Chemistry is the study of the composition, the properties and the behaviour of matter. The principles of Chemistry underpin the study of other Sciences, and to this extent, Chemistry can be seen as the heart of the scientific approach. Advances in Chemistry have contributed to the worldwide growth in technology, and a deep understanding of the subject is a prerequisite for any rounded individual.
The study of Chemistry is compulsory up to GCSE level, whether as a single subject in its own right, or as one of the three elements of composite qualifications in Science or Additional Science. The department uses a practical, hands-on approach wherever possible; there is an emphasis on laboratory skills. Pupils are challenged to think imaginatively, and to be critical scientists – to use, rather than to simply reproduce, the factual basis of their learning.
At GCSE, the department’s objectives are:
- to embed the ideas encountered in the study of Chemistry in the context of real life;
- to ensure that pupils become confident and skilled at carrying out practical scientific work;
- to encourage pupils to think critically about the scientific evidence available to them, including that in relation to science-related issues presented in the media;
- to foster a long-term interest in Chemistry.
For details of courses and examination specificiations, see The Right Course.
The department boasts three teachers, all specialist graduate Chemists with research backgrounds. Their extremely high levels of subject mastery combine with wide-ranging teaching experience in a lively and enthusiastic department. Teaching combines a sympathetic understanding of the demanding nature of the subject with high and clear expectations of pupils. Those struggling to master its challenges are offered individual help in clinics out of normal school hours; those looking to go the extra mile are stimulated through Science clubs, joint activities with the University of Kent and visits to lectures and exhibitions.