Chemistry is right at the heart of all science. Just about everything you can think of is made of atoms and it is the chemists’ job to study how these tiny particles of matter interact with each other. Everything we touch, taste and see are made up of chemicals.
The DNA in our cells, proteins in our hair and skin, the enzymes that carry out essential reactions – all are all made of chemicals. Mankind has benefitted enormously from the study of chemistry - from medicines to protect from disease, to fertilisers to feed us, to polymers in the clothes we wear. Chemistry also has a crucial part to play in the future of the planet - it will be the emerging generation of chemists that help the transition from our reliance on polluting fossil fuels and towards cleaner energy producing technology.
About the Curriculum
All Third Form chemists follow a foundation course on three periods a week, giving them the opportunity to practise various laboratory techniques and carry out at least one research project. At the end of the Third Form pupils opt to take either the AQA GCSE Separate Award Chemistry course (code 8464) or the AQA GCSE Combined Science course (code 8454). Both are topic based specifications and are designed to engage students’ interest in chemistry and scientific enquiry. The Separate and Combined Award specifications comprise the core topics of Chemistry such as atomic structure, bonding, the periodic table and rates of reaction. Those pupils studying the Separate Award study a number of additional topics such as gas volume calculations, bond energies and moles in solution calculations. The Combined Award is taught in three periods a week whereas the Separate Award is allocated four periods a week. Assessment is linear, with those pupils opting for Separate Award sitting two 105 minute written papers, each worth 90 marks. There is no controlled assessment. The Separate Award course is an excellent grounding for taking Chemistry further in the Sixth Form, although students achieving an A*A grade or better in Combined Award may also be suitable for further study.
The practical nature of the subject allows us to embed a wide range of skills and competencies into over forty laboratory tasks taken over the two years, giving pupils plenty of opportunity to hone their skills.
The Chemistry Department offers a wide range of academic enrichment activities, including guest speakers, competitions, visits and interactive workshops. In the past year alone our pupils have taken part in the following activities:
Chemistry in Action Lecture Day at UCL (December 2016): Lower Sixth pupils experienced several lectures including ‘The Chemistry of Smell’ and ‘From Breaking Bad to making good – the chemistry of drugs’.
Chemistry Lectures at Lancing: ‘Designer Drugs for Designer People’ (January 2017) given by Dr Nick Plant of the University of Surrey; ‘Tackling Cancer: the Old and New Way’ (May 2017) given by Professor John Spencer of the University of Sussex.
Royal Society of Chemistry’s Schools’ ‘Top of the Bench’ Competition (January 2017): Four Senior School pupils represented Lancing in a regional heat of this annual competition held at Ardingly College. We finished fourth out of the twelve participating schools.
International Chemistry Olympiad Competition (February 2017): 14 pupils entered this challenging competition aimed at Sixth Form Chemists. Two students achieved Bronze Awards, five obtained Silver Awards and one achieved a Gold Award (finishing in the top 200 of 5000 students).
RSC ‘Spectroscopy in a Suitcase’ (June 2017): An interactive workshop organised by the University of Sussex allowing our Sixth Form pupils to get some hands-on experience of operating analytical instruments such as infra-red spectrometers.