With a fully refurbished Chemistry Department at their disposal, pupils benefit from excellent facilities in which to explore chemistry to the full. From developing their analysis and evaluating skills, to building on their mathematical problem-solving abilities.
All Taunton School pupils study Chemistry until the end of Year 11 as part of the dual award AQA GCSE Combined Science or as a separate GCSE subject. Chemistry is also a popular choice in the Sixth Form, with as many as 40 to 50 pupils choosing to explore the subject further at pre-university level. Courses offered include A-Level Chemistry or IB Chemistry at Higher or Standard Level.
The AQA GCSE Combined Science and separate Chemistry courses help pupils understand the key role which chemistry plays in the world and their lives. It aims to give a good understanding of the nature of substances, how they react together and an appreciation of how chemistry is relevant in the home and industry. Chemistry is also concerned with how the use of materials to improve our lives can affect the local and global environment. Practical skills and training in how to handle substances safely are emphasised throughout. Students taking Chemistry as part of the dual award Combined Science follow the same course as separate Chemistry but with reduced content. However both courses are an ideal foundation for students wanting to study IB or A Level Chemistry.
A Level Chemistry
The OCR Chemistry A Level course aims to give students a challenging, interesting and enjoyable education in the subject at this higher level. It provides an essential foundation for a wide range of university courses, including medicine, physical sciences, biological and environmental sciences, as well as giving a detailed scientific understanding of the nature of matter. The courses are practically based throughout. Assessment for A Level is at the end of the two year course through three written exam papers. The course also leads to a standalone chemistry practical qualification known as the practical endorsement. This is common to all A Level Chemistry courses whereby students must demonstrate practical competence over the whole course against a set of criteria covering the full range of practical skills.
IB Chemistry aims to give students a challenging, interesting and enjoyable education in the subject at this level. The Higher Level course provides an essential foundation for a wide range of university courses, including medicine and the physical sciences, while the Standard Level course provides the useful chemical background to courses in biology, physics and geography, as well as being a worthwhile end in itself. The courses are practically based with an emphasis on developing a good standard of investigative skills. The theoretical side of the course aims to develop the student’s ability to understand the nature of matter. Using a logical approach and the application of mathematics, it is possible to predict and explain the behaviour of materials. The course is completed with an option topic that allows the student to develop their own interests and see how the subject has relevance to biological, environmental or industrial applications. As with all the sciences, chemists contribute to a combined ‘Group 4 Project’ in collaboration with those studying physics, biology and design technology. The courses are both assessed at the end of the two years through three written exam papers, plus an internally assessed individual practical investigation carried out in the second year of the course.