Chemistry

Chemistry is one of the most popular subjects at CRGS with a high percentage of our students choosing to take IGCSE Chemistry in Years 10 and 11 and a large uptake of Chemistry at A-level (usually 80-90 students each year). This reflects a very busy and hard-working department with very high standards.
 
The Chemistry department is very well resourced and comprises two fully-equipped modern laboratories, opened in September 2006. Each room is equipped with eight computers and a SMART board for using the latest ICT resources. The new chemistry department is currently awaiting the construction of three new laboratories on the site of our old science building.
 

The Staff

There are four full-time teachers and one part-time teacher of Chemistry:
 
Mr R. Adams (Head of Chemistry & Director of Science Outreach)
Dr R. Rampling
Mr K Blachard
Mr C Henson
Mr R Neale
 

Our Chemistry courses at a glance

Year 8

Students study chemistry separately and generally follow the Ascent course material, although extension work is provided regularly. The course comprises the remaining topics from Key Stage 3 Chemistry so that IGCSE can be studied from Year 9. Topic titles include:
 
  • Formulae & Equations
  • Elements, Mixtures and compounds
  • The Periodic table (including simple atomic structure).
  • Metals and their compounds (Includes chemical reactions e.g. decomposition, neutralisation)
  • Patterns of Reactivity (includes reduction and oxidation)
  • Using chemistry (includes chemical reactions e.g. combustion, oxidation)
  • Environmental Chemistry
 
Each topic is tested and there is an internal exam at the end of the year.
 

Year 9 – IGCSE Chemistry, CIE syllabus 0620

Students begin the IGCSE course and study the following topics:
  • Particles and purification
  • Atoms, elements and compounds
  • Structure and bonding (covalent, ionic and metallic)
  • Formulae and equations
  • The Periodic Table (including Groups 1, 7 and 0)
  • Chemical changes - energy changes in chemical reactions
 
Each topic is tested and there is an internal exam at the end of the year. For more details of the IGCSE topics studied in Year 9 please visit the CIE website by clicking here.
 

Years 10 & 11 – IGCSE Chemistry, CIE syllabus 0620 (continued)

 
Topics studied in Year 10 include:
  • Speed of reaction
  • Metal reactivity (including alloys)
  • Metal extraction
  • Electricity and chemistry
  • Chemical changes - energy from electrochemical cells and fuel cells
  • Chemical calculations
  • Acids and bases
  • Making and identifying salts
 
Topics studied in Year 11 include:
  • Air and water
  • Chemical reactions – reversible reactions, equilibrium and redox
  • The chemical industry
  • Organic chemistry and petrochemicals
  • Chemical changes – fuels and energy production
  • The variety of organic chemicals
  • Polymers and natural polymers
 
For more details of our Key Stage 4 IGCSE course please click here.
 
 

Years 12 Chemistry (New AS/AQA specification 7404/7405)

In September Year 12 started a new specification in chemistry. Click here to see the specification for the new AQA AS/A2 course.
 
Topics covered in the current Year 12 (Papers 1 & 2) include:
  • Atomic structure & bonding
  • Amount of substance
  • Periodicity
  • Introduction to organic chemistry (including alkanes)
  • Energetics, kinetics and equilibria
  • Redox
  • Groups 2 and 7
  • Extracting metals
  • Organic chemistry- halo-alkanes, alkenes and alcohols
  • Analytical techniques (including time of flight mass spectrometry and infra-red spectroscopy)

Practical skills are assessed across both the new exam papers and acquired throughout year 12 during lesson time, although they are no longer assessed formally.

Current Year 13 A2 Chemistry (AQA specification 2420)

The current Year 13 are studying the outgoing specification 2420 (this will convert into Specification 7405 for the current Year 12 students in September 2016). Click here to see the specification for the current Year 13 AQA course.

Topics covered in current Year 13 (CHEM 4 & 5) include:
  • Further kinetics and equilibria
  • Acids, bases and buffers
  • Further organic chemistry including the homologous series' aldehydes, ketones, carboxyilic acids, esters, acyl chlorides, arenes, amines, amino acids
  • Polymerisation
  • Structure determination (mass spectrometry, IR and NMR spectroscopy)
  • Thermodynamics
  • Periodicity
  • Redox equilibria
  • The Transition Metals
  • Reactions of aqueous ions in solution
Our schemes of work are designed to encourage students to gain hands-on practical and data analysis skills, appreciate 'How Science Works' and its relevance beyond the laboratory, develop an enthusiasm and enjoyment for Chemistry and study Chemistry rigorously, but in a contemporary context.
 
 

Extra-curricular Clubs, Competitions, Trips & Workshops

To develop those who demonstrate a deeper interest in chemistry we run a Chemistry Club and participate in competitions such as the Chemistry Mastermind Competition (Years 9 – 11) and the International Chemistry Olympiad (Years 12 and 13). Students may also attend a Year 7 & 8 Salters' Festival of Chemistry, Year 8 Forensic Science day, visits to lectures, practical workshops and study days.
 

Help sessions, Gifted & Talented and Mentoring

To ensure that each student is fully supported in their time at CRGS we offer lunchtime Chemistry 'Help Sessions' for years 9 – 13 and after-school extension classes for Year 12 and 13 students, particularly for those interested in the A* grade at A-level, the Chemistry Olympiads, and 'Oxbridge' Entrance. Sixth formers are also involved in mentoring students in the lower school at lunchtimes.
 
 

GCSE and A-level Results Summer 2015

Year 11 A* A B C D E %A*/A Total Students
Candidates 68 23 7 2 - - 91.3 100
Year 13 A* A B C D E %A*-B Total
Candidates 28 21 22 4 2 - 92.2 77