“I was captured for life by chemistry and by crystals.” Dorothy Hodgkin, awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for solving the atomic structure of molecules such as penicillin and insulin, using X-ray crystallography.
Chemistry touches almost every aspect of our existence, from food and farming to the air we breathe, while chemical technologies are at the forefront of advances in fields such as health, materials and energy usage. In short, Chemistry is fundamental to our world and to our progress as a society. The study of Chemistry is, therefore, both fascinating and intellectually demanding.
Head of Department: Mrs T Williams (currently on maternity leave), Dr S Glennie (maternity cover)
Teachers: Dr S Hussain, Mrs R Kumar, Mr O Mumin, Miss M Mohamed
In teaching Chemistry, we want our students to appreciate the historic discoveries that shape the modern world, whilst inspiring them to make their own discoveries that may influence the future. Our aim is that all students acquire a good understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry and of why material processes occur.
We aim to instil a passion for chemistry through investigative learning, allowing students to engage in discussion and ask questions, explore problems and search for solutions using their own ingenuity. We aim to teach students how to think for themselves and work logically through a problem so that, in time, they will be able to apply knowledge of one situation in order to evaluate and predict the outcomes of another. Practical work naturally underpins learning in this subject, and extensive resources are available to the department to support teaching.
In addition to developing students’ scientific skills, the chemistry curriculum is designed to develop students to:
- Have a ‘growth mindset’ that recognises intelligence and ability are not fixed but can be developed through effort combined with appropriate strategies and support.
- Show courage and resilience in the face of challenge, uncertainty and the unfamiliar.
- Be critical, flexible, resourceful and reflective thinkers.
- Be hard-working and committed.
- Be collaborative, eager to work with others to improve their learning, achieve shared goals, solve problems and assist and support each other as well as to work independently.
We deliver a broad curriculum that enables our students to explore, progress and master key knowledge in chemistry. The Chemistry course is designed to constantly build upon a solid foundation of knowledge alongside revisiting topics to underpin understanding.
KEY STAGE 4
Students start GCSE Chemistry in Year 9. Students will start to develop a more detailed understanding of the fundamentals taught in Years 7 and 8. Throughout the GCSE course we are committed to providing an exciting, varied and challenging experience of chemistry for all students. The Chemistry department follows the AQA Specification.
The following topics are taught in each year group:
- Atomic structure and the periodic table
- Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
- Chemistry of the atmosphere
- Using resources
- Quantitative chemistry
- Chemical changes
- Energy changes
- The rate and extent of chemical change
- Organic chemistry
- Chemical analysis
KEY STAGE 5
A Level Chemistry is a stepping stone to future study. We support and inspire students, nurture their passion for chemistry and lay the groundwork for further study in courses such as chemistry, biochemistry medicine, pharmacy and engineering. At A Level we place huge importance on the development of independent study. We aim to produce academically minded scientists who are equipped to go on to university and thrive in a science-based career.
The topics are wide and varied and fall into three main categories: Physical chemistry, Inorganic chemistry, Organic chemistry. Each class at A Level is taught two topics simultaneously by two different teachers.
We follow the Edexcel specification and the topics taught are as follows:
|Atomic structure and the periodic table||Students will consider a more detailed model for the structure of the atom and how this helps understand the Periodic Table.|
|Bonding and structure||A study of different ways in which atoms are joined together and how they interact with each other, as well as the shapes of molecules.|
|Redox I||Students meet the concept of oxidation number, which helps them to see how chemical equations are made to balance.|
|Inorganic chemistry and the periodic table||The chemistry of elements in Groups 1, 2 and 7 are investigated, along with tests for ions.|
|Formulae, equations and amounts of substance||This topic builds on the calculations encountered at GCSE, with titration and consideration of experimental errors being encountered.|
|Organic chemistry I||Students learn about hydrocarbon molecules (alkanes and alkenes) – and two other classes of molecules: halogenoalkanes and alcohols.|
|Modern analytical techniques I||Students consider how instrumental methods can be used for detection e.g. for drugs in sport, as well as for analysis.|
|Energetics I||A study of how energy changes associated with different types of reaction are measured, including ones where the change is not directly measurable|
|Kinetics I||An initial study of factors that affect the rate of chemical reactions.|
|Equilibrium I||An initial study of factors that affect the yield of chemical reactions.|
|Equilibrium II||Building on Equilibrium I, this topic considers, in a quantitative way, how reactions respond to constraints.|
|Acid-base equilibria||Students consider how pH is measured, and how pH can be controlled.|
|Energetics II||A further study of chemical energy, with emphasis on the energy changes when making ionic solids, and an introduction to entropy.|
|Redox II||Students consider how the transfer of electrons in redox processes can be used to make electrochemical cells.|
|Transition metals||This topic looks at the chemistry of the first row transition elements, with reference to their electronic structure and reactions.|
|Kinetics II||Building on Kinetics I, this topic looks quantitatively at how rates of reactions are measured, and what this tells us about the mechanism.|
|Organic chemistry II||Students consider the chemistry of carbonyls and carboxylic acids.|
|Organic chemistry III||The final section of organic chemistry is concerned with the reactions of benzene, as well as organic nitrogen compounds.|
|Modern analytical techniques II||A wide range of instrumental techniques are studied in this topic, including NMR, which uses the same technology as MRI scanners.|
Teachers seek to engage pupils’ enthusiasm through both theoretical and practical experiences, while also encouraging them to develop their specific interests through extra-curricular activities. A wide variety of enrichment activities take place throughout the year and all Science teachers contribute to an exciting enrichment programme. Students have the opportunity to explore scientific ideas and take their experience of science well beyond the prescribed curriculum.
Examples of enrichment include:
- Key Stage 3 Science club
- Science research projects
- Essay competitions
- Science societies
- Organised visits for speakers for societies
- Trips to UCL, Imperial College, Queen Marys
- University Lectures including lectures from The Royal institution and the Royal Society
- University Masterclasses
- Spectroscopy in the Suitcase
- Latymer EPQ
From investigating how one substance can be changed into another, to researching a new wonder drug to save millions, the opportunities that Chemistry provides are endless and career prospects are excellent. Chemistry is a very popular subject in the Sixth Form and many students pursue Chemistry-based courses at university.
This is represented by the 172 students who have gone to university between 2018 and 2020 to study a chemistry-related degree including: chemistry, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, biomedicine medicine, pharmacology, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary, chemical engineering, natural sciences and neurosciences.