The aim of the department is to encourage students to further develop their interest and understanding of Chemistry and learn how it is relevant in our everyday lives. Through this we will endeavour to provide opportunities for students to develop important skills such as numeracy, data handling, communication to name a few. Practical work is integral to studying Chemistry and students will be able to carry this out independently and in groups.
Students who study chemistry have use of two fully equipped practical science laboratories. We have a lab technician, Mr P Clarke, who assists the teachers with the set up and running of practical activities. Also, we book the computer room and take our students there to do ICT work. Students, at all levels are taught by subject specialists and receive notes written by the members of the department which are tailored to the relevant specifications.
During Year 10, students are taught chemistry two periods per week. They study approximately five topics in the school year.
Unit 1: Chemical Reactions
Unit 2: Environmental Chemistry (cross-curricular collaboration with Geography)
Unit 3: Acids and Alkalis
Unit 4: Periodic Table
Unit 5: Chemical Analysis
These units start to prepare students for their GCSE studies by improving their practical skills and introducing them concepts like writing chemical equations.
GCSE chemistry is taught as a component of the double award specification and also as a separate science for those who want more in-depth understanding. We follow the CCEA specification. Students, at all levels, receive notes written by the members of the department which are tailored to the relevant specifications. GCSE classes are taught in mixed ability sets of approximately 20 students per group. An emphasis is placed on practical work, which provides students with analytical, problem solving and project design skills, encourages deep thinking and helps to develop an appreciation of the importance of safety in a working environment. Such transferable skills can then be developed further in both higher education and the workplace.
Chemistry ‘A’- level is divided into 6 modules and builds on all the skills and knowledge obtained in GCSE. Three of these modules are completed in lower sixth and the remaining modules are completed during the upper sixth year. The ‘A’-level specification is taught by specialists; Mrs. Buchanan has responsibility for most of the organic chemistry with some physical and inorganic and Dr. Swann has responsibility for teaching mainly inorganic and physical chemistry.
Chemistry is a very popular ‘A’-level choice with approximately 40 in sixth form. Many of the students go on to read medical related subjects at university; chemistry is often a pre-requisite for entry to such courses. Other students study chemistry in order to keep their ‘options open’ when applying for university courses as it is recognised as a strong academic subject across the board.
Studying Chemistry provides opportunities for students to study a wide range of careers. It is typically studied to pursue a career in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science and Chemistry Engineering. However, many of our students go to study degrees such as Biochemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nursing and Accountancy. More information can be found: https://edu.rsc.org/future-in-chemistry/career-options/job-profiles
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