The Chemistry department is an experienced and enthusiastic team of subject specialist teachers and two well qualified technicians. We have a wealth of experience of teaching A level and IB Chemistry. The department also includes subject specialists who deliver Food Science and level 2 (GCSE equivalent) courses.
We teach over 300 students every year with very positive feedback on the courses we provide. We always aim to be enthusiastic and supportive of our students and a significant number of students go on to take degrees in Chemistry or other related subjects. Students have access to many resources in the library as well as an online textbook and resources on a very well-used Moodle intranet site.
Courses Offered by the Department
A level Chemistry (Salters OCR)
Our students take the OCR B Salters Chemistry A level course which was set up by the Salters Institute and York University to produce a rigorous but relevant and interesting course. The course expands on Chemistry students have learnt at school and introduces more abstract and mathematical ideas.
The first year has units such as Developing Fuels, What’s in a medicine and the Ozone story. Each unit has a theme running through it and Chemistry theory is introduced where it links to this theme. The Chemistry content is regularly revisited and extended upon to build knowledge as the course progresses. The first year of the course is intense and most students find it very challenging but enjoyable.
The second year of the course allows students to apply and further develop their knowledge to topics such as The Chemical Industry, Polymers and Life, Developing Metals, Colour by Design and Oceans. These units take the Chemistry learnt in the first year and expand on it, again with reference to how Chemistry is used in the real world.
The A level is examined at the end of the 2 year course with 3 written exams. One of these exams is entirely based on practical work which students will complete throughout the course. Students will also be working towards their practical endorsement qualification, alongside their A level, and they will be keeping a record of some of their practical activity in order to achieve the required criteria.
IB Chemistry (Higher)
The IB Chemistry course is a group 4 subject of the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The course content expands upon material studied at GCSE and includes topics such as Atomic Structure, Bonding, Quantitative Chemistry, Periodicity, Kinetics and Energetics. We also study Medicinal Chemistry. During the course we cover some abstract ideas and some of the topics are quite mathematical. The content involves a range of activities including written work, practicals, group and individual work and presentations. The course gives students a rigorous grounding in Chemistry and a lot of students find it challenging but very satisfying. There are three written exams at the end of the course, one of which is a multiple choice paper, and practical coursework which is undertaken throughout the course.
Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) Science
The department offers a one year Science course at Level 2 (GCSE standard). The course is delivered in conjunction with staff from the Physics and Biology department and is aimed at students who haven’t previously studied Science or studied Science but did not achieve a Pass grade. The course is delivered in such a way that the Science is related to everyday life.
If students have previously studied Science the course will revisit some topics they have met but will also introduce some new ideas and contexts. Students will develop a range of skills which will help them in further study and/or in employment such as time management, meeting deadlines, independent study and practical skills.
Food Science and Nutrition
Level 3 Food Science and Nutrition is equivalent to A Level study in content and rigor and attracts UCAS points. The college has a long history of teaching food-based subjects and related courses. Students learn a wide range of skills and techniques, both academic and practical, which are applied to the work environment. Students who choose Food Science and Nutrition will learn how to work independently, how to analyse and problem solve, how to manage time and resources, and gain an understanding of food and nutrition in the workplace, all relevant skills for employability.
Staff are passionate about the subject and have a wealth of experience. Ex-students comment on how much they have enjoyed the course and how well it has prepared them for progression to degree level or the workplace.
Students go on to study a variety of food related subjects at university or onto more vocational courses or into employment. Many past students of Food have progressed to successful careers in the food industry to find employment with some well-known food companies.
Please see our Courses page for full details of all the courses offered by the college.