“The chemists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost maniacal impulse to seek their pleasures amongst smoke and vapour, soot and flames, poisons and poverty - yet amongst all these evils I seem to live so sweetly that I would rather die than change places with the King of Persia.”
Becher, Physica Subterranea, 1667
Becher perfectly describes the energy and enthusiasm that the College Chemistry staff direct towards their subject. Girls are exposed to the amazing variety of substances that make up our world. They appreciate why they are the way they are, why they behave as they do and how they can be adapted and exploited in modern life.
Girls will explore a body of chemical theories and facts, which enable them to identify patterns and themes fundamental to chemistry. The subject puts emphasis on the importance of the scientific method, helping girls to design, carry out and evaluate experiments. Through this, pupils develop chemical knowledge, skills and understanding that teaches them to problem-solve in a wider context.
At the same time, they develop virtues of scholarship, a love of independent thinking, problem-solving and creativity. In addition, girls will develop an appreciation for how Chemistry has a social, industrial, technological, environmental and economic consequence for the world around them.
The department has seven dedicated and well-equipped Chemistry laboratories, enabling pupils to explore the subject via a hands-on approach. All year groups are taught by dedicated subject specialists.
The Chemistry co-curricular programme includes Harry Potter Potions Club and Salters Chemistry for LC students, Alchemy for UC and Chemistry Club for SFC, as well as participation in national competitions, visits to university labs and the Diamond Synchrotron in Oxford and a Royal Society of Chemistry sponsored research project.
Pupils are introduced to the foundations of Chemistry and explore ideas that simply spark curiosity for the subject. This is complemented by a comprehensive practical programme allowing pupils to develop investigative skills and to enjoy some ‘hands on science’.
The Edexcel IGCSE syllabus is followed in UC5 (examination in 2023). From 2024 (Current UC4) the Edexcel GCSE syllabus is followed.
SFC girls can opt to take either Higher or Standard Level Chemistry as part of the IB Diploma, or girls follow the Edexcel syllabus for A Level or AS Level. At A Level, all students are expected to achieve the practical endorsement, as practical skills lie at the heart of learning Chemistry at College.
Head of Science and Head of Chemistry: Mr Matthew Gill BSc
Dr Ann Evans BSc
Dr Elizabeth Anscombe MChem
Mrs Katrina Bailey BSc
Miss Kitty Bailey MChem
Mr David Crawford BSc
Dr David Gamblin MChem MRSC
Mrs Wendy Mackenzie BSc
Mrs Helen Morgan MA
Miss Tara Phillips BA (Hons)
Dr Ian Starkey BSc PhD
Dr Amy Wilkes BSc
Dr Brian Armstrong
Mrs Sara Fletcher BSc MSc
Mrs Laura Carrick MSc
Dr Peggy Tsui