Leaving Certificate Biology

Levels: Biology is offered at both Higher and Ordinary levels. For the last number of years, the uptake in Biology has been so high that it has been offered within two option lines, with both classes being mixed ability.

Teachers: Ms G O Brien, Ms Meagher & Ms Mortell

Brief overview: ‘Leaving Certificate biology aims to give learners an appreciation of the complexity of the processes of the cell and of the organism, of the diversity and interrelationships of all living things and their environment. Learners will develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of biology and how they relate to each other, and understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how biology contributes to society.’

Main areas of study:  The syllabus is composed of science for the enquiring mind or pure science, which constitutes approximately 70% of the syllabus, and the technological, political, social and economic aspects of biology, which constitutes the remaining 30%.

The syllabus consists of three units:

Unit One: Biology – The Study of Life (Scientific Method, Nutrition, Ecology)

Unit Two: The Cell (Respiration, Photosynthesis, Cell Continuity & Genetics)

Unit Three: The Organism (Bacteria, Fungi, Plant structure, Animal systems…)

The syllabus aims to ensure that students attain certain skills including:

• manipulation of apparatus

• following instructions

• observation

• recording

• interpretation of observations and results

• practical enquiry and application of results.   (LC Biology Syllabus)


Link to Syllabus:  The Biology syllabus is currently under review, but can be accessed through the following link –


Textbook: Leaving certificate Biology, Michael O’Callaghan, Edco 2009 & 2013

Other required material: Due to measures in place to try to prevent the spread of Covid19, students are required to have their own safety glasses for experiments. The school will order them from the local hardware shop & parents of incoming first years will be able to purchase them on the ‘Way2Pay’ system.

Fieldwork/Trips: Four of the twenty two Mandatory Activities on the Biology course are in the area of Ecology. We will study one of two nearby habitats; a Woodland habitat in Raheen Wood or a Rocky Seashore at the Flaggy Shore in North Clare run by the Burren OEC.

Students also attend a revision session of the other 18 Mandatory activities in January each year which is run by the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Limerick. This session is a timely revision tool prior to the mock exams in February. Scariff CC was the first school to avail of the use of the University laboratories fourteen years ago under the guidance of both undergraduates and senior lecturers in the department.