Chemistry is a highly successful and popular subject throughout the school. It offers many enrichment and co-curricular opportunities from Year 7 to Year 13, beginning with Chemistry Club and continuing up to preparations for the International Chemistry Olympiad.
In Year 7, Chemistry is taught as part of the General Science lessons. During Years 8 and 9, all pupils are taught Chemistry. For GCSE, pupils can choose to study Chemistry as a single science or opt for the Dual Award. To take Chemistry in the Sixth Form, students must have taken the single science course at GCSE.
As Chemistry forms only a partial role in the General Science course, the department offers a Chemistry Club for Year 7 boys which allows pupils to engage with the core of the subject and explore some messy experiments which are not usually part of mainstream teaching.
The department has developed its own textbooks for use in Years 8 and 9. The Year 8 syllabus focuses on Environmental Chemistry and aims to give the pupils a better understanding of how chemistry affects our world. During Year 8, the best performing boys are selected to represent the School in the Annual Salters Festival of Chemistry at Liverpool University.
The Year 9 syllabus covers a broader spectrum of Chemistry but retains the same aim of providing pupils with a good understanding of how it affects their lives. This course provides boys with a solid base to start their GCSE work while delivering knowledge to help with other science subjects.
During Year 9, we offer the opportunity to become a member of the “Top of the Bench” team and participate in a competition organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Another highlight of Year 9 is the trip to the Catalyst Museum.
Chemistry is the study of the properties of all types of materials, including how they may be converted into useful and desirable substances, as well as the effects of using chemicals.
It is an important aspect of education for the modern world and essential for the study of medicine and for many other courses in science and engineering. Students who might consider Biology for A-Level are advised to choose Chemistry to at least GCSE, while many other science- related careers also require or look favourably upon Chemistry.
The Edexcel IGCSE in Chemistry is a linear course and there is no Controlled Assessment. The qualification comprises two externally assessed papers, sat at the end of Year 11. The first is a two-hour paper, comprising two thirds of the overall award, while the second examination is a one-hour paper contributing one-third of the final qualification.
Chemistry IGCSE provides an effective grounding for students to:
- Learn about the unifying patterns and themes of Chemistry
- Appreciate the practical nature of Chemistry, acquiring experimental and investigative skills
- Grasp the importance to scientific methods of accurate experimental work and reporting
- Develop a logical approach to problem-solving in a wider context
- Appreciate how the work of the chemist has social, industrial, technological, environmental and economic consequences for the community
- Prepare for more advanced courses in Chemistry and for courses which require them to have a knowledge of Chemistry
Chemistry is a demanding, yet rewarding A-Level course, taught by four subject specialists in three purpose-built laboratories and students must have a keen interest and an active curiosity for the subject, as well as strong grades at Chemistry GCSE, in order to study it at A-Level.
An A-Level in Chemistry is essential for Medicine and many other science-related courses at university and its complexity means it is also well-regarded for courses such as Law or Economics.
The A-Level course revolves around three traditional elements – Physical Chemistry (including atomic structure, kinetics and thermodynamics), Inorganic Chemistry (including group chemistry and transition metals) and Organic Chemistry (including mechanisms, synthesis and analysis).
Assessment is by internal exam at the end of the first year, the result of which will be used to support UCAS grade predictions. The A-Level itself is examined in three exams at the end of the second year.
Theory work is complemented by extensive practical work which illustrates many aspects of the theory but also allows pupils to gain a pass for laboratory skills in addition to the traditional A-Level grade, which again will support applications to top universities.
The department provides a range of enrichment and co-curricular activities to enhance classroom work and enable pupils to demonstrate the independence of thought required to access demanding courses at top universities.
During their first year, the top three chemists will be selected to represent the school in the Young Analyst Competition. At the end of the first year, every student has the opportunity to take part in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and during their second year, pupils can prepare for the first round of the International Chemistry Olympiad. Links with national and European universities are well established.