When working on a problem, I never think about beauty; I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know that it is wrong.
R Buckminster Fuller
Within the Science department we aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that not only promotes academic excellence but develops the personal, social, physical, moral, and cultural development of our students. We aim to equip them with the skills, opportunities, responsibilities, and experiences they will take with them in the future. These will include literacy, numeracy, independent learning, the understanding of British values and the respects and tolerance of those with different faiths, beliefs, or cultures. The provision of high standards in learning and teaching is also incredibly important alongside an attitude of stretch and challenge.
Chemistry is the study of matter and energy and the interaction between them. Chemistry is everywhere in the world around us. It’s in the food we eat, clothes we wear, water we drink, medicines, air, detergents, cosmetics etc. Chemistry is sometimes called the ‘central science’ because it connects other sciences such as biology, physics, environmental science and geology to each other. A Level Chemistry is essential for careers in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry and pharmacy. It is also recommended for many degree courses in biological science, environmental science, biomedical science, agriculture, geology, forensic science and engineering. There are many reasons to study Chemistry even if not pursuing a career in science as Chemistry helps us understand the world around us and develop analytical skills.
- The development of scientific thinking – use of modelling, ethical issues, new applications within science, economic and environmental impact, risk
- Experimental skills and strategies – using theories to explain hypotheses, planning and testing, use of apparatus and materials, experiments, accuracy, observations, measurements
- Analysis and evaluation – presenting data, mathematical and statistical analysis, interpreting information, communication
- Vocabulary, units, symbols and nomenclature – developing the use of scientific vocabulary, units, degrees of accuracy
Atomic structure and the Periodic Table
Structure, bonding and the properties of matter
Energy changes in chemistry
Chemical and allied industries
Earth and atmospheric science
These key concepts investigate the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter, understood in terms of particles and the way they are arranged. The idea of energy relates to the interaction of matter on all levels. These key ideas are threaded through from Lower School Science, into GCSE and onto A Level.
Practical – manipulating scientific apparatus and developing scientific techniques including measurement
Investigative – understanding the idea of scientific enquiry
Analytical – handling data and evidence
Problem solving – developing an inquisitive mind
Mathematical – manipulating numbers, data and statistics
Evaluative – use of evidence in explanation, justifying experimental techniques
What is taught?
Within this subject the introductory topics allow students to lay the foundations that Chemistry is built upon. We look at fundamental ideas including atomic structure and the Periodic Table and how these concepts are linked. This builds upon Lower School Science knowledge which is then expanded to incorporate energy levels, structure, and bonding. We then allow the ideas of matter and separating techniques, seen in Y7, to be developed and deepened. The acids topic allows more ideas to be revisited allowing us to build confidence to start introducing new concepts including electrolysis, metals, rates of reaction and group Chemistry. As practical, mathematical and examination techniques improve we can start to introduce the rest of the content.
The A Level builds upon the key ideas studied at GCSE, expanding these concepts and looking into them in a deeper way. The order allows students to practise skills alongside gained knowledge. Key skills, calculations, and topics familiar from GCSE are built upon in the first few topics. Topics allow interleaving of practical and theoretical based concepts. Importance of atoms, structure and bonding in nature and understanding of chemical reactions. Linked to organic chemistry which utilises understanding of stoichiometry and reaction pathways. Abstract topics introduced slowly alongside more complex mathematical ideas, including energy. Year 2 concepts build on existing GCSE and Year 1 content. Ideas reinforced, revisited and practised as the course progresses.
Atomic structure, The Periodic Table, Ionic Bonding, Covalent Bonding, Types of Substance, Calculations involving masses, States of Matter, Methods of separating and purifying substances
Acids, Topic 3 – Acids, Electrolytic processes, Obtaining and using metals, Reversible reactions, and equilibria,
Rates of reaction and energy changes, Heat energy changes in chemical reactions, Group 1, Group 7, Group 0
GCSE Y11 – Combined Science
Fuels and Earth Science, Earth and Atmospheric Science
GCSE Y11 – Chemistry Separate
Fuels and Earth Science, Earth and Atmospheric Science, Transition metals, alloys and corrosion, Quantitative analysis, Dynamic equilibria, Chemical cells, and fuel cells, Qualitative analysis: test for ions, Hydrocarbons, Polymers, Alcohols and carboxylic acids, Bulk and surface properties of matter including nanoparticles.
A Level Year 1
Atomic structure, Amount of substance, Bonding, Energetics, Kinetics, Equilibria, Oxidation, reduction, and redox reactions, Organic Chemistry, Alkanes, Halogenoalkanes, Alkenes, Alcohols, Organic analysis, Periodicity, Group 2, the Alkaline Earth Metals, Group 7, Halogens
A Level Year 2
Periodicity, The Transition metals, Reactions of inorganic compounds in aqueous solutions, Thermodynamics, Kinetics, Equilibrium constant, Kp, Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells, Acids, bases, and buffers, Nomenclature and isomerism, Compounds containing the carbonyl groups, Aromatic chemistry, Amines, Polymerisation, Amino acids, proteins, and DNA, Organic synthesis and analysis, Structural determination, Chromatography.
- multi-choice questions.
- short answer questions.
- extended response style questions.
- 12 assessed practicals which will lead to A Level endorsement.
Within A Level Chemistry we hope to inspire students to develop an even deeper interest and enthusiasm for the subject. This includes fostering ideas regarding careers associated with Chemistry.
We encourage the development of:
- The knowledge and understanding of the different chemistry disciplines.
- The use and application of practical and mathematical skills.
- An appreciation of working scientifically and of scientific methods.
- Confidence within the subject.
- Interests beyond the curriculum.
- The understanding of wider applications of chemistry within the world around us.
- Potential career aspirations within the field of chemistry.
Academic Literacy in Chemistry
Students will be expected to explain phenomena scientifically through the recall and application of scientific key terms, vocabulary and concepts. They will need to use terms linked to scientific enquiry. In order to do this, students will be encouraged to keep vocabulary and key term glossaries, engage in independent research and the reading of a variety of texts, take part in discussions and debates. They will be questioned regularly, set written tasks and key term tests.
Students are encouraged to extend their interest in Chemistry by…
Reading around the subject
Utilising the LRC resources
Watching relevant documentaries or programmes
Conducting further research on a topic of interest
EPQ further study
Utilising the EY Stem app
Chemistry clinic – an afterschool session in which students can study, get extra help, assist their fellow students in all matters to do with Chemistry
Chemistry Olympiad – an international Chemistry competition
Trips and visits
Careers Guidance and Support for Chemistry: