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.

Departmental Information

Chemistry is a large and very successful department within the School. It currently has eight members of staff and one technician. As a core IGCSE subject we teach about 450 pupils in the 3rd, 4th and 5th year. It is a popular A level choice and we commonly teach between 60-65 students in the Lower Sixth and 45-50 in the Upper Sixth making us one of the largest Sixth Form departments in the School.

The aims of our GCSE Chemistry specification are to encourage candidates to:

  • Acquire a systematic body of chemical knowledge, and the skills needed to apply this in new and changing situations in a range of domestic, industrial and environmental contexts;
  • Acquire an understanding of scientific ideas, how they develop, the factors which may affect their development and their power and limitations;
  • Plan and carry out a range of investigations, considering and evaluating critically their own data and that obtained from other sources, and using ICT where appropriate;
  • 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, and considering ethical issues;
  • Select, organise and present information clearly and logically, using appropriate scientific terms and conventions, and using ICT where appropriate.