We show girls that Chemistry is a coherent body of knowledge and, through its manipulation of natural forces, a means of improving people’s lives.

Head of Department: Mr Alastair Reynolds

All pupils in Remove (Year 7) and Lower Fourth (Year 8) study Chemistry as part of the compulsory curriculum and as a separate Science. Key topics include: Particle theory, Elements, compounds and mixtures, Types of mixtures and methods of separation, the elements of the Periodic Table, Acids and Alkalis and Chemical analysis. During these early years pupils are taught to recognise patterns of behaviour in substances and evaluate data and other information critically and, where possible, make reasoned judgements from it.

In the Upper Fourth (Year 9) Downe House pupils begin the IGCSE Edexcel course which is taught over three years. In Lower Fifth (Year 10), pupils are placed in sets so that they can work at a pace and level suited to their ability. The Pre-U Chemistry course offered at Sixth Form level is designed to further the pupil’s knowledge of the subject, to promote a critical approach to information and ideas and to improve experimental technique. The course, which is written with progression to university chemistry in mind, highlights the principles that unify the subject and seeks to examine them through their application to chemical situations. By introducing the student to the big ideas of chemistry and some modern applications, the framework allows the interested and independent pupil to take the subject further with confidence. The subject content has also been chosen to facilitate the setting of substantial chemical problems to solve.

Pupils studying chemistry in the Sixth Form are also invited to attend the weekly Chemistry Olympiad sessions. These sessions are designed to further their understanding and interest in the subject and stretch them beyond the confines of the Pre-U syllabus. Every year we have a number pupils who go on to achieve awards in both the International Chemistry Olympiad Competition and the Lower Sixth Cambridge Chemistry Challenge.

Full details of the curriculum are available in the GCSE and Sixth Form options publications. For further information on teaching and learning please contact the Head of Department, Mr Alastair Reynolds

Visits & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House, is to come and experience it for yourself – arrange a visit or join us for one of our Open Mornings?