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Experimental investigation is at the heart of the subject

Chemistry touches almost every aspect of human life from such basics as food, fuel and clothing through to building materials, metallurgy, medicines, colour chemistry, and forensic science amongst other areas. It is intellectual but also thoroughly practical, and experimental investigation is at the heart of the subject.

IGCSE courses are studied from Year 9 and we aim to develop an inquisitive approach to learning Chemistry. Pupils conduct at least one practical lesson most weeks and this is used to understand and apply the theory studied.

A level Chemistry is needed for Chemistry related degrees, Medicine, Veterinary Science, most Biological Science courses, and numerous other science degrees at University. It is a popular choice at Monkton Combe.

The minimum requirements are a Grade 6 in GCSE Chemistry or in both Science and Additional Science, and a Grade 6 or above in GCSE Maths. Students will need to communicate effectively, research and think critically about chemical problems.

We follow the OCR-A Chemistry course which gives students a good understanding of the main themes of Chemistry. Practical work is completed on a regular basis and develops analytical and evaluative skills preparing students for the practical aspects of Science based degrees.

Three Chemistry specialists make up the department: Guy Thompson, Head of Department is a keen Physical Chemist but also enjoys the application of understanding to Organic Chemistry and reaction mechanisms. He is Contingent Commander of the CCF and enjoys hill walking: spending weekends in the spring training Ten Tors teams. David Coulson, previously a Chemical Engineer, enjoys sharing his love of Chemistry, particularly Organic, as well as being Head of Science and House Parent of School House. Andy Robinson, a keen Inorganic Chemist who has recently joined us, is passionate about relating Chemistry to students’ own lives. He is House Parent of Eddystone House and loves playing sport, in school he coaches Basketball, Hockey and Tennis.

The Marais Society meets throughout the year. This practical based society aims to give students an opportunity to explore and discuss experiments of their choosing. We make use of local universities: in Year 13 we take advantage of the teaching labs at Bristol University and Year 12 students are able to participate in a synthesis and analysis workshop at Bath University. Year 9-11 students have enjoyed participating in the Top of the Bench competition and we look forward to continuing to stretch the problem solving and practical skills of students involved in this. We have had a degree of success in the Chemistry Olympiad and Cambridge Chemistry Challenge which challenges the logical thinking and application or problem solving skills of our students.

Next Steps…

To arrange a visit, or for any other enquiries regarding admissions at the Senior School, please contact our Head of Admissions, Mrs Carole Heritage on 01225 721 133

To arrange a visit, or any other enquiries at the Pre-Prep and Prep please contact our Deputy Heads of Admissions Nicky Davis or Katie Hiscott on 01225 831 238.

Give us a call:

Tel: +44 (0)1225 721 133

Or send us an email: for Senior School enquiries for Pre-Prep and Prep enquiries

Alternatively, to request a prospectus, please use our online form:

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