The Chemistry department is an experienced and enthusiastic team of eight subject specialist teachers and two well qualified technicians. We have a wealth of experience of teaching A level and IB Chemistry. We have over 200 AS students who give very positive feedback on the courses we provide and a significant number of students go on to take degrees in Chemistry. We always aim to be enthusiastic and supportive of our students. We have many resources on a very well-used Moodle intranet site for student use. Student will also be given access to an ebook through kerboodle which guides them through the course.

Courses Offered

AS and A level Chemistry (Salters OCR)

Our students take the OCR B Salters Chemistry AS and A level course which was set up by the Salters Institute and York University to produce a rigorous but relevant and interesting AS and A level course. The AS course 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 AS course is intense and most students find it very challenging but enjoyable.

There are two written exams in May and June for the AS exam. The second year of the course allows students to apply and further develop their knowledge to topics such as Polymers and Life, developing Metals, Colour by Design, Oceans and Medicine by Design. 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 now all 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 Medicines and Drugs and Modern Analytical Techniques. 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. A good resource with more information and detail can be found at the  IB Chemistry Syllabus and Notes website.

GCSE

We currently offer a one year GCSE core science course (currently the AQA syllabus B) for students looking to improve their GCSE grade. This covers aspects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics and includes an ISA assessment of practical skills. A significant majority of students improve on their performance from school. This course is not however suitable for progression to A level Biology, Chemistry or Physics. This course will be available for the last time starting in September 2016 due to changes to the GCSE Science Qualifications.

Science in Society

AS This course is available to students in the second year who have taken a science AS in year 1. It is offered on a reduced number of lessons – 3 a week. It covers a range of topical issues (such as diseases today, transport issues, Is there life on other planets?) and coverage includes the science basics and typically a historical view, a global view, where the debates and arguments lie, how the media cover the issue and how scientists work to find out more and publicise their findings. A diverse range of approaches are used in class. There are two small pieces of coursework, based on reading a popular science book and a project of your choice.

The AS offers a chance to get a high grade and this should count towards the UCAS points needed for your university points.

Visit the Nuffield Foundation website for it's Science in Society information.

Please see the Course Details box on this page for links to downloadable subject information sheets.

Trips and Vists

There is usually an opportunity in July for Chemistry students to visit The University of Essex to take part in a Spectroscopy Day. Students attend a lecture, which is relevant for their second year studies, and take part in two practical sessions in the University labs.

During the college Three Day Careers event in late June a visitor from UCL has regularly come in to talk to students about studying Chemistry at University. This has proved inspirational with many students opting to carry on to study Chemistry or related subjects at university.

Support and Extension

In the second year students who particularly enjoy the challenge of chemistry or who intend to carry on and study chemistry at Higher Education are encouraged to take part in the Chemistry Olympiad competition. Students nationwide sit a voluntary exam paper of challenging questions. Tackling the Round I paper provides students with a good opportunity to develop some of the skills required for study at university and beyond. It can give students an advantage in University interviews. Students come once a week to discuss and attempt these thought provoking chemistry questions. In recent years students have managed to accrue an impressive tally of 1 gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze awards in this competition.

Salters' Advanced
Chemistry for OCR
ISBN:978-0-19-833289-3

Many of our Salters students find the CGP and Heinemann Revision guides invaluable. It is important that student chose the guide for the OCR B Chemistry (Salters course). The textbook for the course is also available to purchase for those who wish to have a hard copy as well as access to the ebook on line.