Head of Department: W L S Keat.
Biology is the study of the living world, encompassing the structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution and taxonomy of living organisms. It is a subject that is naturally inspiring, thoroughly accessible and relevant to all students.
Biology at Epsom has a rich history due to the Royal Medical Foundation origins of the College and as such, we have been highly successful in both the International GCSE and also A level. Teaching is highly practical-based and students are able to access all that biology has to offer both in lessons and outside.
The Biology Department strives to provide as many enrichment activities as possible. There are several thriving societies run by members of the Biology Department, which give access to students of all ages. These include the Junior Science Society in which biology and other STEM-based practicals are carried out, the Biology Extension sessions in which students are prepared for the Biology Olympiad along with discussion of biology based academic papers, the Medical Society and also the Curie Society, which discusses biological and other scientific phenomena in a seminar based forum.
Biology is all about experiencing the world around us and as such the department runs regular trips. Examples of these include field trips to Juniper Hall and Nower Wood nature reserve, along with attending the Science Live talks at the Dominion Theatre, London and visiting the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. Every two years a conservation expedition takes place, in conjunction with Operation Wallacea, and in 2016 the location of this was Ecuador and the Galapagos.
Students are encouraged to enter the Biology Challenge in the M4th and U4th and also the Intermediate Biology Olympiad in the L6th form and British Biology Olympiad in the Sixth form. In 2015, 2 U6th students were placed in the top 2.1% of the 6,189 entrants for the British Biology Olympiad. The Department also has a registered museum, which contains diverse and amazing examples from the animal kingdom, including an elephant skull.
Students are taught by subject experts, all of whom have a wealth of teaching experience and come from a variety of biological backgrounds. Many have been involved in post-doctoral research and their expertise range from plant science and zoology to cancer studies and developmental biology. The quality of the teaching within the department is excellent and this is reflected in the strong performances in the International GCSE and AQA A level.
Follow the links below to learn more about Biology at Epsom College.
Head of Department W L S Keat BSc (University College London), MA, PGCE (King's College London), MSB
Department Teaching Staff
Dr R L Stone BSc (Bristol), PGCE (King's College London), PhD (Birmingham)
M D Hobbs BSc, PGCE (King's College London), CBiol, MSB
Dr V Patel BSc (Leeds), PhD (Lond)
N J Smith BSc (Portsmouth), PGCE (Exeter)
Dr R Storey BSc (Dunelm), PhD (King's College London)
Gloria Attwell HNC (Applied Biology), Senior Biology Technician
Anita Bavetsia, BSc (Chemistry), MSc (King's College London), Biology Technician
Laura Hallam, Biology Department Assistant
The Biology Department is housed in its own building consisting of six practical laboratories and two prep rooms, supported by a team of dedicated Biology technicians. There is also a registered museum, which provides a wealth of fascinating teaching resources, many dating back to the College's medical foundation.
Each laboratory is equipped with an interactive whiteboard, media player and class sets of optical microscopes. There are also two dedicated IT rooms with 20 PCs for students to use and a meeting room for clubs and societies.
There is a range of new educational software packages used for teaching, such as the Boardworks suite, which are used in conjunction with the interactive whiteboards in each laboratory. Reading is an important part of science and we subscribe to Nature and the Biological Sciences Review to keep students up to date with findings in biology.
The Department is well-resourced and is continually updating its equipment to keep up with the rapidly changing world of genetics and biochemistry. Latest additions have included a PCR machine and gel electrophoresis tanks. It also houses a greenhouse and a range of animals such as a panther chameleon, praying mantis, Madagascan hissing cockroaches and a large marine fish tank.
Further Education and Career Prospects
Biology is one of the most popular A Level subjects in the country, attracting students studying a wide range of other subjects. Many of these students enjoy the subject so much they eventually choose a biologically-related degree course. Others go on to careers in law, computing, accounting or business. Biology is a very rewarding and challenging course, which develops many of the skills essential for a successful career.
Many of our pupils go on to study for degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry, nursing, zoology, marine biology or forensic science.
Medicine is historically a highly significant subject at Epsom. The school maintains its historic association with The Royal Medical Foundation and the Biology Department continues to prepare a significant number of candidates for entry to leading medical schools through UKCAT and BMAT preparation and interview practice amongst other things.