Biology is a popular subject at Clifton College. All pupils study the subject up to GCSE, most as a separate GCSE subject alongside Chemistry and Physics, and some as part of Science and Additional Science. Nearly a quarter of all Sixth Form pupils study Biology at A Level.


Teaching in the department concentrates on practical work whenever possible, with the emphasis on helping students appreciate facts from investigation.

At GCSE, we provide pupils with a thorough grounding in biological principles and experimental design. 

At A Level, our programme of study provides an excellent foundation for pupils interested in any aspect of biology, particularly medicine, veterinary science, and physiotherapy. There is also an emphasis on the ‘real scientific skills’ which are required to succeed in further education. Pupils have the opportunity to research a biological issue of personal interest and to carry out a research investigation that is both challenging and rewarding.

Extra preparation classes are offered for pupils intending to read Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry or Natural Sciences.

Why Study At Clifton College?

The Biology Department has use of five recently refurbished and fully equipped modern teaching laboratories, and a computer room. Students also have access to the Stone Library, with its extensive collection of scientific books and periodicals.

We are also fortunate enough to have an impressive collection of zoological specimens dating back to the origins of the Science School at Clifton College. These range from animal skulls and skeletons, to preserved invertebrates and fossils.

Fieldwork is an important part of practical biology. Third Formers visit Bristol Zoo to learn about adaptation through hands-on activities and experience with live animals. Sixth Formers visit the Wild Place Conservation Park, where they learn about the conservation of animals from Madagascar, East Africa and the Congo. Lower Sixth pupils are taken to Kenfig Nature Reserve in Wales, to complete a study of sand dune succession.

Pupils can also opt to enter the Biology Olympiad or Biology Challenge, or join the school’s Biology Club, where they can go pond-dipping, bird watching and bat searching.