At Key Stage 3 Chemistry students learn how to handle equipment safely, make careful observations, learn the basic methods and principles of scientific inquiry, how elements combine to make compounds and how to write chemical equations. Pupils also carry out many experiments.
Students follow the AQA GCSE course at Key Stage 4. They carry out a range of chemical reactions and are introduced to analytical methods such as flame tests. They learn more about how chemical reactions occur, how to calculate the amount of product is made, how to make choices which will encourage sustainable development and reduce pollution, how chemistry is used to make new materials such as polymers and nanotubes, and how chemical tests are used in forensic science.
At A Level we follow the AQA Chemistry course, covering physical, organic and inorganic chemistry. Students learn how to apply concepts such as ionisation energy, bond energy, electronegativity and entropy to explain why reactions take place. They are encouraged to become independent learners. During Year 12 and 13 students have the opportunity to attend spectroscopy and problem-solving master-classes at the Chemistry Department of the University of Reading.