Biological disciplines have been at the forefront of many scientific advances of recent years, particularly the genomic revolution. The field of Biology has expanded markedly, and is far more than just natural history. This is just one reason why Biology is a core subject at Oundle, with all pupils studying it from First Form to Fifth Form. An understanding of these new developments is essential for any well-rounded pupil.

We have a strong tradition of supporting theoretical concepts through practical work, ranging from traditional experiments and field trips, to gene technology. Trips and expeditions are a hallmark of the department, with junior groups travelling to Florida to enjoy Gatorland and the Everglades, and expeditions to the cloud forests of Honduras for Sixth Form pupils.

Our IGCSE results are excellent, with over 71% of the cohort achieving A* grades in 2013 and 2014. This success at IGCSE translates into popularity in the Sixth Form, with the department regularly having more than sixty pupils in each year group, and excellent results.

The department is accommodated in SciTec with eight large laboratories and a spacious prep room, and will soon have a projects room for Sixth Form use. The laboratories are fully resourced with state a G-Storm PCR machine, gel electrophoresis tanks, colorimeters, and binocular microscopes.

A large number of our pupils enter the Biology Challenge (13 to 15) and Olympiad (16 to 18) competitions each year. Over the last two years, twenty-six pupils have received medals in the Olympiad. Last year, Chris Gilmartin receiving a Gold medal and an invitation to take part in the selection round for the British Biology Olympiad Team. In 2014, eighteen pupils gained Challenge Gold awards given to the top 5% from the 30,000 pupils who enter.

Every year, we prepare pupils for their application to read Medicine with great success at top Russell Group universities in an increasingly competitive degree course. Part of this preparation involves dedicated lessons via the extension course programme, which helps pupils prepare for the BMAT and UKCAT, as well as Medical Society, whose members gain access to experts in various fields.

Dr P J Rowe
Head of Department