At The Oratory School the accommodation of the Chemistry Department consists of two interlinked laboratories, prep and resources room and a small seminar room. The subject is taught by two full time members of staff, with an experienced laboratory technician who provides technical and clerical support.
St Philip House Chemistry (years 7 and 8) is taught as a single science and it provides an introduction to the subject. The basic principles and background to the subject are introduced and expanded using practical work. The aim is to bring all boys up to a common standard by the time that they join the senior school. This allows a seamless transition into the start of the introductory GCSE material that is taught throughout the third form.
Third Form Chemistry
In the third form (year 9), the first half of the Michaelmas term is used to ensure that all the boys have reached the same level of knowledge. For the remainder of the academic year the GCSE chemistry syllabus is started and the boys are taught the fundamentals of the subject. The aim is to give each boy a flavour of the topics so that they are sufficiently informed at the time of deciding on their GCSE options at the end of the third form.
The third form examination paper is of 1 hour duration and is composed of GCSE style questions. It is taken in June of each academic year and grades A – E are available. Most boys receive A to C grades.
Chemistry is a very popular choice at GCSE. The boys are enthusiastic about the subject and they particularly enjoy practical work.
At GCSE the Edexcel international GCSE specification is followed. The aim of the course is to provide pupils, through study and experiment, with an understanding and knowledge of the subject that will enable them to:
The examinations taken at the end of the Fifth Form year comprise of two un-tiered written examination papers; there is no controlled assessment.
AS and A Level Chemistry
The study of Chemistry to AS and A Level is essential for a wide variety of University courses including Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Pharmacology, Veterinary Science, many Biological subjects and Chemistry. Whether Chemistry is studied for its own sake or as a qualification to proceed to other subjects, the successful pupil will have shown that they have an analytical mind and are a capable problem-solver. These skills are particularly welcomed by employers and university admission tutors.
Chemistry is traditionally divided into the three major sections, Physical, Organic and Inorganic and this is reflected in the OCR linear specifications (H032 and H432) are taught within the Department.
N. Danks BSc PhD (Head of Chemistry)
A Bowles BSc PhD