Chemistry is the central science with an impact on all facets of our lives and it is a fascinating field of study. Studying the behaviour of atoms, molecules and ions allows us to understand so many things that make up the world.

The Chemistry Department at Ipswich School helps pupils to acquire not only a powerful scientific understanding, but also the ability to analyse critically, ask pertinent questions and problem solve.

We teach Science as three separate subjects - Biology, Chemistry and Physics - in the Lower School. In Years 10 and 11 pupils study all three sciences to GCSE. In the Sixth Form Chemistry is a popular option, being chosen by around fifty students each year. Our aim is to make the subject stimulating and interesting by making links with everyday life. Pupils’ learning is enhanced by regular practical work.

Lower School

The Chemistry course covers much of the content of the KS3 National Curriculum. Pupils study a range of topics that includes Solids, Liquids and
Gases, Separating Mixtures, Acids and Alkalis and Earth Resources. Pupils learn how to work safely in a laboratory and how to use specific equipment. Regular practical work aids learning and develops the skills needed for examination at GCSE and beyond.

“Today we start with my favourite subject…science. It has made me realise just how amazing nature is.” Lower School Chemistry student

Middle School and GCSE

From Years 9 to 11 pupils follow the AQA Chemistry GCSE course, building on the ideas covered in Lower School as well as introducing new topics, such as Organic Reactions and Quantitive Chemistry. We develop the analytical and practical skills of the pupils, offering a weekly clinic and extra appointments to support individuals in achieving their potential. Pupils prepare thoroughly for their final examinations, with regular past paper practice and with active use of the exam board mark schemes. They build firm foundations for study at A Level. Each year we send a team of chemists to Norwich for the RSC Top of the Bench analytical competition, which we have won twice in the last four years.

Sixth Form and A level

We teach the new OCR A Level course. For most pupils this will be a two year linear course. Whilst many topics remain familiar, controlled assessment has been replaced with a practical endorsement that is separate from the A Level grade. The written papers will now also contain questions on practical techniques.

“Thank you for all the help you have given me over the past year and for making your lessons so memorable!” Upper Sixth Form chemist

Year 13 students have an opportunity to take part in the especially challenging but ultimately rewarding Chemistry Olympiad, which stretches the most able A Level candidates and enables them to really demonstrate their scientific flair.

To stretch and challenge students in the Sixth Form, we offer the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, Chemistry Olympiad, an analytical competition at UEA and the Peterhouse Cambridge essay competition - recently won by an Ipswich School pupil.