Many of the substances around us – which we usually take for granted – do not exist naturally, but are instead made by chemical processes, discovered and developed by chemists. Polythene, PVA (glue), paracetamol, PVC (vinyl) and ibuprofen are just a few well-known examples amongst thousands of such compounds.
The computer screen on which you are reading this, as well as the keyboard and the components within, are man-made substances. Most of the dyes and pigments used to make paints, fabrics, inks, etc. as well as the medicines used to treat illness are likewise the products of chemistry. Our homes and workplaces would be very dull places without the benefits of modern paints.
Poisons, explosives, radioactive elements, new structural materials, such as carbon fibres and graphene, polymers, elements such as the rare earths used in mobile ‘phones – the chemist’s remit is endless.
Chemistry, especially in the Sixth Form (and beyond) makes use of a very wide range of abilities, from mathematical skills to spatial awareness. It is a demanding subject which can be richly rewarding to those who rise to the challenge.
Three modern, specialist laboratories are dedicated to the teaching of Chemistry at all levels. The department is very well equipped with a variety of scientific glassware and other essentials. The recent acquisition of a facility to handle liquid nitrogen should be guaranteed to enhance our lessons further.
Through studying the Edexcel International Chemistry GCSE level, the foundations of the subject are laid. Topics covered include: chemical bonding, the Periodic Table, factors affecting rate of reaction, energetics and some organic chemistry. Practical work puts theory into practice and develops essential skills for further study of this subject.
Chemistry in the Sixth Form
At A Level we follow the AQA Specification which gives a comprehensive insight into the different branches of the subject. It builds upon material previously encountered, but also includes modern spectroscopic techniques and a considerable quantity of organic chemistry including reaction mechanisms. The IB course is also comprehensive and includes the opportunity to study one option topic in greater depth. Both courses have a substantial practical content.