A GCE Biology course developed in partnership with the University of York

Northern England

Reports from pilot centres on the AS and the A2 (various years)

Christ the King School, Southport
Runshaw College, Cumbria

Wyndham School, Cumbria

Shelley College, Huddersfield

King Ecbert School, Sheffield


Christ the King Catholic High School, Southport

The content is presented in novel and exciting ways, and the students are certainly enjoying this more than the previous course. The themes make links between biological principles. Topics are related to real life and so are more immediate and relevant. This has been a breath of fresh air as far as AS/A2 Biology is concerned.

The big changes from the course we were doing before have been the comprehensive quality support in the form of ICT interactives, worksheets, and web-links. There are so many resources to choose from - I've had to think carefully about which to choose for maximum benefit.

The greatest challenge has been the amount of material to assimilate before lessons, and some new topics to learn. You need to maintain a good pace in the AS year.

I'm having to rethink the way I teach, allowing students to think for themselves.

Looking ahead to the A2, we expect students to really enjoy the course. They've looked at the topics and expressed an interest in studying them - what a refreshing change!

The whole concept of SNAB is wonderful. The resources are excellent, and as a new centre we have appreciated the support from the team in York. Well done!

Frances Bowlin and Pete Halsall


Runshaw College, Lancashire

The students love the story-lines and how it makes biology relevant to them. The whole package is so motivating for tutors and students.

The big changes from the course we were doing before have been:

  • relating biology to real life
  • more practical work
  • more activity-based learning
  • more use of IT
  • much more varied teaching and learning

The greatest challenge has been becoming more conversant with IT, and using it more regularly in the classroom.

Looking ahead to the A2, we expect higher retention rates, and greater motivation of students than those on traditional courses.

The SNAB team is excellent - instant feedback and help available.

Jill Greenhalgh


Wyndham School, Cumbria

Students really enjoy the course. They find it relevant and up-to-date and are positive about it.

The big changes from the course we were doing before have been:

  • relevant content, not as 'dry' as the previous course
  • interactive IT
  • the 'visit' and the practical paper are much preferred by both staff and students
  • having a dedicated text-book, activities and answers
  • the technicians' sheets make life a lot easier for them.

The greatest challenge has been the IT.

Looking ahead to the A2 we expect to enjoy the course even more!

Anne Owens


July 2005: Shelley College, Huddersfield

What students most liked about SNAB this year was the interactive nature of the lessons.

We found the administration of 38 individual projects a challenge!

Keith Williamson

(Justine Tipler from Shelley College reported in June 2004: "It's great, very refreshing, definitely a winner with the students.")


July 2005: King Ecbert School, Sheffield

Students enjoyed and appreciated the A2 more than the AS, particularly the forensics topic.

Coaxing ideas out of students can be very challenging! We also found it a challenge to ensure that all A2 investigations were original and individual.

Students who completed the A2 have gone on to study medicine, sports science, physiotherapy, and law among other things.

Peter Lancaster

See also Ofsted on SNAB at King Ecgbert School