Gifted & Talented/Enrichment

Biology Department Ethos for inclusion

A level studentsBiology has the potential to engage and inspire all pupils. We aim to ensure that all pupils work together through the planned programmes for their classes, take part fully in lessons, and benefit from discussions and interactions with their teacher and their peers. Through this, we aim to provide each student with educational opportunities that complement their individual learning requirements.

Identification of Gifted Students

We use many different indicators to highlight gifted students in Biology, and, once identified, we keep a central register of these students’ names.

Initial indicators may be from national assessment data, external examinations and internal assessments. However, we are also aware that gifted students’ skills and inclinations vary widely, and gifted students can demonstrate their skills in various ways other than in formalised assessments. We are receptive to each students’ capabilities; pupils who are gifted in Biology are more likely to:

  • make connections quickly between facts and concepts they have learned.
  • use more extensive vocabulary than their peers.
  • read widely, particularly science related literature.
  • have scientific hobbies and interests.
  • be interested in finding out more about themselves and things around them.
  • enjoy researching obscure facts and applying scientific theories, ideas and models when explaining a range of phenomena.
  • be able to sustain their interest and go beyond an obvious answer to underlying mechanisms and greater depth.
  • be inquisitive about how things work and why things happen.
  • ask many questions, suggesting that they are willing to hypothesise and speculate.
  • think logically, providing plausible explanations for phenomena.
  • put forward objective arguments, using combinations of evidence and creative ideas, and question other people's conclusions (including their teacher's!)
  • decide quickly how to investigate fairly and manipulate variables.
  • consider alternative suggestions and strategies for investigations.
  • analyse data or observations and spot patterns easily.
  • strive for maximum accuracy in measurements of all sorts.
  • understand the concepts of reliability and validity when drawing conclusions from evidence.
  • enjoy talking to the teacher about new information or ideas.
  • be self-motivated, willingly putting in extra time.

Provision in lessons

All biology teachers establish a classroom climate where all pupils feel that they can contribute. A level biology workWe adopt teaching and organisational strategies that keep all pupils involved and suitably challenged, while giving them maximum opportunity to interact with their teacher. Written tasks and prep are adapted to suit particular needs.

The more gifted students are encouraged to move on to extension or enrichment tasks linked to the theme of the lesson so that they use and apply their skills in more challenging contexts. Other strategies may involve:

  • targeting more challenging questions at gifted pupils during whole-class questioning.
  • asking gifted pupils more challenging questions during individual, one-to-one questioning.
  • grouping gifted pupils together, offering opportunities to set more in-depth analytical or evaluative group tasks.
  • encouraging gifted pupils in mixed-ability groups to carry out in-depth research or higher-level analysis, which feeds back into the group effort.
  • Allowing students to take the lead and extend investigations and practical procedures.

Notice boardThe learning environment

  • We regularly update department notice boards to include recent news items detailing developments in Biology.
  • Examples of work by gifted students are displayed in each laboratory.
  • Posters which inform students about extended aspects of the syllabus are displayed around the department.
  • Journals, magazines and information leaflets are available for all students to borrow and read.
  • We have an extensive library of biology related books for students to borrow and read.

Olympiads, 2009Extra-curricular provision

The Biology Department provides various opportunities for gifted students outside lessons: -

Biology Olympiad

In February each year, the Institute of Biology run the British Biology Olympiad for A Level students.  The BBO tries to challenge and stimulate gifted students with an interest in Biology to expand and extend their talents.  In offering a wider syllabus than A-level, it allows gifted students to demonstrate their knowledge and to be suitably rewarded and publicly recognised by the award of medals, certificates and other prizes.  We enter our most able Upper 6th biologists, and occasionally highly gifted Lower 6th students for this competition.  We frequently receive medals and certificates of achievement for this.



Olympiads, 2012Olympiads, 2008

Biology Challenge

The Institute of Biology have recently started to run the Biology Challenge for pupils in Years 9 and 10. Its aim is to involve as many pupils as possible in a challenging and interesting biology competition. Extra materialQuestions are set on the school curriculum but the Biology Challenge also rewards those students whose knowledge of the subject has been increased by reading books and magazines, watching natural history programmes and taking notice of the news media for items of biological interest, students who are generally aware of our natural flora and fauna. We entered all Year 10 students for this competition since 2010. Our students have achieved numerous top awards for this.

Biology Society

The Biology Society was set up in 2006. It is mainly run and organised by students, with its president normally being an Upper 6th student. Biology lecture with Dr Paul RossiterIt arranges various events including discussion groups, debates and trips.

Lectures are often organised by members of the Biology Society. A Level students and interested GCSE students are encouraged to attend. Biology society members are also encouraged to provide talks to younger students to encourage their interest in Biology and natural History. Recent lectures have included:

Dr Adrian Evans lecture: ‘A Life in the Week of an Obstetrician’ – 28/11/2008
Dr Paul Rossiter lecture: ‘Germ Warfare in the Garden of Eden’ – 25/09/09
Dr John Longstreet lecture: ‘Maxillofacial Surgery’ – 26/10/2009
Dr Bevan-Jones Lecture: ‘Psychiatry and The Brain’ – 4/12/2009
Biology Society Christmas Lecture to School House: 'Darwin and the Diversity of Life' – 8/12/2009
Biology Society Christmas Lecture to School House: ‘Going Going Gone’ – 8/12/2010
Dr Annie Malcom lecture: ’In search of the perfect baby’ – 13/3/2011
Biology Society Lecture to School House: ‘The future of genes’ – 27/4/2012
Dr Paul Rossiter lecture: ‘Viruses, Vaccines, Victories and Vets’ – 2/05/2012

University preparation

We give advice and support to students who are preparing for Biology and Medical related degrees at University.  We arrange interview practice and discussion groups.  We also provide opportunities for students to extend their experience of sophisticated biotechnology techniques through sessions outside lessons.

Year 7 trip to Paignton ZooYear 7 trip to Paignton Zoo
Year 7 trip to Paignton Zoo

Year 7 Paignton Zoo Trip

Year 7 biology workThe Biology department organises a trip to Paignton Zoo each Autumn term Field Day.  Students receive a lecture on adaptations in animals that complements their curriculum.  Following this, teachers take the students in groups on a tour of the school.  Gifted students are given an individualised tour by Miss Wilson who is a zoology specialist, through which they are encouraged to extend their knowledge and understanding of adaptations in animals and animal behaviour.

Further Curriculum enrichment

We arrange a range of other trips and visits that give us the opportunity to extend the experiences of all students, whilst often being able to provide enhanced activities for gifted students.

  • Year 8 trip to Explore@Bristol, a hands-on science and discovery centre.
  • Year 11 and Lower 6th visits to Mrs Frankpitt’s farm.
  • Lower 6th visit to the Electron microscopy unit at Plymouth University.
  • Lower 6th Ecology field trip to Westward Ho!
  • Upper 6th Evolution lecture at Paignton Zoo.