Chemistry is sometimes described as the central Science and the Chemistry department facilitates students in exploring the subject where they develop scientific knowledge, conceptual understanding and an understanding of the nature, processes and methods of Science. Budding Chemists learn to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry and problem-solving skills in the laboratory and real world. Teaching is both theoretical and practical in nature with students particularly enjoying the practical experiments and the satisfaction of solving a challenging problem.
Years 7 to 9
Key stage 3 takes place in a designated chemistry laboratory where students start Year 7 exploring the importance of safety before leaping in to carrying out small investigations to highlight the scientific approach. The curriculum then moves on to look at the big ideas and skills including the particle model of matter as well as the elements and how they combine to make all the substances there are. Observational skills are key as other areas of Chemistry are explored though practical experiments creating the foundations in essential knowledge for GCSE.
GCSE Chemistry builds on KS3 with the content becoming richer and the models that explain and describe matter and its reactions becoming more in depth. Practical activities remain a big part of the curriculum whilst time is also dedicated to developing more detailed descriptions of at the atomic and sub atomic scale alongside increased understanding and fluency in the language of Chemistry. Numeracy is a key aspect of the problems that have to be solved.
A level Chemistry rapidly builds on GCSE going into greater detail than before by challenging and expanding some of the, simplified, models met to date. Organic Chemistry is handled in a new way and aspects that at GCSE were qualitative in nature get a more rigorous quantitative exploration. Practical work continues to be important with the A level assessing practical competency as well as understanding of the subject. Chemistry A level is rewarding but challenging. It is notorious for being “difficult” but is also, with good reason, generally a requirement for some of the most competitive next steps in Education such as studying medicine.