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Welcome to the Chemistry Department Webpage.

By studying Chemistry students can open up a wide range of careers that offer both a rewarding and innovative occupation and one that will be in demand regardless of the economic situation. Chemistry is key to many fascinating careers but requires hard work and a willingness to learn.

When a student considers if they would like to study Chemistry at A level they should consider the following:

  • Have they a career in mind that is science based?

  • Have they an acceptable level of mathematical skills?

  • Do they enjoy laboratory practical work?

  • Can they focus on attention to detail?

  • Can they consider areas that may not be easy to visualise?

  • Do they enjoy problem solving and working with graphs/tables of data?



Shimna Chemistry Department


At Shimna Integrated College we offer the opportunity to study AS and A2 chemistry. Our department provides strong support to the students with a healthy balance of theory and practical activities. 

Students studying the course participate in numerous lab practicals that are specifically aimed to consolidate learning in class. The activities focus on applying the students understanding and developing key lab skills required for a future career in the sciences. Chemistry is a popular choice at A-level in Shimna, with the class being oversubscribed again this year.

Students are very keen and regularly volunteer for extracurricular activities. During open day our A-level students showcase some of their advanced level practicals. Students are keen to demonstrate their new skills to visitors and are rightly proud of their success.


About the Department.

The department runs courses in small, well managed classes. Classes are all ability, and there is every opportunity for students to excel.  Students are set homework on a daily basis to assist them in their learning. Staff use an online virtual learning centre to provide support materials which are designed to aid the learner prepare for exams. Regular contact is maintained by school email between students and their teacher.

The chemistry lab is well resourced for high quality lessons, chemistry software packages that provide enhanced learning activities and an ever growing collection of chemistry lab apparatus. Students learn the correct way to operate equipment from a teacher who has worked in the pharmaceutical industry. In summer 2013 our labs underwent a full renovation and are now of the highest standard in any school.

About the Head of Chemistry

Alan McDonnell is the Head of Chemistry at Shimna Integrated College. He administers all A-level chemistry lessons and teaches at GCSE and KS3. Alan began his career working in precision engineering. He returned to university to complement his engineering background with an Honours Degree in Applied Chemistry. After graduating Alan studied for a Higher Diploma in Education in the National University of Ireland, Galway and completed his teacher training in County Galway. On completion of this course Alan began work in Élan Pharmaceuticals Ltd as a laboratory analyst. It is here that he gained the lab skills that he shares with his class. He started his teaching career in Passmores School and Technology College in Essex, England before moving to Shimna in 2008. 


About our A-level Courses:

The Chemistry department administers its course using the WJEC exam board. Students complete two modules in AS, Written modules are examined in May/June, in accordance with recent exam board changes.

In A2 students complete modules 3, 4 and 5. Module 5 is an examination based in practical skills. Our department prides itself in ensuring students are prepared for their module exams.

Useful Links

For further information click on the following links:

Head of Chemistry email contact:

Useful Study Links:

Site for GCSE Revision

Site for A-Level Revision

Site for A-Level Revision

Site for GCSE Revision

Site for our exam board:


Excellent site for powerpoints and notes/worksheets (not all AQA)


Excellent source for organic video clips:

The future?

STEM is an initiative that seeks to promote careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. At Shimna we are keen to promote study in these areas. We invite quests from universities and businesses to attend the college and speak with our students. Visits to open days and industry are integrated into the course. With the government projecting a significant shortfall in graduates in these areas there is no better time to consider a chemistry career.

Where do our graduates go?

Our chemistry students have taken up places in numerous locations: Cambridge University for veterinary science; QUB and Newcastle University for medicine; Norbrook Laboratories for Higher Level Apprenticeship;  

Manchester Met for Chemistry;

Herriot Watt for Science;

University of Hull for Chemistry with Nanotechnology;

Belfast Met for HND in Chemistry;

Durham University for Engineering

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