Chemistry

Chemistry is one of the most popular subjects at CRGS with a high percentage of our students choosing to take GCSE Chemistry in Years 10 and 11 and a large uptake of Chemistry at A-Level (usually 90-100 students each year). This reflects a very busy and hard-working department, with very high standards.
 
The Chemistry department is very well resourced, comprising four fully-equipped modern laboratories, opened in September 2016, one room is equipped with eight computers and all rooms have a SMART board for using the latest ICT resources.
 

The Staff

There are four full-time teachers and two part-time teachers of Chemistry:
 
Mr R. Adams
Mr K Blanchard
Mr C Henson
Mr R Neale
Dr R. Rampling
Mrs M Russell
 

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 GCSE can be studied from Year 9. Topic titles include:
 
  • Formulae & Equations
  • Elements, compounds and mixtures
  • The Periodic Table (including simple atomic structure).
  • Metals and their compounds (Includes chemical reactions such as 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 – AQA GCSE Chemistry, specification 8462

Students begin the GCSE course and study the following topics:
  • Atomic structure and the Periodic Table
  • Formulae and equations
  • Structure, Bonding and properties of matter
  • Energy changes
 
Each topic is tested and there is an internal exam at the end of the year. For more details of the GCSE topics studied in Year 9 please visit the AQA website by clicking here.
 

Years 10 & 11 – GCSE Chemistry, AQA syllabus 8462 (continued)

 
Topics studied in Year 10 include:
  • The rate of chemical reaction
  • Reactivity of metals and metal extraction, REDOX reactions
  • Reactions of acids and salt making
  • Electrolysis and electrochemical cells
  • Quantitive chemistry
  • Chemical analysis
 
Topics studied in Year 11 include:
  • Reversible reactions and equilibrium
  • The chemical industry
  • Introduction to organic chemistry and petrochemicals
  • The atmosphere
  • Further organic chemistry (carboxylic acids, alcohols, aminoacids)
  • Polymers and natural polymers
  • Using Earth's resources
 
For more details of our Key Stage 4 GCSE course please click here.
 
 

Years 12 Chemistry (AQA specification 7404/7405)

Year 12 begin with AQA AS Chemistry (specification 7404), which is continued to A-Level (specification 7405) in Year 13. Click here to see the specification for the new AQA AS/A-Level course.
 
Topics covered in the current Year 12 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 separately, but as part of the written papers.

Year 13 A-Level Chemistry (AQA specification 7405)

Year 13 study the AQA A-Level Chemistry course, which continues on from material covered in Year 12 for AS Chemistry. Click here to see the specification for the current Year 13 AQA course.

Topics covered in current Year 13 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. This is as well as developing enthusiasm and enjoyment for Chemistry, and studying Chemistry rigorously, but in a contemporary context.
 
 

Extra-curricular Clubs, Competitions, Trips & Workshops

To develop those who demonstrate a deeper interest in chemistry, we participate in competitions such as the Chemistry Mastermind Competition (Years 9 – 11) and the International Chemistry Olympiad (Years 12 and 13) and Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (Year 12). Students may also attend 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 'Support 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/Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, and 'Oxbridge' Entrance). Sixth formers are also involved in mentoring students in the lower school at lunchtimes.
 
 

GCSE and A-level Results Summer 2016

Year 11 A* A B C D E %A*/A Total Students
Candidates 53 20 14 6 3 2 72.28 101
Year 13 A* A B C D E %A*-B Total
Candidates 23 29 11 10 7 - 78.8 80