Chemistry is taught to all students in Years 7-11 by specialist teachers in dedicated subject-specific laboratories. There are two full-time members of staff and a part-time technician.
The aims of the department are:
• To deliver an understanding of chemistry in the context of biological, physical and earth sciences and its relevance to modern society.
• To create a teaching environment in which students are encouraged to contribute to discussions, share their experiences and learn from experimental observations, in order to enrich their practical and theoretical understanding of chemistry in the wider context.
• To encourage awareness of the benefits of an understanding of chemistry and to provide insights into the importance of chemistry in a fast-changing technological world.
The chemistry taught in Years 7 and 8 investigates the big ideas of matter, reactions and the earth following the AQA key stage 3 specification. This lays the foundation for AQA GCSE chemistry which is covered throughout Years 9-11 and examined through two written papers at the end of Year 11. The examinations test factual recall, understanding of experimental details, mathematical skills and the application of scientific ideas in real-world scenarios. There is no controlled assessment or coursework aspect to the GCSE.
At A-level the AQA specification is followed, with final examinations at the end of Year 13. This builds on the foundations laid at GCSE. There is no controlled assessment for A-level chemistry, but a separate endorsement of practical skills is taken alongside the A-level. All students follow a comprehensive programme of practical investigations which builds their competency in a range of skills which is assessed by their teachers.
The teaching of chemistry at The Queen's School is enhanced by offering the following co-curricular activities.
• CREST award club for Year 8
• Weekly GCSE Chemistry clinic for Years 9-11
• Weekly A-level clinic for Years 12/13
• ‘Maths is Fun For Chemists Too’ clinic for Year 12.
• The Salters’ Festival of Chemistry for Years 8/9
We also encourage girls to enter in the RSC Chemistry Olympiad and the RSC Young Analyst competition at Sixth Form level.