The Chemistry Department challenges students to develop an awareness of their world by exploring big, complex questions about the bonds between elements, the interactions that create new substances and the energy changes around these phenomena.
Students participate in an exciting combination of experiments, demonstrations and interactive learning.
To enhance students’ learning, there are two weekly lunchtime clinics for all year groups, throughout the senior school. We also participate in the UK-wide Top of the Bench competition and were very proud when a team of four students from Forms 3 to 5 were placed runners up at the National Final in March 2019.
At GCSE students follow either the AQA GCSE Chemistry course or the AQA GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy course. All students start the course in Form 3 on the Combined Science pathway. The final pathway followed by students is not decided until the end of Form 4 so the most appropriate pathway is advised and selected for the students and their individual interests.
The course content covers traditional areas in Chemistry:
- Atomic structure and the periodic table
- Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
- Quantitative chemistry
- Chemical changes
- Energy changes
- The rate and extent of chemical change
- Organic chemistry
- Chemical analysis
- Chemistry of the atmosphere
- Using resources
What are the unique selling points of studying this subject at St Columba’s College?
- Opportunity to obtain good GCSE grades from teachers, all of whom are specialists in their field.
- Small pupil to teacher ratio.
- Extensive practical opportunities.
- Lunchtime GCSE support sessions for Chemistry and Combined Science.
How are the students assessed?
Both KS4 and KS5 are assessed by exams only.
Both qualifications are linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams at the end of the course. For both courses, students sit two papers. For Chemistry the papers are 1 hour and 45 minutes long. For Trilogy the papers are 1 hour and 15 minutes long.
KS3 & KS4: once a week based on the published homework timtable for the particular year group
KS5: Most lessons will have homework set (5-6 times a week)
How can parents/guardians support their child’s learning?
- Have realistic expectations and not rely on what they did when they were at school. The way the subject is taught is now very different.
- Encourage students to complete homework, hand in on time and attend support clinics when necessary.
- Communicate with teachers in good time if there is an issue.