Everything is chemistry, from the air that surrounds us to the organisms that breathe it, from industry to agriculture, from art to medicine. Defined as the study of matter and the changes this matter undergoes, chemistry underpins every other science and indeed life itself.
At Norwich School we bring this crucial subject alive with lessons and practical activities designed to excite the imagination within a strong tradition of academic rigour.
The modern world relies upon the development of new chemicals and materials and this innovatory aspect of the subject is emphasised throughout our courses. By understanding the machinery of nature, we ultimately gain the power to control the properties of matter.
Pupils are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities and we have been successful in the Chemistry Olympiad, the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Young Analyst Competition and Top of the Bench, among other prestigious competitions.
Fourth Form pupils follow a scheme of learning developed at the school to ensure that they cover the concepts fundamental to their success at GCSE level. These include learning about particle theory, investigating the periodic table and considering how and why chemical reactions occur.
Pupils attend a weekly Chemistry lesson which is augmented by at least one corresponding practical activity.
Cross-curricular links are established with the other sciences and beyond - for example, exploring the history of Chemistry in the context of the development of new theories.
The Fifth Form is devoted to studying for Edexcel IGCSE Chemistry.
Throughout the three years of the course, concepts are continually revisited and refreshed to give everyone the opportunity to succeed at GCSE. We aim to stretch and to challenge all our pupils in a way that is sensitive to their skills and progress.
Practical work plays a very large part in the course and pupils are encouraged to gain their understanding of Chemistry through their own observations and rigorous experimental procedures, rather than through the two-dimensional presentation of facts.
After three years, pupils sit either one or two papers in the subject, depending on whether they have chosen triple-award or double-award science.
Our A-level course is designed to train the pioneering chemists of the future. The study of Chemistry at A-level develops many important skills including logical thinking, analysis of evidence, making connections, data processing and manipulative skills in practical work. Such skills are advantageous in a wide range of careers and advanced academic pursuits.
The course we teach is the OCR Specification A, with examinations taken at the end of Year 2. Although the work requires a mathematical and logical approach, the study of Mathematics at A level is not essential.
We recognise that pupils will have studied a variety of different GCSE courses and so much of the first term is devoted to ensuring that the foundations of the subject are solid and secure.