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Head of Department:
Miss M Flannelly

Teaching Staff:
Miss R Kirby
Mrs K Barras

Technician:

Mrs M Johnston
Mrs S Young

Facilities


There are 3 well equipped Chemistry laboratories. Each lab has an interactive white board and a computer with c2k network access including a printer.  Each teacher has an iPad. There is also a small reference library in each lab and a comprehensive range of online resources on the department’s intranet.

Aims of the Department

The Chemistry Department aims to make the study of Chemistry both stimulating and fun. Not only does the study of Chemistry help us make sense of the world around us, it also touches upon the main social, ethical and cultural issues affecting our lives today.

The Department aims to:

  • stimulate pupils’ curiosity, interest and enjoyment of Chemistry and to prepare them for further studies which require a scientific background;

  • help pupils to develop safe experimental and investigative skills, and acquire a systematic body of chemical knowledge, including the uses and limitations of chemistry;

  • develop pupils to their full potential and prepare them for the challenges of the world of Science and Technology;

  • develop pupils’ appreciation of the contributions of Chemistry to society and the responsible use of scientific knowledge and evidence.

Key Stage 3


In Key Stage 3 Chemistry is taught as a component of Junior Science. Students are introduced to the colourful and exciting world of chemistry. There is a strong emphasis on practical work. The units have been developed by our subject specialists and they embrace the Revised Curriculum.

Year 8 Chemistry

  • Unit One: Introduction to Science

  • Unit Two: Acids and Alkalis

  • Unit Three: Elements, Compounds and Mixtures

Year 9 Chemistry

  • Unit One: The Periodic Table

  • Unit Two: Metals and the Reactivity Series

Year 10 Chemistry

  • Unit One: Different Types of Chemical Reaction

  • Unit Two: Atomic Structure and Ionic Bonding

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

At GCSE Students can access the study of Chemistry as a discrete GCSE or as a component of the Double Award Science Qualification. Both qualifications build on the skill, knowledge and understanding developed at Key Stage 3 and allow further opportunities for practising laboratory skills.

At GCSE the study of Chemistry provides a wide-reaching base of scientific knowledge. It provides students with a fascinating insight into and develops their knowledge and understanding of the material world.

Students begin to develop their understanding of the effects of chemistry on society; both good and bad. They also develop transferable skills that will benefit them in vocational training and employment. It also enables them to progress to the study of science and related courses at GCE Advanced level and Advanced Subsidiary level.

Unit 1 involves study of: Structures, Trends, Chemical Reactions, Quantitative Chemistry and Analysis

Unit 2 involves the study of: Further Chemical Reactions, Rates and Equilibrium, Calculations and Organic Chemistry

Unit 3 is a Practical Skills unit and is taught in laboratory sessions throughout Year 11 and 12.

Key Stage 5 (GCE)

Post 16 Chemistry continues to thrive in the College. Uptake is very healthy and results are excellent. Over the past three years the Chemistry Department achieved 96.1 % A*-C at A Level. The NI Grammar School average was 88.4% (stats provided by DENI).

Our students follow the CCEA modular A level chemistry specification. The A level course is a challenging qualification suitable for students with an interest in chemistry or with an interest in the many careers where chemistry is a useful subject (see below).

At AS Level, students must successfully complete three modules. A further three modules must be successfully completed at A2 Level.

AS Chemistry

Unit 1: Basic Concepts in Physical and Inorganic Chemistry (AS 40% / A2 16%)

This unit involves the study of:

  • Atomic Structure and Bonding

  • The Periodic Table with a Focus on Group VII

  • Redox Reactions

  • Acid-Base Titrations

  • Basic Calculations and Equations

  • Qualitative Analysis

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination at the end of Year 13. Students have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit and it is externally marked.

Unit 2: Further Physical and Inorganic Chemistry and an Introduction to Organic Chemistry (AS 40%               / A2 16%)

This unit involves the study of:

  • Organic Chemistry

  • Equilibrium

  • Kinetics

  • Thermochemistry

  • Infra-red Spectroscopy

  • Mole Calculations

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination at the end of Year 13. Students have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit and it is externally marked.

Unit 3: Basic Practical Chemistry (AS 20% / A2 8%)

This practical unit comprises of two parts: Booklet A and Booklet B.

Booklet A (25 marks)

For Booklet A, pupils carry out a variety of practical tasks and have 1 hour 15 minutes to complete this practical exam.  Assessment of this unit takes place at the end of Year 13 and it is externally assessed.

Booklet B (55 marks)

In Booklet B, pupils are assessed in the form of a 1 hour 15 minute written examination. Assessment of this unit takes place at the end of Year 13 and it is externally assessed.

A2 Chemistry

Unit 4: Further Physical and Organic Chemistry (24%)

This unit involves the study of:

  • Equilibrium

  • Kinetics

  • Lattice Enthalpy

  • Entropy

  • Isomerism

  • Aldehydes and Ketones

  • Carboxylic acids and their derivatives

  • Aromatic Chemistry

This unit is assessed in the form of a 2 hour written examination. Assessment of this unit takes place at the end of Year 14 and it is externally assessed.

Unit 5: Analytical, Transition Metals, Electrochemistry and Organic Nitrogen Chemistry (24%)

This unit involves the study of:

  • Mass Spectrometry

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

  • Volumetric Analysis

  • Chromatography

  • Transition Metals

  • Electrode Potentials

  • Organic Nitrogen Compounds

  • Polymer Chemistry

  • Chemistry in Medicine

This unit is assessed in the form of a 2 hour written examination. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 14 and it is externally assessed.

Unit 6: Further Practical Chemistry (12%)

This practical unit comprises of two parts: Booklet A and Booklet B.

Booklet A (30 marks)

In Booklet A, pupils carry out a variety of practical tasks and have 1 hour 15 minutes to complete this exam.  Assessment of this unit takes place at the end of Year 14 and it is externally assessed.  

Booklet B (60 marks) 

In Booklet B, pupils are assessed in the form of a 1 hour 15 minute written examination. Assessment of this unit takes place at the end of Year 14 and it is externally assessed.

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Extra-curricular provision

The Chemistry Department contributes to the school’s extra-curricular provision. Extra-curricular activities include:

  • Salters’ Festival of Chemistry

  • RSC Top of the Bench Competition

  • Irish Chemistry Olympiad Competition

  • RSC Schools Analyst Competition and

  • Chemistry at Work Exhibition.

Career Opportunities

The study of Chemistry is fundamental to our understanding of the world. Chemistry plays a role in everyone's lives and touches almost every aspect of our existence in some way and is essential for meeting our basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, health, energy, and clean air, water, and soil.

Chemical technologies enrich our quality of life in numerous ways by providing new solutions to problems in health, materials, and energy usage. Chemistry is often referred to as the central science because it joins together physics and mathematics, biology and medicine, and the earth and environmental sciences. Knowledge of the nature of chemicals and chemical processes therefore provides insights into a variety of physical and biological phenomena.

There are careers which use Chemistry directly and others which use the skills developed through the study of Chemistry. Some of the sectors where chemists are to be found include:

  • All areas of industry, from the oil, chemical and pharmaceutical companies

  • Public health and environment protection

  • Research in universities, government institutes, industry and private agencies

  • Teaching at all levels

  • Patent agencies, scientific journalism

  • Forensic science

  • Engineering especially chemical and biomedical

  • Medicine

  • Pharmacy

  • Toxicology

  • Neuroscience and neurochemistry

  • Dentistry

However, in studying a Chemistry degree, students also acquire many other valuable transferable skills including numeracy, data handling, computing and IT, problem solving and communication. These are precisely the skills required in many areas of managerial and administrative work, in business, commerce, finance, banking, law or the Civil Service, and many chemists move easily into occupations in these areas. Thus, a Chemistry degree will prepare you for a career in Chemistry, if that is what you wish, but it will not restrict you to chemistry and can be a stepping stone to many other opportunities.

Useful websites

http://ccea.org.uk/chemistry/

https://www.rsc.org/

https://www.chemguide.co.uk

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects