Chemistry is the study of the amazing substances that make up our world today. Students get to appreciate why they are the way they are, why they behave as they do and how they can be adapted in modern life. Students get to develop their practical skills by working in small groups and to assess risk in a safe yet exciting environment. They learn to problem-solve and think logically as well as to understand how chemistry has social, industrial, environmental as well as economic consequences for the world around us.
Students study AQA Chemistry and gain a good understanding of the nature of substances and how they react together. They study how our use of raw materials in fuels and manufacturing can affect the global and local environment as well as how Chemistry is used in business and industry.
Students start with the fundamental ideas in Chemistry, putting the understanding of atoms as building blocks in place. This enables them to develop their understanding of chemical structures and their properties, chemical reactions and how to analyse substances. Many of the materials considered are substances that students will come across in their daily lives like drinking water, vegetable oils and metals to help students engage with the subject and put their learning into context. Other materials include smart materials, nanoparticles and polymers that students are less familiar with in daily life. Students use hands-on experiments, as well as animations to make the subject come alive in the classroom.
Students study OCR Chemistry where they build on their GCSE knowledge to develop their interest in and enthusiasm for Chemistry and an understanding of how they make decisions about scientific issues and how these contribute to the success of the economy and society. Students get to look at Foundations in Chemistry, Periodic Table and Energy and Organic Chemistry in their first year as well as developing their practical skills, working in small groups or independently, and their ability to solve unstructured problems. Mathematical skills are taught and students are routinely expected to use a calculator.
The second year of the A Level builds on the content covered already and students really enjoy developing their understanding of what happens and why in terms of chemical analysis and spectra, functional group chemistry as well as pH, rates of reaction, energy and transition metals. There is an internally assessed practical Endorsement where skills are taught and routinely examined throughout the course.
Chemistry is a well-respected qualification where successful students demonstrate excellent problem solving, mathematical and practical skills as well as the ability to spot patterns and apply knowledge to unfamiliar situations.