Biology is taught within a combined science curriculum in Year 7 and by subject specialists from Years 8 to 13. Biology comprises a broad range of disciplines encompassing the study of life from the molecular level, through cells, tissues and organisms, to populations and ecosystems. Advances in biological sciences have direct relevance to our everyday lives: for example, new medical treatments, especially technological advances in genetics, cancer diagnosis and treatment, the protection of endangered species, and the development of new food products. These breakthroughs have improved the quality of life for millions of people, led to a greater understanding of our impact on the environment, and the need for better resource management and conservation. Biology is of interest to anyone wanting to understand more about the way these issues will affect their lives.


Girls follow AQA Biology, Chemistry and Physics, as separate subjects, and a small group as part of a Combined Science ‘trilogy’ course. This ensures that every pupil studies a balanced science curriculum. The curriculum tests knowledge and understanding of Biology and the application, analysis and evaluation of that knowledge in a context relevant to the 21st century. It is designed to develop core skills for studying Biology at A Level.

A Level

Girls follow the AQA A level Biology course. They learn about many aspects of biological sciences in an interesting, informative and intellectually stimulating way. This builds on the knowledge gained at GCSE and covers topics as diverse as cancer treatment with epigenetic therapy, to the impact of intensive farming on the environment. Our experienced teachers work to ensure that every individual girl has the very best opportunity to achieve her full potential through guided and independent learning.

Science is taught in purpose built, subject specific laboratories supported by a team of three science technicians.As a result of studying Biology at Mayfield, girls have recently gone on to study Medicine at a wide variety of universities from Bristol to Southampton; Midwifery at Leeds University, and Veterinary Medicine at Edinburgh, as well as a range of other courses including Biochemistry, Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, and Environmental Sciences.

Girls in Year 7 and 8 have the opportunity to join Lower School Science Club, as well as attending a variety of lectures and careers events by external speakers and returning pupils. In addition, girls in Year 9 attend a summer STEM careers fair. In KS4, all Year 10 girls participate in the Biology Challenge, an online competition run by the Society of Biology. We also run Dissection Club for pupils in Years 11 to 13 to research the anatomy of a wide variety of living organisms. A Level students also participate in online competitions run by The Society of Biology and attend lectures by prominent scientists in London.

Head of Department

Mr Mark Rich

Mark Rich joined Mayfield in September 2020 and took on the role of Head of Biology the following year. He has taught at a wide range of schools including Canford and ran the Biology Departments at St Helen’s and St Katharine’s in Abingdon, and Queen Anne’s Caversham for over 20 years. While serving in the Army in a former life, he completed an MA in Science Education, writing a final dissertation on ‘The Philosophy of Science’.  He has a particular interest in behavioral ecology having carried out research in this field when a student at Oxford. He also has a passion for natural history, particularly entomology and downland flora. Mark has extensive experience in A Level examining, including moderation of investigative projects. He leads a very strong team of four biologists whose focus is on inspiring students to develop a lifelong love of Biology through challenging, creative and rigorous learning activities, whilst offering a wide range of extra-curricular STEM opportunities. These include Medical Society for students aspiring to a career in healthcare or veterinary science, and an Oxbridge discussion group. His philosophy is that when you are tired of Biology you are tired of life!