Another busy year in the Biology Department at Runnymede started with news that all of last year’s departing Year 13s had embarked upon their first choice courses at top UK universities, and for the rest of the year our current VIth Form have been working hard and making excellent progress to emulate them. Three of our Year 13 pupils (Elena and Blanca C. & Amanda C.) have already been accepted to the University of Navarra to study medicine, a big success and a tribute to their dedication and hard work. Others in the Year 13 Biology group are aiming to secure the A Level grades they need to study medical degrees and other biology or science-related degrees. Good luck to all them.

The study of Biology has always been relevant for pupils preparing to leave school and make their way in the world. This is perhaps more true today than ever before. In an age when areas of scientific knowledge are challenged with cries of fake news, and in a world where evolution and climate change are challenged by narrow agenda groups, it is important to gain a grounding in the evidence-based principles and findings of biology in order to assess the validity of claims made by people about how we utilise the Earth’s resources and to understand how we might be adversely affecting the world we live in.

Like other years our underlying aim is to make the learning in Biology as practical and ‘hands on’ as possible, with pupils gaining an appreciation in lessons of exactly how science works and a notion of the precision and accuracy required to investigate our ideas in order to make sound and valid conclusions. Many pupils have made excellent academic progress over the year and some of them did so well in exams that they are worthy of special mention here. In Year 9 end of year exams An-Hsien W., Angelica O. and Yago P. were all outstanding, and equal praise is due to Sofía A., Elena V. & Rocío B. for outstanding Year 10 exams.

I would like to wish all Year 11 pupils good luck and hope their IGCSE exams deliver the top grades that their hard work deserves. Many of them will, I feel sure, reach the A and A* grades they fully merit in the final exams. I look forward to welcoming back all those who have opted to continue the study of biology into the VIth Form.

I will finish by mentioning the two Departmental field trips we went on this year. As usual Year 8 went to the Gredos Mountains in May. The trip was a huge success, thanks largely to the enthusiasm, excellent conduct and fine attitude of the pupils, who were among the most well behaved groups we have taken on this trip. At the end of June our Year 12 pupils went to Somerset to do A Level ecology fieldwork. This coincided with some of the hottest June weather the UK had seen for more than forty years; something the field centre was not really equipped for. This made the trip an endurance test at times, but I commend all of them for maintaining a positive outlook and for completing the academic work admirably well in the face of adversity. None of us would have thought that our UK trip would have been too hot for us to work. Is this another sign that global warming is getting out of hand? I’m sure a biologist could answer that one.