Chemistry
Students who study Chemistry at A level will develop strong numerical, analytical and problem solving skills. They will learn both how to apply their prior knowledge to solve problems and how to pay attention to detail through practical and written work. These skills are desirable for entry to most university courses and will subsequently be attractive to prospective employers.

The Course

Students who choose to study Chemistry at A level will follow the Edexcel Chemistry A level course. The AS level qualification comprises two modules of equal weighting. The A level qualification comprises three modules. There is also a stand-alone Practical Competency Assessment which involves students completing 16 core practical tasks. The topics covered by the AS and A level qualifications are as follows:

AS Level

Atomic structure and the periodic table, bonding and structure, redox I, inorganic chemistry and the periodic table, formulae, equations and amounts of substance, organic chemistry, modern analytical techniques, energetics, kinetics, equilibrium and experimental methods (including questions on core practicals).

A level

All AS level topics and equilibrium II, acid-base equilibria, energetics II, redox II, transition metals, kinetics II, organic chemistry II and III and modern analytical techniques II. 

Facilities

A level Chemistry lessons are taught in one of our well-equipped laboratories. Each laboratory has vented fume cupboards to allow practical work to be carried out safely. In addition, each laboratory has its own interactive whiteboard and touchscreen data-logging device. Whilst it is important to develop traditional skills such as manual data collection, processing and analysis of data, it is also important that our Chemists are able to experience instrumental methods. At Eltham College, students are exposed to both methods.

Enrichment

Lower Sixth RSC CompetitionStudents Students are encouraged to join The Royal Society of Chemistry’s ChemNet which is aimed at those aged 14-18. This allows them access to a variety of resources and support materials including the Mole magazine. We encourage students, through Eltham College, to take out a subscription to the periodical Chemistry Review which is aimed at A level students.

In order to encourage students’ wider interest in the subject, external speakers are invited into School. Our most recent speakers have been Dr Muriel Rigout (The University of Manchester) who gave a talk entitled “A whirlwind tour of the life of a Textile Chemist” and Dr Mark Heron (The University of Huddersfield) who spoke about Colour Chemistry.

Students in the Lower Sixth attend Chemistry in Action which is a day of lectures given by leading academics in the field of Chemistry.  In the Upper Sixth students attend an Analytical Study day at the University of Greenwich which provides them with an opportunity to see first-hand analytical instrumentation in use.

Students are also encouraged to take part in some of the co-curricular activities on offer in the department. Members of the Sixth Form can help to lead Pyro Club which is run for years 10 and 11. They can also develop their organic synthesis skills through attendance at Organic Club.

Students in both Lower and Upper Sixth are encouraged to participate in the International Chemistry Olympiad. The Olympiad offers a superb opportunity to challenge the most able and interested students and also provides excellent preparation for difficult university interviews, especially those at Oxbridge colleges. The results in the past few years have been pleasing:

  • 2015 – one Gold, five Silver and four Bronze awards.

  • 2014 – five Silver and six Bronze awards.

  • 2013 – six Silver and seven Bronze awards.

Students in the Lower Sixth are encouraged to take part in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (C3L6). This is a more recent undertaking and results in the past few years have been encouraging:

  • 2015 – one Roentgenium, one Gold, two Silver and two Copper awards.

  • 2014 – one Gold, two Silver and three Copper awards.

  • 2013 – one Silver and seven Copper awards.

A small team of students from the Lower Sixth will participate in the Schools Analyst Competition. In addition, some students are able to attend the Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society.

Results

In 2016, 76.9% of students achieved grades A*-B at A level with 15.4% at A* grade.

In 2015, 85.0% of students achieved grades A*-B at A level with 15.0% at A* grade.

In 2014, 88.2% of students achieved grades A*-B at A level with 29.4% at A* grade.

In 2013, 100% of students achieved grades A*-B at A level with 33.3% at A* grade. 

Higher Education and Careers

Students who have studied A level Chemistry have gone on to study a variety of degree programmes. In the scientific sphere these include, but are not limited to: Chemistry, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry, Biochemistry, Geology and Engineering. Some students have gone on to study courses in other disciplines such as Law or Modern Foreign Languages. Several students have secured Oxbridge places with Chemistry A level.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has an excellent careers website which outlines some of the options open to pupils who wish to study Chemistry. See here: http://www.rsc.org/careers/future/

Staff

At Eltham College the Chemistry department has teaching staff with a wealth of experience, knowledge and interests. Most of the department’s teaching staff have worked in industry or research and are able to relate the concepts to the wider world and to go beyond the scope of the syllabus.

We are committed to developing our practice as educators and to this end we are a Royal Society of Chemistry Learn Partner.

There are three members of staff who currently teach in the Sixth Form:

Practical support is provided by the Chemistry technician, Mrs J Gregory.

Useful Links

There is a lot of information about the course on this page but if you still have unanswered questions, email the Head of Department, Dr Fiona Morris, by email: fnm@eltham-college.org.uk

Other websites of interest are listed below: