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

South-west England and Hampshire

Reports from centres on the AS and the A2 from 2003, 2004 and 2005

Plymouth High School
Newent Community School, Gloucestershire

Clifton College

St Mary Redcliffe & Temple School, Bristol

The Royal High School, Bath

Hardenhuish School, Wiltshire

Ringwood School, Hampshire

Itchen College, Southampton

Barton Peveril College, Eastleigh

King Edward VI School, Southampton


Report from a pilot centre in July 2005: Plymouth High School for Girls

What students most liked about SNAB this year were compiling the visit report, the core practicals, and learning about behaviour and forensic science.
We found the critical window challenging.

Student who completed the A2 this year have gone on to various university courses, in medicine, psychology, environmental science, nursing, biochemistry, sports science, and biological sciences.

Viv Jones


Report from a pilot centre: Newent Community School, Gloucestershire

What students liked most about the SNAB AS, and the greatest changes friom what we were doing before, have been: the up-to-date topics, the variety of methods used in the classroom, and the enthusiasm for ecology from the SNAB team.

In the A2 they liked the forensic topic - corpses, maggots, and all. The also liked the interactive electronic support.

The greatest challenge has been stepping back, allowing students to find their way and learn independently.

Students are going on to do degrees in medicine, biology, natural sciences, marine biology and biochemistry.

This course is a breath of fresh air, injecting a new enthusiasm and energy into a fascinating and fast-moving subject. It's turned our department round. Not from a results point of view - these have always been good - but our students are now more enthusiastic and tuned into Biology and its place in the modern world, and we feel re-energised too.

Des Marshall and Jane Price


Report from a pilot centre in July 2005: Clifton College

A2 students were wowed by the biochemistry! The animations were a hit, as were the muscle function models.

AS students loved the embryonic development / cell cycle / cell signals stuff. And the issue report – they loved being able to pursue their own interests.

Students have gone on to study medicine, law, biological sciences, physiotherapy, and sports studies.

Linda Woodburn


Report from a pilot centre in June 2005: St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, Bristol

Students liked the storylines around which the biology is built, which made it interesting and relevant.

We found organising the timing of the A2 coursework a challenge, and advising student on how to write the issue/visit report so as to match the criteria [ed's note: this should be easier in the course starting Sept 05]

Students who have completed the A2 have gone on to do medicine, biology, veterinary science, physiotherapy, and theology. There are more doing biology-related subjects than previously.

Having a coherent, dedicated course and materials makes understanding and learning the biology easier. It’s good to have the exam matching the course, and practical skills are developed for learning rather than just assessment.

Keith House

(In 2004 Keith House reported "The Ofsted inspector was very complimentary about our SNAB AS lesson.")


Report from a pilot centre in June 2003: Royal High School, Bath

The story-line contexts make it relevant to the pupils. There are a lot of activities and other support to help pupils to think for themselves.

The greatest challenge has been fitting in the quantity of work at AS. This will obviously improve with experience of having taught it before. [ed's note: this is reduced in the course starting in Sept 05]

Looking ahead to the A2, we expect pupils to remain enthused and interested.

Jo Fletcroft


Report from a pilot centre: Hardenhuish School, Wiltshire

The course is up-to-date and relevant. Students have more scope to work independently, with a wealth of carefully constructed materials, written and animated.

Getting the ICT up and running has been a challenge, but the animations are excellent for illustrating ideas. It's useful to have worksheets available in electronic format for students who misplace their copies.

Looking ahead to the A2, we expect story-lines that grip students' interest. Students have now grasped the SNAB approach, and I think they will sail through the A2 ideas!

Andy Stone and C. Woods


Report from a pilot centre: Ringwood School, Hampshire

Students enjoy lots about the SNAB AS course. They enjoy many of the activities, including measuring their blood pressure, breeding zebra fish, and the garlic practical. They loved the Visit and enjoy using laptops in the lab.

Changes from the course we were doing before include much more responsibility for their own learning being handed over to students and the substantial ICT component.

The greatest challenge has been delivering the ICT component in a school which was unprepared for it.

Looking ahead to the A2 we expect a great deal of hard work! More global warming. We're looking foward to some of the materials.

Gill Hickman


Report from a pilot centre in June 2003: Itchen College, Southampton

Students liked the interactive ICT exercises which could be repeated over and over again. Up-to-the minute news items can be incorporated in lessons.

In the A2 students particularly liked the opportunity to learn about forensic science.

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

  • the use of VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and ICT in the laboratory
  • more applied contexts

The greatest challenge has been dealing with all the new material.

Students who've done the A2 are going on to do degrees in subject areas they've encountered in SNAB.


Report from a pilot centre: Barton Peveril College, Hampshire

What students liked most about SNAB A2 was the interactive, topic-bsed approach, particularly forensic science.

The big change from the course we were doing before has been that students need more knowledge and understanding of fundamental topics, such as transport across membranes.

The greatest challenge has been the open-ended coursework.

SNAB staff have been very supportive.

Students who have done the SNAB course are going on to medicine, biology, conservation and so on, as in previous years.

Jo Dunne


Report from a pilot centre in July 2005: King Edward VI School, Southampton

What students most liked about SNAB this year were:

  • the ICT and control over their own learning
  • the AS coursework, particularly the issue/visit report
  • the contexts and unfamiliar A2 material.

We found getting through topics 4 and 5* at AS challenging, and fitting core practicals in to one-hour lessons. [*ed’s note: these are reduced in the new course starting Sept 05]

Students who have completed the A2 have gone onto all the normal things, including lots of medics and several vets.

We have had a very high AS -> A2 retention rate, very positive feedback from pupils, and good results!

Steve Hall