Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of matter that makes up everything – from stars, millions of light years away to the molecules which cause the cells in your body to function.

Chemists try to understand why matter behaves the way it does. Why is TNT explosive? How does soap remove dirt from your skin? What is in the air around us? Why is petrol a good fuel? How did rocks form? Why do metals conduct electricity?

By studying the atoms and elements from which all matter is made, Chemists seek to answer these questions and many more. Chemists contribute to the development and manufacture of many useful everyday products such as plastics, fuels, alloys, glass, paints, cosmetics and foodstuffs.

What is studied at KS3?

Year 8 students at the Salters Festival of Chemistry in May 2017

Chemistry is taught in years 7 and 8 as part of a Combined Science course. The topics studied are:

Year 7
Acids and Akalis, Earth Science, Introduction to the Periodic Table and Elements, Matter and Separation Techniques.

Year 8
Chemical Reactions, Metals

Every year, we send a team to participate in the Salters Festival of Chemistry at Reading University. The team of four year 8 students, selected for their enthusiasm and teamwork, enjoy competing against other schools to complete some practical challenges and solve puzzles. Teams from Kendrick are regularly amongst the prize-winners.

What is studied at KS4? 

All students study Chemistry as a separate science, starting their GCSE course in year 9.  The GCSE syllabus followed is AQA GCSE Chemistry 8462

Some examples of topics studied are Metals, Atomic Structure, Chemical Calculations, Rate of Reaction, Hydrocarbons, Structure and Bonding, Electrolysis, Chemistry of the Atmosphere and Reversible Reactions.

The new course for first examination in 2018 has been updated to include more recent technologies such as the uses of nanoparticles and fullerenes. Students will learn how a hydrogen fuel cell works and whether or not it could power the cars of the future.

Students participate in practical work in their lessons on a regular basis, usually working in pairs or small groups. Practical work is embedded into the course as much as possible to enable those who will go on to study A-level to develop their skills.

What is studied at KS5? 

Chemistry is a very popular A-level subject because of its versatility, academic rigour and the transferable skills that its students develop. The more obvious university courses that A-level Chemistry can lead to are: Chemistry, Natural Sciences, Biochemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Food Science, Forensic Science. However, the strong analytical skills of Chemists make it an excellent accompanying A-level choice for those wishing to study many other subjects such as Mathematics, Economics, History, Law and PPE.

The A-level syllabus followed is AQA A-level or AS level Chemistry

Some examples of topics studied are:

AS level
Atomic Structure, Bonding, Amount of Substance, Energetics, Group 2 Elements, Chemical Equilibrium, Introduction to Organic Chemistry, Halogenoalkanes, Alkenes, Alcohols.

Full A-level
Thermodynamics, Transition Metals, Electrochemical Cells, Polymers, Amino Acids, Proteins and DNA, Aromatic Chemistry, Reactions of Aqueous Ions, NMR, Organic Synthesis.

Students keep their own lab book while studying A-level Chemistry and increasingly learn to plan and carry out experiments of their own design. This culminates in an individual investigation in year 13 where they will be given no more than a title such as “What is the iron content of spinach and parsley?”

Extension opportunities are offered such as a weekly Chemistry Olympiad discussion group and any students who wish to may enter the Chemistry Olympiad and Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. Our students regularly achieve Bronze and Silver awards in these prestigious competitions and sometimes even a very highly sought-after Gold certificate.

For those who need a little extra help or who have extension questions, the weekly “Chemistry Clinic” gives an opportunity for an informal one-to-one meeting with a Chemistry teacher.

Facilities

The Chemistry department is fortunate to have very recently refurbished and well-stocked laboratories with plenty of room for student practical work.

The main Chemistry labs have two fume cupboards each and there is sufficient apparatus for A-level chemists to work individually on most practicals.

There is a set of laptops available for student use when needed. We are fortunate to have strong links with Reading University and can occasionally borrow equipment for student use, for example an Infra-red spectrometer.

Staff

Dr T Wilson – Subject Leader 

Dr K Perry – Assistant Head

Dr S Field 

Dr C Crawford 

Mrs S Oliver 

Mrs P Bharate - Technician