Chemistry looks at the composition and properties of matter. It seeks to describe and explain how substances undergo chemical reactions and change from one substance to another.
Chemistry holds a central position between physics and biology and has a very wide range of real life applications. Topics range from the highly conceptual, like the structure of the atom, through to the very pragmatic, like the study of protein structure or the manufacture of steel.
Chemistry is respected as a rigourous academic subject. Successful chemistry students are good at understanding conceptual models and learning large bodies of fact. They can apply many ideas at once and construct logical arguments often backed up with mathematical precision. These skills will always be in demand and chemists are recruited far beyond the obvious careers of research and industry.
Chemistry is a large and very successful department within the School. It currently has nine members of staff and one technician. As a core IGCSE subject we teach about 480 pupils in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Year. It is a popular A level choice and we commonly teach between 50-55 students in the Lower Sixth and 40-45 in the Upper Sixth making us one of the largest Sixth Form departments in the School.
The aims of our department are to:
- Give students a sound foundation of chemical knowledge and the skills needed to apply this in new and changing situations in a range of contexts.
- Help students understand key scientific ideas, how they develop, factors affecting their development and their power and limitation.
- Enable students to develop a range of practical skills which will not only assist with their Chemistry, but also contribute to their overall life skills.
- Stimulate curiosity and develop skills of enquiry, methodology and evaluation.
- Make the study of Chemistry a worthwhile and enjoyable experience, enabling students to develop an interest in, and understanding of, its application to the world in which we live.
- Evaluate in terms of their scientific knowledge and understanding, the benefits and drawbacks of scientific and technological developments, including those related to the environment, personal health and quality of life.
- Equip students to organise and present information clearly and logically, using appropriate chemical terms and conventions and ICT where appropriate.