Chemistry

Aims

  • To foster an enjoyment of chemistry
  • To provide support for all pupils, regardless of ability
  • To maximise opportunities for practical work at all levels
  • To provide good feedback, through written and oral comments and judicious use of testing
  • To develop a healthy rapport with all students, both inside and outside the classroom
  • To provide opportunities for stretch and challenge, both in mainstream lessons and through participation in competitions
  • To provide opportunities for visits to Universities and Industry to promote awareness and further knowledge in the curriculum

BRITISH VALUES & CHEMISTRY

Modern Science is a comparatively new subject. Chemistry in particular has evolved from the alchemical secrecy of medieval times, when such practices were seen as being on a par with witchcraft. During the 16th and 17th century, Scientific reason came up against the authoritarian face of the Church in presenting evidence for changes to the received ways of thinking, such as the position of the earth within the solar system. Over time, as more and more evidence concerning the age of the universe and evolution of species has come to light, Science has become more accepted, if not understood, by the majority.

What can Science in general, and specifically the teaching of Chemistry at Leicester Grammar School do to promote the values by which our nation rightly holds so much store? Opportunities for discussions on Science and Religion are provided, and the points of view of the many Scientists who subscribe to the values of a particular religion are able to be sensitively discussed.

Chemistry stands with Physics and Biology as a discipline that teaches our pupils to look objectively and with consideration of the facts to inform judgements, reinforcing our belief in the rule of law. Chemistry is an international discipline, which encourages collaboration, breaking down of barriers, and a tolerance and respect for those of other nations. Through scientific ways of thinking, we offer training which encourages our students to make evidence-based judgments, rather than those arrived at through gut-feeling or an over-weighting of factors which are not directly related to the problem in need of a solution.

Lower School

Chemistry is an important part of the core curriculum throughout the lower school, with all pupils covering topics in Years 6 and 7 through the medium of lessons in Science where a single teacher will deliver the Programme of Study across all three scientific disciplines. In Year 8 the individual scientific disciplines are introduced with all pupils now studying Chemistry for two lessons per week. It should be noted that in Years 8 and 9 the Programmes of Study are in general delivered by subject specialist teachers.

Year 8

The topics covered include - The Elements, Mixtures and Compounds, The Air, Competition between the Elements, Acids, Bases and Salts (1 hour exam at the end of the course)

Year 9

The topics covered include - States of Matter, Atomic Structure, Bonding Covalent and Ionic Substances, The Periodic Table (oxygen, oxides, Groups 1 and 7), Metallic Substances, RFM and Molar Volumes of Gases (1.5 hour exam at the end of the year)

GCSE

Students are working towards the Eduqas (9-1) GCSE in Chemistry. The first examination is in June 2018. There are two written exams (2 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes). Practical work is at the heart of the course.

The material covered includes:
 
Fundamental ideas, Bonding and Structure, Air and Water, Periodic Table, Acids, Bases and Salts, Metals, Rates of Reaction, Crude Oil and Fuels, Other Substances from Oil, Alcohols, Carboxylic Acids and Esters, Energy Changes, Ammonia Production, Electrolysis, Analysis,

Chemistry, being the central science, is closely linked with Biology through our work in organic chemistry and also to Physics through our work in physical chemistry and it is therefore complementary to both of the other sciences.

The level of mathematical ability is not extreme but nonetheless a number of aspects of Chemistry involve quantitative topics for which numerical competence is essential.

A level

Many Year 11 students elect to continue with their studies in Chemistry at A-level as the subject facilitates many career opportunities and is a highly regarded qualification by both universities and future employers. It is not unusual to find around 60% of our sixth form studying Chemistry at this level. The Specification followed is Edexcel 9CH0. Seewww.edexcel.org.uk

The structure of the A-level courses are as follows:

Year 12  and Year 13

Current Linear A-level: Three papers (1h 45, 1h 45 and 2h 30) all of which cover A-level content and some AS content.
No coursework. 100% examined.

Year 12 Topics:

  • Topic 1: Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table
  • Topic 2: Bonding and Structure
  • Topic 3: Redox I
  • Topic 4: Inorganic Chemistry and the Periodic Table
  • Topic 5: Formulae, Equations and Amounts of Substance
  • ​Topic 6: Organic Chemistry I
  • Topic 7: Modern Analytical Techniques Ip
  • Topic 8: Energetics I
  • Topic 9: Kinetics I
  • Topic 10: Equilibrium I

Year 13 Topics:

  • Topic 11: Equilibrium II
  • Topic 12: Acid-base Equilibria
  • Topic 13: Energetics II
  • Topic 14: Redox II
  • Topic 15: Transition Metals
  • Topic 16: Kinetics II
  • Topic 17: Organic Chemistry II
  • Topic 18: Organic Chemistry III
  • Topic 19: Modern Analytical Techniques II

A-level Mathematics complements the Programmes of Study at both AS and A2 and whilst it is not an essential that you also be studying AS or A2 Mathematics the mathematical content of many of the topics is high and requires a high level of numerical and problem solving competence.

Examination results

The Chemistry Department is very proud of its public examination results and the high levels of value added, relative to their MiDYiS, YELLIS and ALIS predictions, achieved by our pupils.

At GCSE over the past five years we have averaged over 70% A*/A grades and indeed in 2011 we were awarded a national Good Schools Guide Certificate for the highest GCSE Chemistry results over a three year period of any independent school in England.

At A level over the past five years we have averaged around 80% top (A* - B) grades for the large cohorts of students taking chemistry at this level.

In the Chemistry Olympiad and the Year 12 Cambridge Chemistry Challenge several of our students achieve Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards every year in these prestigious events.

Extra-curricular

Sixth Form Years 8-11
Warwick University in-house lectures Year 8 Chemistry Club
EPQ projects in Chemistry in conjunction with Leicester University Year 9 "Crest in a Day"
Nuffield Bursary Awards – National Competition Years 9 - 11 Chemistry Clinic
International Chemistry Olympiad – Year 13  Year 10 Salters' University Chemistry Camps
Cambridge Chemistry Challenge – Year 12 Year 10 Chemistry/Science Week Quiz
Weekly Chemistry Clinics for advice and revision Top of Bench Royal Society of Chemistry Competition (local winners, regional finalists 2016)
  *Science Week Activities
  *CREST Science Projects Awards
  *Local Primary School Science Experience Day
  *Year 7 Space Centre Experience

N.B. The activities marked * above are science based enrichment activities involving all three Science departments.