Blessed William Howard

The Painsley Catholic Academy was established in 2012. We are the largest Catholic multi-academy company in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

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Course title:  Biology A Level AQA Block A

Academic year:


Course Venues:

Blessed William Howard

Course Type:

A Level

Course Code:



2 years


Course Description:

In biology, the subject content is relevant to real world experiences and is interesting to learn. A-level Biology is a stepping stone to future study, and universities have been consulted to allow students to develop the skills that they want to see.

Biology is fundamentally an experimental subject.

Course Content:

The topics for Y12 are:

1 Biological molecules

2 Cells

3 Organisms exchange substances with their environment

4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

The additional topics for Y13 are:

5 Energy transfers in and between organisms

6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

8 The control of gene expression


Entry requirements: 

The standard entry criteria to study in the sixth form are a 9-4 in at least seven different subjects, including English and mathematics, which would usually be at grade 4 or above.

To study science subjects at A-level (biology, chemistry, physics or psychology), you will be required to achieve at least a 6 grade in combined science or have achieved  6 or above in the individual subject area if taken as a separate science.


A-level assessment is in three papers, each 2 hours:

Paper 1 (35% of A-level) covers unit 1 (1-4 below), it is a mixture of short and long answer questions and there are 15 marks available for extended response questions.

Paper 2 (35% of A-level) covers unit 2 (5-8 below), it is also a mixture of short and long answer questions, but with 15 marks available for a comprehension question.

Paper 3 (30% of the A-level) covers all 8 topics, with more emphasis on practical techniques, critical analysis of given experimental data and one essay.

Financial Information:

There is only one book for the entire 2 year course; ISBN:  978-0-19-835177-1 Textbooks can be bought or hired from the school at a price of £42.00. If hired, the full deposit will be returned at the end of the A2 course subsequent to the book being returned in a good condition.

Future opportunities:

This course is designed to nurture a passion for Biology and lay the groundwork for further study in courses like biological sciences and medicine.

Further information:

A-level biology is a 2-year linear course and students will sit all the A level exams at the end of their course. For further information please speak to Laura Harris or Rachel Broomhall.