Chemistry is the central science and impacts on all aspects of our lives. An understanding of Chemistry is necessary to all other sciences from astronomy to zoology. All of the materials used by engineers and technologists are made by chemical reactions and we all experience chemical reactions continuously, whether it be breathing or baking a cake, driving a car or listening to a battery driven MP3 player. Chemistry is concerned with all aspects of molecules, their physical and chemical properties, their composition and structure, their synthesis and use in the 21st century.
Chemistry is an essential A-level subject for those planning to apply for Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry and Pharmacy. However it is a subject that can be combined not only with Mathematics and other Science subjects, but also with many from the Arts and Humanities. It is always highly regarded by universities and employers alike.
Chemistry is one of the most popular subjects in the college and the department is thriving, with over 100 students studying the subject at A level.
The department offers a variety of courses, including:
- a standard two-year A level
- a one year intensive A level
- an upper sixth transfer, for those who wish to study A level at Brampton having studied AS elsewhere
- GCSE (one year)
Students are studying the OCR GCE Chemistry A specification. The content is split into six teaching modules:
- Module 1 – Development of practical skills in chemistry
- Module 2 – Foundations chemistry
- Module 3 – Periodic table and energy
- Module 4 – Core organic chemistry
- Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements
- Module 6 – Organic chemistry
The specification has been designed to be co-teachable with the stand alone AS Level in Chemistry A qualification at the end of the first year. The first four modules comprise the AS Level in Chemistry A course and students studying the A Level continue with the content of modules 5 and 6.
There are 3 written examination papers at the end of the two year course covering all content from Year 1 and 2.
|Paper 1||Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry||100 marks
37% of total A level
|2 hours 15 minutes|
|Paper 2||Synthesis and analytical techniques||100 marks
37% of total A level
|2 hours 15 minutes|
|Paper 3||Unified chemistry||70 marks
26% of total A level
|1 hour 30 minutes|
The internally assessed Practical Endorsement skills also form part of the full A level. Students are keeping a log book that demonstrates how they have developed their skills. The written papers will be including questions on practical work.
Chemistry Departmental Features
The Chemistry Department is housed in its own two fully equipped laboratories with an extensive range of equipment close at hand. Each teaching group is timetabled to have at least two sessions in the laboratory every week.
Teaching is provided by a highly experienced and committed team of teachers. The department offers weekly tutorials and provides detailed feedback from regular tests and homework.
The department is very pleased with the examination results achieved by its students in August 2018. At A level there were 11% A*, 43% A*/A and 89% A*-B grades. GCSE students had a fantastic year with 36% A*, 79* A*/A and 93% A*-B grades.
The Chemistry Olympiad is organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry. This national competition provides an opportunity to stretch and challenge post-16 students studying chemistry. It is a demanding written test of chemical knowledge. The questions are based on real world chemistry problems and often stimulate much debate, raising awareness of what Chemistry is all about. They provide a good opportunity to develop some of the skills required to study at university and beyond.
We had 25 students taking on the competition of 6600 other students nationwide. The college had the most successful year in the history of participating. Jasmine Teoh was the top scorer in the college, achieving a Silver Award. A further 8 students were awarded a Bronze Award.
Susan Young, Head of Department
Before joining Brampton Susan was teaching Chemistry at the King Edward VI School in Southampton. Susan has a first class honours degree in Chemistry and has an outstanding track record in helping her students to achieve academic success at both GCSE and A level. Susan believes in building strong links with local Universities to encourage students to study Chemistry at degree level. She has had several students who have gone on to study at Oxford. She is also an assistant examiner for OCR.
Sarah is an outstanding educator with a very strong track record of success in teaching and management, especially in the area of university progression. After graduating with a first class degree in Chemistry from Durham, Sarah went on to take a doctorate and publish a string of scholarly articles in her specialist field, before beginning her teaching career at Uppingham School. After a further period of research, Sarah joined William Morris Academy, and a swift succession of promotions followed from Head of Department to the position of Assistant Principal. Married with three teenage children, Sarah is a keen chess-player and runner in her spare time.
Mark has been teaching A level Chemistry for the majority of his career in a variety of schools and colleges. He has joined Brampton for his second stint and is excited to return to the fun, friendly and focused classes with students who enjoy their learning. In his spare time Mark enjoys writing books, playing chess and running around after his young family. He is also running the Brampton chess club.
Jim left us in 2006 to teach in the Far East, where he has immersed himself not only in a fascinatingly different culture, but acquired a wealth of new educational ideas and experience which he is keen to bring to our
classrooms. We are delighted he is rejoining the chemistry department.
Jason Karp achieved A* and is currently studying Discrete Mathematics at the University of Warwick
A level chemistry was a bit of a roller coaster ride, first I went up and had a real passion for Chemistry, then I went down and couldn’t stand the subject, especially the practicals! However, one of the strengths of the chemistry department was that I was able to bond to some of the teachers and ask any question I needed. They were determined to change my view on practicals (which I think they did by the end). They taught me a great lesson, to stay positive even when things get tough. This is a lesson I will carry with me through to university.
Sean Denney. In 2013 I left my school 6th form with a grade E in Chemistry, later that year I joined Brampton College.
Less than 1 year on from joining the college I achieved not only a Bronze medal in the Chemistry Olympiad but a B grade in Chemistry A-level.
With the dedication of the teachers, regular assessments and reports, I was able to focus and achieve my goal to study Chemistry at University. I am really grateful to Brampton College for all the support and help that they gave me”.
A Career in Chemistry
A Chemistry-based degree gives you an excellent qualification for a wide career choice within science, industry or commerce. A Chemistry graduate is numerate, analytical, and practical and has good problem solving, presentation and communication skills. Jobs are to be found in small, medium and multinational chemical companies as well as in business, banking, accountancy, marketing, advertising, teaching, and the IT sector. Of course, you may decide to continue studying Chemistry and many of our graduates opt to do research for a further period of one to three years for a higher degree.
Chemistry is all around you. Have you ever wondered:
- How drugs work?
- Why plastics and materials have the properties they have?
- What exactly is an ‘ozone hole’ and how does it arise – the atmospheric chemistry involved?
- How the catalytic converter in your car controls pollutants in car exhausts?
- Why do we frequently hear about emergence of hydrogen as an alternative fuel?
- How are modern analytical methods used to identify illicit drugs such as heroin?
- Why is oxygen such an important molecule and how is it transported in our bodies?
- How are chemicals manufactured on the industrial scale, and what is the impact of this industry on the environment and local economy?
- Why is ruby red, and emerald green?
- What are buckyballs?
- How are antibiotics made?
- How is acid rain formed, and what are its effects on the environment
- Why are some metals magnetic and others are not?
- Why do some substances find use as high explosives?
Chemists are very much involved in tackling the problems faced by our modern society. On a given day, a chemist may be studying the mechanism for the recombination of DNA, measuring the amount of insecticide in drinking water, developing a biodegradable plastic, comparing the protein content of meats, better pollution controls, developing a new antibiotic, or analysing a moon rock. The ability to design and prepare new classes of molecules is producing dramatic breakthroughs in materials science, and medicine, for example. Modern methods of analysis are used to provide solutions to problems in forensic science, the environment and food safety. In fact the list of areas in which chemistry is involved is virtually endless.