Chemistry is essentially the study of how fewer than a hundred simple elements make up all the known matter in the universe, of how those atoms swirl and dance to produce new compounds, and the forces that drive and underlie the changes.
The key subject for careers in Medicine, Pharmacy or Veterinary Science, Chemistry is also, of course, important in its own right; virtually no product we use, wear or buy daily is untouched by a chemist’s hand somewhere along the line.
As with all Sciences, Chemistry involves the study and discovery of our world and our universe. The rules are sometimes obscure and it is the scientist’s job to find them out, and then to use them effectively in solving new problems. That, therefore, is the basic approach we use throughout the school; there is a heavy reliance on pupils actually doing the experiments, modelling and analysing the results, and looking for the patterns beneath. Obviously this includes a lot of ‘wet’ chemistry in our four comprehensively equipped laboratories, but it extends to many uses of integrated IT and multimedia, role-play, class discussion and problem solving, pupil presentations, investigations and projects, backed up by dedicated teaching from a specialist staff. In Year 10, pupils move into IGCSE work for either Chemistry (about 60% of most year's intake) or Dual Award Science. Many choose to continue Chemistry as an A Level subject and then go on to a range of University courses including, pleasingly, a regular number into pure or applied Chemistry degrees.