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In the Chemistry department at The Tiffin Girls’ School we seek to provide our students with the tools required to understand the world around them, starting with the basic building blocks of matter. We will not only study the structure and properties of materials and living organisms, but also how and why matter undergoes changes which lead to new substances being made.

Chemistry is taught for one hour a week at KS3, moving to two hours at KS4 and four hours at KS5.

In KS3, the focus is to develop the key fundamental ideas underpinning this exciting science whilst developing a strong understanding of the scientific method. Students will learn to design experiments and critically evaluate the validity of the results obtained, comparing them to other results documented in the scientific literature.

We follow the AQA GCSE course in Years 9-11. In Year 9 and Year 10, the students dive deeper into the fundamentals of Chemistry: atomic structure, periodicity, structure and bonding, calculations, chemical changes, energy changes, rates and organic chemistry. In Year 11, the learning is consolidated by applying the concepts learned in previous years to exciting current contexts such as: the Earth’s atmosphere (climate change) and Using the Earth’s resources (metal extraction, material science and fertiliser manufacturing). Throughout the GCSE course, students enjoy practical work that further contributes to their understanding of the subject.

At A-Level, we follow the OCR A course; we are an extremely popular subject with over 100 students choosing Chemistry in Year 12. Studying Chemistry develops a range of transferable skills that are key to succeeding in higher education. Physical Chemistry develops strong numerical, analytical and problem solving skills whereas Organic Chemistry develops evaluative, attention to detail and links to current context in medicine and using the Earth’s resources sustainably.

Learning continues outside of lessons with numerous opportunities such as: KS4 STEM projects for CREST awards; KS3 science club; KS5 Chemistry club, Year 12 Cambridge Chemistry challenge; Year 13 RSC Chemistry Olympiad; and external essay competitions. Appointed Chemistry associates play a vital role in the department running clubs as well as being mentors for GCSE students.

Chemistry A-Level serves as a springboard to study a degree in not only Chemistry but also Biochemistry, Natural Sciences, Biomedical Science, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary and many others.