s enjoyment of their subject shines through and stimulates students’ interest within and beyond the classroom. They have high expectations and engage all their students with energetic, creative and challenging lessons. They also have excellent subject knowledge and stay abreast of developments in their field which they use to inspire their students.
What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?
An understanding, appreciation and love of all things biological. An ability to consider problems from every angle. We want our students to be empathetic, balanced, creative and individual.
In your opinion, what makes Dubai College special?
Strong relationships and mutual respect between all members of the school community. A friendly, welcoming environment and calm atmosphere. Above all the students and staff have a sense of belonging. Academic standards are high but whole-child development is paramount.
Who or what inspires you?
Mr J Bailey – Alfred Wallace, Brian Clough and Barbara McClintock
Mrs A Romans - Sir David Attenborough, Jacques Cousteau and my father.
Mr M Woolley – Sir Ian Botham & Sir David Attenborough
Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.
Mr J Bailey - Were I not a teacher, I would love to work in Kew Gardens.
Mrs A Romans – I worked in Wisley Gardens growing chrysanthemums.
Mr M Woolley – My favourite holiday was spent with mountain gorillas.
Mrs T Sopaul – I have kayaked over Lake Bunyoni, which according to David Attenborough is the least explored lake in the world.