Life! But not as you know it

The diversity of life on this planet never fails to surprise even the best-travelled observer. Under the microscope, the most innocuous-looking glass slide reveals a world of micro-organisms. The need for informed opinions about the natural world has never been greater.

Turn on the TV any night of the week and you will find a wealth of inspiring documentaries bringing the natural world to your sitting room. We study this amazing world day in, day out; with us, you will learn fascinating facts about it that we so often take for granted.

Biology offers students the academic satisfaction of problem-solving within a real life framework that they find both enjoyable and inspiring. At Brentwood, we have a hands-on approach to the teaching of Biology. Our facilities are excellent, allowing all our students to participate fully in practical techniques. We emphasise investigative skills and fieldwork: we like to teach in context. On their residential field course, the Sixth Formers learn about ecology in the field, rather than in a classroom.

We also seek to ignite students' interest in the natural world and to inspire them to study the subject beyond the classroom, or to a higher level. Our Biology teachers have a broad range of specialist interests: from complex biochemistry, to the psychological basis of human behaviour. We encourage our students and support their interests, wherever they may lead them.


Field Trip to Nettlecombe Court

The Lower Sixth Biologists embarked on their ecology field course to Nettlecombe Court in Somerset on Friday 24th June. Forty four A Level and IB students donned their wellies, applied liberal amounts of sun cream and prepared themselves for 4 days of Ecological study.

The journey to the Field Centre (made slightly longer thanks to a last minute dash for Krispy Kreme doughnuts by one particular student) was made worth it by the sight of the picturesque grounds and buildings of Nettlecombe Court. Our students rapidly unloaded the bus and before they knew it had moved into their rooms, dressed in waterproofs and made their way onto the steep slope beside the house avoiding sheep and conducting experiments on the grassland species around them. As the evening drew in the highs and lows of the field centre began to be seen:
Highs – Fantastic cake, beautiful views, on-hand ecological experts, bunk beds, cooked breakfast
Lows – Mobile phone signal only at the top of a very steep hill, making own packed lunch, 11 boys in one room

Saturday took us to Braunton Burrows in Devon. This international nature reserve is perhaps the finest example of sand dunes in the UK and allowed our students to study the succession process first hand. Fortunately the weather was not too hot and our students excelled as they conducted their fieldwork through the dunes arriving back at the centre worn out by the day’s hard work.

Sunday brought clear skies and a fantastic day by the river studying the invertebrates that inhabit the deeper and shallower areas. The idyllic conditions made it hard to believe that we were actually working! The nice weather also allowed us to walk to study the conservation techniques being carried out on the ancient oak woodland surrounding the centre. Despite the abundance of flies our students absorbed their surroundings but were eager to get back to the centre to enjoy the balmy evening. An interschool rounders match lasted until dusk, allowing our fine athletes to show off their skills, with most batting and fielding in fine form.

The final day brought with it a serious end to the course with the A Level students completing two practical assessments while the IB students finished their study of woodland conservation. We boarded the bus (summer work in hand!) and said our farewells after a productive and fun four days.