The Chemistry Department at Glenalmond College aims to encourage and stimulate, as well as challenge, pupils of all abilities.
We endeavour to provide them with opportunities to develop skills, both in a practical and scholastic sense, which will be useful not just in their academic careers but also in everyday life. Pupils are encouraged to become confident citizens in an increasingly technical world and to establish an informed grounding in matters of scientific interest or debate. Measured from a purely examination perspective the department's A level and GCSE results are amongst the best in the school.
In an effort to stretch our very brightest pupils and assist the whole academic spectrum, two extra tutorials are provided per week throughout the whole year. These tutorials are aimed primarily at examination groups in December and April/May and are also used to help students prepare for the RSC Chemistry Olympiad. The Department is actively involved in local RSC activities including the School's Analyst and Top of the Bench competitions.
The Glenalmond College Chemistry Blog lists Chemistry news and provides links and reading material for pupils.
Dr Sean Wilkinson, BSc, PhD, PGCE
Mrs Theresa Hughes, BSc, PGCE
Mrs Lauren Tosh, BSc, PGCE
Dr Stephen Kinge, BSc, PhD
In the Third Form we teach a foundation for the IGCSE course which touches upon some elements of the specification but focuses more on developing practical skills and creating some solid Chemistry building blocks.
At GCSE, studying all three sciences to some level is compulsory. We currently follow the Edexcel IGCSE (Edexcel Certificate) specification entering the majority of pupils for Double Award (IGCSE Double Award Specification). The bulk of the International GCSE course is covered during the Fourth and Fifth Form, in tiered ability groups, with the subject matter supported by extensive practical work where possible.
The A Level course is taught in a linear fashion, over the course of two years, and is assessed by three terminal written examinations (300 marks). There are a total of 19 subject topics; topics 1-10 are covered in the Lower Sixth with the remainder covered in the Upper Sixth. 9CH0/01 examines topics 1-15, 105 minutes, 90 marks; 9CH0/02 examines topics 1-10 and 16-19, 105 minutes, 90 marks and 9CH0/03 is a synoptic paper which covers all topics 1-19, 150 minutes, 120 marks.
A “Science Practical” endorsement element which covers experimental work (new for 2015) is also covered (this involves “core practicals” which are externally moderated). This part has no influence on the marks or final A Level grade but a pass or fail in this section is recorded on the pupil’s A Level certificate alongside the grade.
Lower Sixth Course Description
Chemistry is taught in ten teaching periods per cycle and uses the 2015 Edexcel Chemistry specification. In the Lower Sixth we teach the first ten out of the nineteen topics which have to be covered over the two years. During the course of the year eight key practical experiments which support the learning also have to be carried out.
Recommended Entry Qualifications
For A Level, experience shows that AA grade or higher at double award IGCSE in Science or a B in Chemistry are required to secure a worthwhile degree of success in the course. Grade B or higher in Mathematics at GCSE will also enable prospective pupils to cope with the numerical aspects of the course.
A Level Chemistry makes a worthwhile combination with other subjects, either to complement the other sciences, Mathematics or Geography, or as a contrast to an arts subject or a modern language.
Careers and Higher Education
As the titles of the topics studied suggest, Chemistry finds application in a variety of areas; indeed it is essential for some, notably the medical sciences. In its pure form it is excellent training in logical thought and is a very versatile numerical undergraduate degree from which to progress to a variety of careers.