In the Biology department we aim to stimulate and sustain pupils’ interest in and enjoyment of the subject by making the work we do relevant to their everyday lives, wherever possible, so that they gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.

A wide variety of teaching methods are used, ranging from practical investigations to lectures from outside speakers; from internet research to teacher demonstrations.

The department is housed in modern, purpose-designed laboratories and is extremely well equipped with an impressive range of equipment for practical activities including microscopy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology.

Appropriate courses are provided, for both those who will end their study of Biology at either IGCSE or A level, and also those who will continue their studies in Biological Sciences, Medicine, Veterinary Science and many other related subjects.


Year 9 and IGCSE

Years 9, 10 and 11

IGCSEs were introduced at Monmouth School for Girls in January 2010. They are highly respected qualifications, recognised worldwide and by UCAS, and provide an excellent grasp of science at this level and will also provide a better platform for the study of the sciences at A level.

At the end of Year 9 pupils choose between taking three separate science IGCSEs, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, (Triple Award), and  IGCSE Double Award Science.

In both schemes there is no coursework and the examinations take place at the end of Year 11.

Edexcel Biology IGCSE: details of the specifications and a ‘Guide for Students and Parents’ can be found at:

A level

Why study Biology?

Do you want to learn about the world around you? A level Biology teaches you how things work; whether it’s your own body, a sub-microscopic cellular process or even a complex ecosystem. You will also learn about when things go wrong and the innovative ways that biologists are attempting to overcome these problems.

Our A level Biology courses place a high value on practical work as an essential part of the learning process, enhancing understanding of the theory and providing ample opportunity to apply and extend your knowledge and understanding in novel situations. Developing proficiency in practical work is a vital component of furthering investigative, problem solving, analysis and evaluation skills that are increasingly important due to the current skills gap in the bioscience industry but are also highly sought after in a wide range of careers beyond medicine and the sciences including the business, legal and financial sectors.

Biology continues to be a rapidly advancing subject in the modern world. Recent and ongoing advances in molecular genetics, proteomics and neuroscience are opening up possibilities that we could not have dreamt of only 30 years ago. Biology is a key subject in preparation for a career in medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, all of which demand top level GCE grades. Studying biology can also lead to careers in pharmacy, the food industry, environmental protection, planning & policy development, forensics and drug development among many others. The analytical and evaluative skills are highly valued in a wide range of career pathways.

You will study a range of topics in class using a variety of up to date resources: scientific articles and data, text books, video, websites, field work and of course experiments and practical investigations.

Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth School for Boys currently follow a different specification.

Head of Department: Ms L Woodburn

Course outline

Board: Edexcel   A level Subject Code: 9BN0

The A level Biology course at  Monmouth School for Girls follows the “context-based” Salters-Nuffield approach.  This well established approach to the study of biology at A level, uses accessible contexts to provide the basis for in-depth study of the underlying biological principles.  An outline of the specification is given below, and further details can be obtained from Edexcel’s website: and the dedicated website provided by The Nuffield Foundation & Salter’s Institute in conjunction with The University of York: As at IGCSE, a wide range of learning activities including planning and carrying out practical work, engaging with scientific literature and news articles, thinking skills and problem solving continue to be integral parts of the study of Biology in the Sixth Form at the school.

There are additional sessions and online support for those girls wishing to pursue a career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary or biomedical science where a BMAT or UKCAT admission test is required.

Activity When? Age group
Harris Scientific Society Evenings Year 12 + 13
Monmouth Science Initiative Wednesday p.m. Year 12 + 13
Engineering Education Scheme Wales Lunchtimes and after school Year 12
STEM Club After school Y 9-13
Monmouth Astronomical Society First Tues evening of the month All ages
British Physics Olympiad and Physics Challenge Competitions Michaelmas term


Years 11-13
British Chemistry Olympiad and Cambridge Chemistry Challenge Michaelmas term

Summer term

Years 11-13
Biology Challenge Competition March Years 9-10
British Biology Olympiad January, March Y13
National Science and Engineering Competition Lunchtimes and after school All ages
Oxbridge and Russell group Biological & medical sciences discussion group lunchtimes Y11-12+13
Oxbridge Physics and Engineering Lunchtimes after school Y13
Astronomy Club Lunchtime All ages
Science Clubs Lunchtime Years 7 + 8-9
Faraday IET Competition Lent term Year 8
Chemistry Research Club

Sixth form Research Club

After school Year 10-11

Year 12-13