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We ensure that the Chemistry curriculum is intellectually challenging and relevant to the students of the Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School.  We establish a stimulating environment, which inspires students’ love of Science and Chemistry. We strive for high quality teaching and learning in the classroom.

Students of all academic abilities develop and appreciate the need to maintain a sustainable world; through our understanding of chemical resources and processes.  We promote the idea that ‘Science is everywhere’; encouraging students, no matter their ability, to consider the links between the Chemistry curriculum and the world around them.

We encourage all students to consider and appreciate the need to maintain a sustainable world through developing an understanding of how the laws of chemical interactions relate to both the laboratory and the natural world.

Learning through practical work is key in our curriculum to ensure students develop high level investigative skills, such as hypothesising, testing and evaluating, so they can investigate scientific theories and develop their practical and communication skills.

All Chemists; students and staff alike, continually develop their knowledge and skills in order to reach their full potential and consider whether a career within a STEM subject may be one that allows them to later utilise these skills. Examples include chemical engineering, medicinal sciences, drug development and sustainable fuel synthesis.

Curriculum Summary:

Key Stage 3
Our two-year programme of study ensures that students can learn and develop the key skills required for success at KS4. We ensure an emphasis on scientific terminology and working scientifically is integrated throughout the course, allowing students to explore new ideas or concepts in a creative and engaging manner as well as develop their knowledge. This course places a lot of emphasis not only on practical skills and activities, but also real-life applications of Chemistry. Our aim is to enhance our students' enjoyment of Chemistry and increase their awareness on just how relevant and important it is to our everyday lives.

Over the two years, the students will study the following:

  • Safety in the laboratory
  • Separating mixtures
  • Elements and compounds
  • The Periodic Table
  • Chemical changes
  • Combustion
  • States of matter
  • Acids and alkalis
  • Neutralisation and making salts
  • Extracting metals and displacement
  • Rocks and the environment
  • Physical processes in the environment
  • Climate change

Students will develop the following skills
Practical skills - being able to use scientific equipment, chemicals or heating substances safely. They will also be taught to take various types of measurements accurately. We will emphasise the use of correct terminology needed for their GCSEs, embedding correct vocabulary as we introduce new processes.
Analytically, students will learn how to record, interpret and use data from experiments or secondary sources. They will learn how to draw and interpret appropriate graphs. Students will be encouraged to apply their core chemistry knowledge to unfamiliar contexts or scenarios and make links to the chemical processes in the world around them.

There will be 6 cumulative assessments throughout the year. The assessments will include questions on recent topics studied, but also questions from previous units to encourage our students to keep reviewing and revising their work.

Key Stage 4

Qualification: GCSE

Awarding Body and Papers:AQA GCSE Chemistry 8462 and  AQA GCSE Combined Science 8464

Programme of Study
GCSE Chemistry gives our students the opportunity to gain a good understanding of:

"    The nature of substances and how they react together.
"    How Chemistry is used in business and industry.
"    How the use of raw materials in fuels and manufacturing can affect the global and local environments and the sustainability of raw materials.

The specification is designed to help students understand how to formulate a scientific approach to appreciating and explaining the world, as well as solving problems. This means that the 'How Science Works' and 'Science is Everywhere' approach is integrated throughout the specification.

Learning/Teaching Approach
The specification is structured in a way that starts with the fundamental ideas in Chemistry, putting the building blocks in place and adding to KS3 knowledge. Topics include structure and bonding, the periodic table, rates of reaction and analysis.
Practical work is an integral part of the course and will help to consolidate and strengthen the theory side. Students will need to undertake a number of 'required practicals,' the method and theory of which can be questioned in their final GCSE papers.

Assessment will compose of 2 final exams in Year 11; both 1 hour 45 minutes in duration and worth 50% each. For those students sitting the Combined Science exams, assessments will compose of 2 final exams, both of 1 hour and 15 minutes. The exams will contain multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. There is no coursework or controlled assessment component.

What it can lead to
It is suitable for students of all abilities, whether they intend to pursue further study in Science or not. The analytical, problem solving and evaluative skills gained through studying Chemistry GCSE are very important and transferrable to many other fields.

We hope to encourage more of our students to study Chemistry for A-level.  A-level chemistry is vital for any student wishing to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and pharmacy to name but a few. If working in these fields appeal to you, then Chemistry GCSE is your starting point.

Additional Points
The Higher GCSE Science specifications involve greater mathematical rigour; success at this level gives a good grounding for further study of Chemistry at A Level.

Tier of Entry:
Foundation/Higher Tier.

Key Stage 5

Qualification: A Level

Awarding Body and Paper: OCR A Chemistry H432

Programme of Study
A Level Chemistry gives students the chance to gain a deeper understanding of the interactions of chemicals and their importance in everyday life. Concepts include: use of polymers, fuels, drugs and materials useful for life. The specification integrates practical work and mathematical skills throughout the units. The course covers a range of 'physical' and 'organic' topics building on the foundations made in GCSE.

Learning/Teaching Approach
The specification is based on a series of modules:
"    Foundations in chemistry
"    Periodic table and energy
"    Core organic chemistry
"    Physical chemistry and transition elements
"    Organic chemistry and analysis
"  In addition to undertaking the learning of specification content, all students also work towards the Practical Endorsement as part of their Chemistry A Level. This represents to employers and Universities that students are competent in a range of practical investigations and have obtained core skills such as data presentation, safe and careful use of scientific equipment and referencing of their background research.

Assessment will compose of 3 final exams in Year 13:
Paper 1 - Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry - 2 hours 15 minutes
Paper 2 - Synthesis and analytical techniques - 2 hours 15 minutes
Paper 3 - Unified chemistry - 1 hour 30 minutes
The exams will contain multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. Students gain practical skills throughout the course; these are assessed in the written examinations and in the practical endorsement (component 04). Activities that could count towards the practical endorsement are indicated in the specification.

What it can lead to
Chemistry forms part of the school's suite of A Level Science exams which offer students a variety of possibilities and combinations to help them achieve to the best of their abilities. It can open doors to future careers in Medicine and Pharmacy and the Veterinary Sciences, alongside providing a basis for further study and employment reliant on strong analytical, data interpretation and evaluative skills.

Additional Points
The A Level Chemistry specification involves significant mathematical rigour; strong performance in Maths at GCSE and success at this level is required for a good grounding for study of Chemistry at A Level.