Year 13 Biology and ESS Field Visit to Slapton Ley Friday 21st – Monday 24th October

Friday 21st – Monday 24th October

Approximately 85 year 13 biology and ESS students took part in a field study course at Slapton Ley in Devon at the start of October half term. The main focus of the field course was to gather inspiration and data to complete our internal assessments using the amazing facilities and beautiful natural environment. The special features of the trip included: using ecological sampling techniques to study a range of ecosystems within the Slapton area, learning many important principles of Ecology fitting perfectly to both the Biology and ESS syllabus and each formulating and carrying out our own individual projects for the Internal Assessment components of the International Baccalaureate diploma course. These projects ranged from how the soil quality affected the richness of species to observing the ducks’ diving behaviour at the Ley.

The weather throughout the trip was fairly pleasant particularly considering the expected Autumn climate. On Friday afternoon and Saturday we visited and studied the areas we could use, these included the ancient woodland, a freshwater stream, shingle ridge succession, Slapton Ley Nature Reserve and the rocky shore at Gorah rocks. After viewing these locations, both the staff at the field course centre and our own staff provided evening sessions on how to structure and develop our ideas and taught us about the key components we needed to investigate. However, on the last few days the weather took a turn for the worse as it became very windy, wet and cold yet all of us were determined to carry out their investigations and just put a few more layers on. We were allowed to carry out our own individual investigation and were allowed to decide on which location we would be collecting data at with the support of both the TGS staff and the field trip staff.

The biology field visit was both educational and enjoyable, the staff really made an extra commitment to brightened the spirits especially on the days where the weather wasn’t favourable. On the first night TGS staff ran a quiz which we all took part in and each night we were allowed time to relax where we could play ping pong, go to our dorm rooms and chat with our friends. The canteen on the field visit was especially good providing delicious food and catering to all requirements.

Overall despite the weather, we all returned to Tonbridge on the Monday evening with our analysis mostly done and just some finishing touches like the conclusion and the evaluation to write. I definitely think going on the Field Course to Slapton Ley has helped my Biology, and doing the majority of my internal assessment at the field centre was really helpful especially considering all the facilities such as the libraries, excellent staff and equipment. I would definitely recommend going on the field visit for all the current Year 12s next year 20th and 23rd October 2017 and would like to thank all the 7 teaching staff who accompanied us on the trip.