Chemistry is the study of matter and of new materials. Chemistry is at the heart of our modern day life and is far more important than most people realise. Mobile phones, iPads, computers, cars, medicines, perfumes, buildings and plastics are just some of the things that are dependent on chemistry and on the work of chemists. In short chemistry is the study of matter and if it matters, its chemistry.

Chemistry is not an isolated discipline, however, and indeed is often called the, “Central science”, as it has strong overlaps with physics and biology. Chemistry is a practical subject and is subsequently a much sought after one by a large range of possible employers and potential Further and Higher education courses. Chemistry is one of the most desirable Highers for University study in all fields of engineering, medicine, biology, sports science, forensics and of course science. The importance of chemistry in society and the contribution chemists make to our national economy and daily lives is the main reason why Chemistry graduates on average earn larger salaries than graduates of other disciplines.

At Belmont, chemistry is first studied as a separate discipline at S2 but Trans and S1 both study aspects of chemistry as part of the general science programme taught at these levels. S2 Chemistry is largely a skills based course designed to develop practical skills and to firmly relate the position of chemistry as an academic subject and its place in the home and wider environment.

From S3 onwards the subject rapidly expands the student’s knowledge of the Physical World. Atomic structure, molecular formulae, acids and bases, hydrocarbons and metals are just a few of the topics covered. At all times, practical work lies at the heart of the teaching methodologies utilised in the department. Problem solving exercises, regular homework and ongoing formative assessment where pupils are able to assess and reflect on their own learning are all used to facilitate a deeper understanding of this subject. At present, pupils may be presented for National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Chemistry.

Chemists are multi-skilled and versatile scientists and it is only fitting therefore that our Chemists from S1 onwards take part in a number of annual trips and national competitions.

Skills for Work: Laboratory Sciences at Belmont House School

Belmont is pleased to offer a National 5 qualification in Laboratory Sciences which is part of the national qualifications skills for work range of courses, often this is a course undertaken by students attending further education colleges. Belmont offers this course to pupils in S4 – S6.

The Laboratory Sciences course is ideal for students who are interested in science and may consider a career in science or a science related field but do not want to pursue a specific discipline. The course is taught in four separate but overlapping units consisting of: Careers using Laboratory Science, Working in a Laboratory, Practical Skills, and a Practical Investigation. This Course focuses on developing generic employability skills needed for success in the workplace through a variety of practical experiences in the laboratory science area. Considerable flexibility is offered and can be tailored to reflect the interests of individual students provided the core skills and criteria are met. Microbiology, analytical chemistry and experimental physics instrumentation are all covered as part of this qualification.

There is no external assessment for this course (at present). The National 5 award is made after the successful completion of each of the four mandatory units and is assessed by an ongoing portfolio method. Emphasis throughout the course is on practical skills and problem solving although students should be aware that homework is also a regular feature of this course!