Chemistry is an integral part of everyday life and provides students with an alternative way of viewing the world around them. Chemistry helps to explain not only many major industrial processes but also those things which we take for granted: clean water, tasty food, clothing, and much more. Through studying Chemistry, students will be better equipped to be able to see the hidden beauty in the world. Chemistry is taught from Year 7 to Year 11 to all students and continues into the sixth form for those students opting to study A-Level Chemistry.
As far as possible, lessons are structured so that ideas and concepts are explored through practical investigation. Lessons are designed so that students learn in a variety of ways through group work, pair work or individual study, as appropriate. Teachers encourage students to ask questions and to challenge current theories.
The Chemistry Department provides a supportive and nurturing environment in which students can learn about the important role of Chemistry in everyday life and explore the increasing contribution which Chemistry makes to human advancement.
Our highly motivated and skilled Chemistry practitioners are supported by a committed and wonderfully efficient laboratory technician who supports us in the delivery of a practical-based curriculum. Members of the Chemistry department have a wealth of scientific experience both inside and outside education, which can be drawn upon in lessons and in enthusing students about Chemistry.
KEY STAGE 3
Year 7 / Year 8
Students in Years 7 and 8 currently have one lesson of Chemistry per week (50 minutes of teaching time).
Topics covered include:
- Working safely in the laboratory
- The particle model and explaining physical changes such as changes of state
- Mixing, dissolving and solubility
- Separating mixtures, including distillation and chromatography
- Elements, compounds and the Periodic Table
- Chemical reactions including combustion, oxidation and thermal decomposition
- Pressure, concentration and diffusion
- Conservation of mass
- Acids, alkalis and indicators
- Neutralisation and making salts
- Reactions of acids with metals and carbonates
- Reactivity series and displacement reactions
Around 30 students in Year 8 are given the opportunity to apply to attend an after-school Science and Engineering Club. The Club has been running since 2007 and has proven very popular every year. Activities include making bath bombs and other beauty products, hot air balloons, solar-powered buggies, wind turbines, periscopes and zoetropes. Students also dissect owl pellets and use their soldering skills to make speakers for their phones or MP3 players.
KEY STAGE 4
Chemistry is a core GCSE subject and is taught by subject specialists in our fully equipped laboratories. Students in Years 9 to 11 follow the AQA GCSE Chemistry (8462) or the AQA GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy (8464) course. Chemistry content, practical skills, Working Scientifically and Maths for Chemistry skills are taught within lessons and are all examined within the written papers taken at the end of Year 11.
The teaching of the GCSE courses commences in Year 9. Currently all Year 9 students have two lessons of Chemistry per week (1 hour 40 minutes of teaching time).
- Atomic Structure
- The Periodic Table
- Rates of reaction
- Structure and Bonding
On entry to Year 10, students can opt to either study GCSE Chemistry as a standalone single award subject worth one GCSE, or as part of a GCSE Combined Science Trilogy double award course worth two GCSEs.
Students taking the GCSE Chemistry course cover more content and currently have 3 lessons of Chemistry per week (2.5 hours of teaching time); students taking the Combined Science Trilogy course currently have 2 lessons of Chemistry per week (1 hour 40 minutes of teaching time).
Topics covered in Combined Science: Trilogy course:
- Crude oil and fuels
- The Earth’s Atmosphere
- Chemical Calculations
- Chemical changes
Additional topics covered in Chemistry course only:
- Using resources – rusting, polymers and fertilisers
Topic covered in Combined Science: Trilogy course:
- Energy changes
- Chemical analysis
- The Earth’s Resources
Additional topics covered in Chemistry course only:
- Organic reactions
- Polymers and polymerisation
- Using our resources – alloys, glass, composites and the Haber process
Students sit 2 chemistry examination papers at the end of Year 11.
GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy
Paper 1: Foundation or Higher Tier (1 hour 15 minutes / 70 marks), 16.7% of GCSE
Paper 2: Foundation or Higher Tier (1 hour 15 minutes / 70 marks), 16.7% of GCSE
Paper 1: Foundation or Higher Tier (1 hour 45 minutes / 100 marks), 50% of GCSE
Paper 2: Foundation or Higher Tier (1 hour 45 minutes / 100 marks), 50% of GCSE
KEY STAGE 5
At A-Level we follow the AQA AS and A-Level Chemistry (7404 / 7405) course. The content of the AS is identical and co-teachable to that of the first year of A-level.
Year 12 (AS / Year 1 of A Level)
Students in Year 12 currently have 6 lessons of Chemistry per week (5 hours of teaching time).
- Physical Chemistry: Atomic structure; Amount of substance; Bonding; Energetics; Kinetics; Chemical equilibrium; Redox reactions
- Inorganic Chemistry: Periodicity; Group 2, the alkaline earth metals; Group 7, the halogens.
- Organic Chemistry: Introduction to organic nomenclature and isomerism; Alkanes; Alkenes; Halogenoalkanes; Alcohols; Organic analysis and structure determination – infra-red (IR) and mass (MS) spectroscopy.
Year 13 (Year 2 of A Level)
Students in Year 13 currently have 6 lessons of Chemistry per week (5 hours of teaching time).
- Physical chemistry: Thermodynamics; Kinetics – rate equations; Chemical equilibrium; Electrochemistry; Acids, bases and buffers.
- Inorganic chemistry: Periodicity; Transition Metal chemistry; Reactions of inorganic compounds in aqueous solution.
- Organic chemistry: Further nomenclature and isomerism; Carbonyl compounds, carboxylic acids and their derivatives; Aromatic chemistry; Amines; Polymerisation; Amino Acids, proteins and DNA; Organic synthesis; Organic analysis and structure determination – N.M.R. (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy and chromatography
Students sit 3 chemistry examination papers at the end of Year 13.
Paper 1: Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (2 hours / 105 marks), 35% of A Level
Paper 2: Organic and Physical Chemistry (2 hours / 105 marks), 35% of A Level
Paper 3: Practical Skills, Data Handling and Synopsis (2 hours / 90 marks), 30% of A Level