|Chemistry is central to our understanding of so many things. How can we make natural resources more sustainable? How should we treat illnesses with drug development? Chemistry at Denstone seeks to develop pupils' understanding of the chemical world around them, whilst equipping them with practical investigative skills relating to the real world. Maintaining curiosity is central to learning in chemistry alongside a desire to see how chemical phenomena can be used to explain real life experiences.
Teaching is dynamic and learning is exciting, with much emphasis on laboratory practical work. Courses cover the study of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. At GCSE practical work dominates the course and develops the ability to acquire knowledge, especially the fostering of imaginative and critical thinking. ICT and data logging software play a key part in trying to enhance pupils’ learning.
The Junior School specification for First to Second Form follows the new and exciting AQA Activate 2-year course, focusing on the development of pupils enquiry skills alongside improving pupils ability to apply and extend their understanding of real world phenomena. Enjoyment and engagement are key in these early years.
From the beginning of the Third Form students follow the GCSE course from AQA Specification. It covers the three traditional branches of chemistry: organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. It is intended to be a broad overview of the subject and so includes aspects of analysis and numerical methods in chemistry as well as atomic structure, the Periodic Table, energy, reaction rates, acids and bases, organic chemistry, industrial processes, oil and the atmosphere. In the Fourth Form students can follow Triple Science Chemistry or Combined Science where students follow a reduced chemistry curriculum that offers opportunities to deepen understanding of working scientifically.
Sixth Form students study A level through the OCR Specification A. Many of the topics introduced in the GCSE course reappear in an expanded form together with a much larger organic section and a systematic study of the properties of elements and their compounds according to their periodic classification. L6th students are challenged by targeting the most able to take the Cambridge Chemistry challenge at the end of the L6th.
Upper Sixth study then focusses on Polymers, Organic Synthesis and Analysis, Equilibria, Energetics and Elements and practical assessment groups known as PAGs. There is no practical assessment in the A level with three linear written papers including a synoptic style assessment worth 27%.
The department successfully takes part in the Salter's Chemistry Festival and arranges a lively and popular programme of visits to universities, Science Live and Sixth Form spectroscopy visits as well as the Astra Zeneca conference and other symposia.
Further subject information can be found in the relevant school curriculum document on the Curriculum page.