Chemistry students compete in National RSC Competition

This week, a number of our A Level Chemistry students participated in the Royal Society of Chemistry Schools’ Analyst competition. 54 students participated in the competition, competing both regionally and nationally, and we can’t wait to find out how they got on!⠀
Good luck to all of our students taking part 🧪⠀

Follow @greenhead_chemistry for more updates from our Chemistry Department!⠀

#Opportunities #GoodLuck⠀

Cambridge Chemistry Challenge Success

Well done to 50 of our A Level Chemistry students who participated in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge.

The challenge is designed to stretch and challenge students interested in chemistry, taking them beyond the A Level syllabus.

We are incredibly proud of the results: 2 students achieved the gold award, 12 achieved the silver award and 24 achieved the copper award.

All students were recently presented with their certificates by Carl Sykes and Megan Smith from Syngenta, who came into College to celebrate our students’ success whilst taking the opportunity to look around our recently opened Hirst Building, and see our students in their brand new lab coats which Syngenta kindly donated to the College.

You can read the full article about our collaboration with Syngenta here –

27 students secure coveted places at Oxbridge Universities

We are thrilled to reveal that 27 students have secured offers to study at the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

This is an exceptional achievement following a rigorous application process, involving admissions tests and multiple interviews, competing for coveted places against a worldwide field of applicants.

Offers have been made in a range of disciplines including Computer Science, Law, English, Chemistry Biological Natural Sciences, Economics, History, Modern Languages, Mathematics, Archaeology, Experimental Psychology, Physics and more.

Bella Craig, who came to Greenhead College from Salendine Nook High School, secured her offer to study French and Spanish at Oxford University said:

“For future applicants, I’d say to believe in yourself, believe that anything is possible and be open and honest on your personal statement.”

Laura Verdina, who came to Greenhead College from Dixon’s City Academy, secured her offer for Cambridge University to study Biological Natural Sciences said:

“The support at College is really great, I had a mock interview for my subject before my actual interview and that really helped me be prepared and understand what it might feel like to go through an academic interview.”

Greenhead College remains to be the leading state educational institution in the North of England for Oxbridge success. Aspiring students benefit from a dedicated Oxbridge Support Enrichment Programme, comprising of masterclasses, mock interview workshops, dedicated Oxbridge admissions tutors, residential visits, and practice admissions tests.

Richard Pember, Oxbridge Coordinator at Greenhead College commented:

“I’d like to offer my congratulations on behalf of the Oxbridge Team at Greenhead. We have an incredibly talented team who support the students in small group sessions to help them through the application process. We’re immensely proud of the 27 students who received offers; it’s an amazing achievement. Competition becomes more acute year on year, and for Greenhead to remain the most successful school or college outside the South East is a reflection on our wonderful students and staff.”

Congratulations to the following students:

NameUniversityDisciplinePrevious School
Aaron CrosbieCambridgeComputer scienceRoyds hall
Abdullah AzizOxfordLaw Halifax Academy
Akshat KothariCambridgeEngineering Trinity Academy Halifax
Anna BenthamCambridgeHSPSThornhill Community Academy 
Bella CraigOxfordModern LanguagesSalendine Nook High School Academy 
Ben CooperCambridgeEngineering Beckfoot School Bingley
Brook SeedCambridgeNatural Sciences BioKing James’s School
Elizabeth KayCambridgeHistory and Modern Languages (French)Horizon Community College
Emily OliverCambridgeLawHolmfirth High School
Emma NelsonCambridgeEnglishHolmfirth 
Esther BoutleOxfordLawOssett Academy
George SelbyCambridgeArchitectureWhitcliffe Mount 
Harry CrossCambridgeHistory Netherhall Learning Campus Highschool
Haydn CliftonCambridgeArchaeology Penistone Grammar School 
Izzy RouseOxfordPhysics Horbury Academy 
Jacob LordCambridgeBiological Natural SciencesHolmfirth high 
Jeremy StocksCambridgeMathematicsHonley High School
Julia MillingtonCambridgeEconomicsHeckmondwike Grammar School
Laura VerdinaCambridgeBiological Natural SciencesDixons City Academy
Leela Beth GuhaCambridgeHistory Calder high school 
Megan ColemanOxfordChemistry Whitcliffe Mount
Mia YatesOxfordBiochemistry The Mirfield Free Grammar 
Miriam LomasCambridgeHistoryHolmfirth High School
Nina RainbowOxfordBiochemistry North Halifax Grammar School
Rowan Harrison-WalkerOxfordMathematicsRyburn Valley High School
Sam FranksOxfordPhilosophy, Politics and EconomicsRastrick High School

Chemistry Department win prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Education Prize

Greenhead College Chemistry Department has been named the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Team Prize for Excellence in Secondary and Further Education.

Nominated by their peers, the team was chosen by the RSC’s prestigious panel of judges as one of the most inspirational, innovative and dedicated people in education.

The team has now become a winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Team Prize for Excellence in Secondary and Further Education, for enhancing and enriching the chemistry learning of a huge and diverse group of students by offering a high quality and broad chemistry education and through effective outreach.

Ruth Farnell, Head of Chemistry at Greenhead College said:

“Working with young people can be incredibly rewarding. However, the extent of the work that teams like ours put into ensuring that every student receives not only an outstanding education but also so much more in the way of enthusiasm for and opportunities in chemistry isn’t often recognised. Receiving an accolade like this where our efforts are publicly acknowledged, valued and celebrated means so much to everyone in the team.”

The chemistry team at Greenhead College use their skill, expertise and passion to bring chemistry to life for the almost 1000 students studying in the department. The team have developed an interesting and varied scheme of work that is enhanced and enriched by work outside the classroom.

Students in the department are given opportunities to work with local primary schools to share their love and passion for chemistry with Year 6 children whose enthusiasm for putting on a lab coat and using a Bunsen Burner is infectious. If the students are considering a future in chemistry or research, then there is also the chance to work alongside researchers at the University of Huddersfield to conduct a project as part of our Real World Chemistry enrichment, the results of this work are presented both in the college and at the University using PhD style poster presentations.

The team supports all learners to make the most of their chemistry education whilst at the college. Additional support comes in many forms such as peer mentoring, 11 staffed support sessions a week, a dedicated classroom where students can work quietly in their free time, student study groups and video tutorials covering the entire course. Enhancement in the form of the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, RSC Schools’ analyst competition, RSC Chemistry Olympiad, Cambridge HE+ scheme, Alumni interactions, University outreach talks and trips to Huddersfield University and a residential to the Chemistry department at Oxford all enrich the chemistry curriculum.

Dr Helen Pain, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: 

“It’s of vital importance that we recognise the crucial role that educators play in the advancement of the sciences. And that we commend their ability to inspire and nurture the next generation of bright young minds, so that they can go on to make new discoveries and innovations.

“Society faces many challenges, and educators give us the tools we need to advance our understanding of the world around us and solve many of the problems we encounter. The team’s work demonstrates an outstanding commitment to chemistry education, and it is our honour to celebrate their considerable contribution.”

Gill Reid, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said:

“For many of us as chemists our teachers were our inspiration – their influence in driving the next generation of amazing scientists cannot be underestimated. That’s why I’m so proud of the winners of the Education Horizon Prizes, each of whom demonstrates an infectious passion for learning that sparks young minds to do amazing things.

“This year’s winners set exemplary examples of the impact this can make; it’s no exaggeration to say their successes will be felt for generations to come ”

The Excellence in Education Prizes celebrate inspirational, innovative, and dedicated people working in primary, secondary, further education and higher education – including teachers, technicians and more. These prizes recognise a wide range of skills – from curriculum design to effective teaching, and from personal development to working culture. This category includes specific prizes for teams and for those in the early stages of their career.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s prizes have recognised excellence in the chemical sciences for more than 150 years. In 2019, the organisation announced the biggest overhaul of this portfolio in its history, designed to better reflect modern scientific work and culture.

Benji set to represent the UK in International Chemistry Olympiad

Greenhead College student Benji Rowlands is set to represent the UK at the International Finals of the Chemistry Olympiad following his success in the national finals.

Benji, along with 10 other Greenhead College students, participated in round 1 of the Olympiad back in January 2019 and was placed within the top 28 of all students nationally qualifying him to round 2 of the competition held in Cambridge at the end of March.

Round 2 consisted of a residential weekend at Cambridge University, where the competitors had to undertake a 4 hour practical exam and a 4 hour theoretical exam demonstrating their knowledge of highly advanced chemistry topics.

The students had the opportunity to socialise with the academics who make up the UK Olympiad committee which included dinners at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge and a trip to Pizza Express.

Once the marks were in it was announced that out of the 28 students who sat the exams, Benji had qualified to represent the UK at the 2019 Chemistry Olympiad International Finals, alongside 3 other students.

Max Hume, chemistry teacher at Greenhead College, commented on Benji’s success:

“We are immensely proud of Benji for making it to the International Finals of the Chemistry Olympiad. This places Benji in the top 4 chemistry students of his age group in the whole of the UK! He is the most able student I have taught in my 25 years of teaching and I wish him every success in the finals.”  

The finals will take place in Paris this July 2019. Good luck Benji!

6 Students Grab the Gold at the British Chemistry Olympiad

This year, 11 students took part in the Chemistry Olympiad, the UK’s leading Chemistry competition run by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The competition involved a 2 hour written test of the student’s chemical knowledge, based on real-world chemistry problems. It is a fantastic opportunity for student’s to develop some of the skills required at University and beyond.

6 students achieved the Gold Award, placing them in the top 10% of entries, 2 students achieved a Silver Award, 2 a Bronze Award and 1 award for participation.

This is an outstanding achievement for our budding Chemists and one they should all be extremely proud of.

Student Benji Rowlands did so well in the competition he was placed in the top 28 nationally and sailed through to the second round at Cambridge University to compete in a selection process for the International Finals. There will be updates on Benji’s progress very soon!

The full list of students who participated:

Gold Award: Benji Rowlands, Will Heeley, Joe Healey, Liz Torley, Alex Smith, Abigail Williams

Silver Award: Oliver Jones, Troy Moxon

Bronze Award: Chloe Haigh, Yusef Zaman

Participation Award: Heather Malcom. 

Inspiring tomorrow’s Chemists – Real World Chemistry 2018


Thursday 8th March 2018 saw the very first Real World Chemistry Conference take place in College.

Our Chemistry students have been working alongside staff and post-graduate students from the School of Applied Sciences at The University of Huddersfield since September 2017, researching how chemistry can address real world issues. The research culminated with presentation of the teams’ findings at the workshop.

The event was attended by an invited audience of parents and representatives from local schools, industry, universities and national STEM organisations, as well as the Mayor of Kirklees Cllr Christine Iredale and her consort Mr Iredale. Despite the heavy snowfall in the morning of the event, the turnout was fantastic.

The students treated the audience to presentations on various topics including; Catalysis, Solar Cells, Carbon Capture and Utilisation, Medicinal Chemistry and Antibiotic Resistance. They delivered with such confidence and knowledge about their chosen topics and really engaged with the audience. A pleasure to watch!

During the interval the audience had the opportunity to meet and talk with the students who had displayed posters, summarizing their research, around the room. There were some great in-depth discussions about their findings, and the feedback was excellent.

There were also talks from two guest speakers; Alice Berry from Syngenta, who described her experience working in the chemical industry, and Professor Jane Owen-Lynch from The University of Huddersfield who discussed exciting developments at the School of Applied Sciences, including new facilities for outreach to local schools and colleges.

Chemistry teacher and event organiser Stuart Strathdee said

‘It’s been fabulous working with such a talented group of students, watching their knowledge and confidence grow during the Real World Chemistry project. They all presented brilliantly. I’ve had so much positive feedback about their talks, posters and discussions with guests. They’ve impressed a lot of people and should be very proud of themselves.’

Thank you, on behalf of Greenhead College, to all those who attended the event, the students, the University of Huddersfield, Alice Berry, Professor Jane Owen-Lynch and Stuart Strathdee and the Chemistry department for making this project a huge success!