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in School Life

If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is: that all things are made of atoms.

Richard Feynman

Chemistry is the central science, lying between Physics and Biology and overlapping with both. The impact of chemistry is global and affects us all. For example, chemists underpin the advancement in technologies that define eras, from the bronze age to the present day material world of plastics, semi-conductors, touch screens, LEDs and graphene.

Chemists are also important for sustaining life. It is estimated that half the world’s population would not be alive today without chemists working out how to increase the yield of ammonia formed from the reaction between hydrogen and nitrogen.

Chemists are also at the forefront of producing medicines such as researching new classes of antibiotics. Many chemists are currently researching into the production of fuels and electricity that do not lead to the formation of greenhouse gases.

The understanding for all the above starts with knowledge developed in school chemistry lessons. The department seeks to provide pupils with a molecular view of the world to enable an understanding of the material world. As well as writing our own GCSE and A Level revision materials to support pupils as the exams approach, we teach beyond the syllabuses in our aim to challenge, inspire and link chemistry to everyday life.

In Year 7, pupils learn about the structure of the atom and how atoms bond with each other by the sharing of electrons and the formation of ions.

In Year 8, as well as learning about separation techniques used to purify and identify chemicals, pupils encounter organic chemistry, leading to an understanding of fuels and plastics.

In Year 9 the key chemical language skills (including redox and half equations) are developed through topics on acids and the extraction of metals.

At KS4 the Edexcel GCSE course (1CH0) is followed, which provides an excellent basis for the further study of chemistry and other sciences at A Level.

At A-level Chemistry is a very broad subject, encompassing aspects of mathematics, physics and biology and therefore develops and utilizes a wide range of skills and knowledge [the OCR A (H432) course is followed].

You will learn about the structure of matter, the theory explaining why atoms react with one another and the environmental impact of chemicals.  Part of the course will also involve practical work including organic synthesis along with the analysis and evaluation of the data collected in experiments.   

Everywhere in the universe, the periodic table has the same basic structure. Even if an alien civilization's table weren't plotted out in the way we humans favor, their spiral or pyramidal or whatever-shaped periodic table would naturally pause after 118 elements

Sam Kean

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Teaching Staff

Dr JC Nicholls
Ph.D. (Salford & Manchester)
Head of Chemistry

Mrs E J Otero-Salgado
B.Sc. (Greenwich)

Dr X Han
B.Sc. (Beijing) Ph.D. (Wolverhampton)

Dr SR Moore
B.Sc. (Liverpool) Ph.D.