The study of Biology offers an exciting and diverse curriculum to inspire a love of, and respect for, the natural living world, and encourages a lifelong interest in biology.

Head of Department: Mrs Nadine de Chazal

Our Biology curriculum, including both the International GCSE and A Level course, places a strong emphasis on practical skills and we are very fortunate to have extremely well-resourced biology laboratories, extensive grounds with a range of habitats, and a dedicated biology technician.

Lower School curriculum

Girls in Remove (Year 7) and Lower Fourth (Year 8) follow the biology section of the Common Entrance 13+ Science syllabus which involves plenty of practical experiments, group work and data interpretation.

Upper School curriculum

In the Upper Fourth (Year 9), girls begin to study topics from the Edexcel International GCSE Biology specification, which leads to a separate science Biology International GCSE qualification at the end of the Upper Fifth (Year 11).

Sixth Form curriculum

In the Sixth Form, girls follow Edexcel A Level Biology specification B.

In addition, the Upper Sixth (Year 13) girls attend an offsite residential field course, where they carry out ecological surveys. A high proportion of girls who study Biology in the Sixth Form go on to read biological related degrees, including medicine, veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences.


We are proud that a number of our girls regularly achieve awards in national Biology competitions, such as the Biology Challenge, the Intermediate Biology Olympiad and the Biology Olympiad.

Full details of the curriculum are available in the I/GCSE and Sixth Form options publications. Further information about the teaching and learning of Biology may be obtained by contacting the Head of Department, Mrs Nadine de Chazal.

Meet the Biology Department

Mrs Nadine de Chazal

Mrs de Chazal has been either studying or teaching Biology for over twenty years but says she is still learning new things about this broad and fascinating subject! She is particularly interested in evolutionary ecology but, at this crucial time in our history, her focus is on the causes and solutions for the climate crisis. Indeed, she can usually be found in B1 encouraging her pupils to go out and help make the differences needed to save our planet. Go and chat with her to find out more about what we can all do to help! Mrs de Chazal is also a keen violin player and very much enjoys supporting the orchestras at Downe House when she can.

Miss Christina Pugsley

Miss Pugsley has been teaching at Downe House for a number of years and is currently Head of Science. She completed a Biological Sciences degree, with First Class Honours, at the University of Warwick and then a PGCE at the University of Exeter. Miss Pugsley really enjoys teaching all year groups and going beyond the curriculum by sharing information about a range of books, documentaries, and radio programmes with girls, to extend their knowledge and interests beyond the classroom. Having recently started learning the clarinet, as a non-musician Miss Pugsley can fully relate to those who find learning something new challenging and frustrating when others appear to grasp it straight away.

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

Now accepting more Day Pupils for September 2025! Learn more at our Open Event on Thursday 9 May.
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