The department has three specialist Chemistry laboratories. The Chemistry staff consists of four full-time Chemistry graduates and all teaching in Years 7 to 13 is by a Chemistry graduate. Chemistry is taught as a separate subject throughout the school. All staff endeavour to ensure that many school lessons contain practical work. This develops the boys practical skills, develops understanding of theoretical ideas and provides an enjoyable learning environment.
In 2012, Year 10 and 11 pupils won the West Midland Chemistry Teachers Association Quiz and Year 8 pupils, the Salters Chemistry Challenge. The team has then gone on to represent the West Midlands in the Royal Society of Chemistry ‘Top of the Bench’ competition. In 2008, pupils claimed the top two places in the Royal Society of Chemistry ‘Five Decade Challenge’.
Key Stage 3
All pupils follow a common course. Teaching throughout Key Stage 3 is in form groups (32).
Year 7: 2 periods per two weeks (120 mins.)
Year 8: 3 periods per two weeks (180 mins.)
Year 9: 3 periods per two weeks (180 mins.)
Key Stage 4
All pupils follow a common course based on the AQA Certificate in Chemistry. This is a linear course, with pupils taking exams at the end of Years 10 and 11. Teaching throughout Key Stage 4 is in 4 sets of 23 or 24 boys. Each set is of mixed ability.
Year 10:4 periods per two weeks (240 mins.)
Year 11: 4 periods per two weeks (240 mins.)
It is departmental policy to try to ensure that the same member of staff stays with a set throughout KS4.
The Post 16 course currently offered is AQA Chemistry. Chemistry has five sets in the Lower and four sets in the Upper Sixth. Each set has between 14 and 20 pupils. Each set in all Upper and Lower Sixth is taken by one of the full-time chemists, each set having 9 periods per two weeks (560 mins.)
The sixth form has the opportunity to further their interest in Chemistry by subscribing to the Chemistry Review magazine and also have the chance to attend lectures at Birmingham University run by the West Midlands Chemistry Teachers Association. In recent years, pupils have attended revision days at Salford and Manchester Universities and have undertaken a Spectroscopy Problem Solving Day at Warwick University.