Chemistry success as Lower Sixth team wins through to the RSC Analyst Finals


Pocklington School students working in a labortory at the University of Hull during the RSC Schools' Analyst CompetitionThree Lower Sixth Chemistry students had their analytical skills put to the test recently, when they competed in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Schools’ Analyst Competition.

The competition is run by the RSC for first year sixth form students studying A level Chemistry or equivalent.  The teams, consisting of three students, must first compete in a regional heat to go through to the National Final.

Dr Andrews, Teacher of Science at Pocklington School, accompanied the Pocklington team to the heat held in the University of Hull Chemistry Department and gave this account of the day:

“Wednesday 20 March dawned just as any other day at Pocklington School but who could know what a fantastic finish was to follow!

This was the day that three intrepid Lower Sixth Chemistry students, Lorna Pettifer, David Clifton and Alfie Hall, were to compete in the North East regional heat of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Analyst Competition.

To get to this stage, the students had already competed against their Pocklington peers in a qualifying round designed by the great minds of the Chemistry Department. These students had been chosen based on a combination of their chemistry knowledge, practical prowess and ability to work together as a team. The teachers of the Chemistry Department were confident they had selected well, however this was the first year that Pocklington had taken students to compete in this competition so all remained only cautiously optimistic.

Three Pocklington School students in Sixth Form unifrom stood in front of a poster of the periodic tableThe RSC Analyst Competition is run annually and is an opportunity for Lower Sixth Chemistry students that plan to continue onto the A level chemistry course to gain experience working in a university undergraduate laboratory. The challenge is for the students to complete a series of experiments in a set time that combine the knowledge, and techniques they have so far learnt with new techniques only available in a university setting. 

There were eight other teams competing in this round from across the North East but the Pocklington students stood out, not just because of their distinctive blue lab coats, but because of their calm professionalism when working together.  They were tireless in their attempts and completed the last question just as the time was up.

It was a nail biting nine days wait for the results to arrive but finally Pocklington School were announced the winners with the second place runners up Hymers College and third place going to Wyke College. The Pocklington team will now go on to compete in the final round in June, which is being hosted at the University of Manchester.

Thank you to the RSC and the University of Hull for sponsoring and hosting the competition and a huge well done to our Pocklington team.  Good luck for the final!

Lower Photo: Lower Sixth Form A level Chemistry students L-R: Lorna Pettifer, David Clifton, Alfie Hall