* Bristol ChemLabS Schools' Laboratory Programme

Post 16 or KS4 Gifted and Talented Caffeine Plus Workshop


Bristol ChemLabS is making available its refurbished undergraduate teaching laboratories to groups of school students to support regional Chemistry teachers. The laboratories are the best of their type in the UK and amongst the very best teaching laboratories in the world.
This means opportunities for your students to study at a world-class university with world class facilities outside of undergraduate term time as well as on Wednesdays throughout the year.
The Post 16 or KS4 G&T Caffeine Plus Workshop is one of several workshop days involving practical work designed by the Bristol ChemLabS School Teacher Fellow to meet current specifications and with practical scripts written in appropriate language.

Target Students

A maximum of 60 chemists. The group may be made up of more than one school.
Any KS4 students should be those that are capable of going on to higher education.


The number of teaching staff accompanying the student groups from each school should be what is considered appropriate by the local school rules, but there should be at least one teacher per group of up to 20 students.

Teachers may also carry out the experiment if they so wish. This may be of most interest to newly qualified teachers or teachers of chemistry who are not graduate chemists. Please notify us well in advance if this offer is to be taken up.

Expected Timings

09:30 - 9:40 Welcome and Safety Talk and fitting out with safety glasses and lab coats.
09:40 - 12:30

Practical work (Extraction of Caffeine from Tea Leaves) with a 15 min break for refreshments during this period.

NOTE: The afternoons on which this activity is offered are usually schools' conferences partly sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Please see our CHeMneT Upcoming page.

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Health and Safety

Extremely Important! Students and accompanying staff will be expected to follow the School of Chemistry's rules for visiting school scientists on health and safety in the laboratories as well as the specific health and safety requirements of the experiments.

This information MUST be made available to all pupils and accompanying adults.

This information MUST be made available to all pupils and accompanying adults.
Failure to observe these rules will result in no admittance to the laboratories for students or accompanying staff.

Click for full Bristol ChemLabS Health and Safety Rules

safety sign - no ballet shoes!

photo by riot_jane

The general rules include

Failure to observe safety rules including inappropriate clothing will result in no admission to the laboratories either for students or accompanying teachers.

Bristol ChemLabS has a more than sufficient supply of lab coats and safety glasses available for students and accompanying staff.  However, if students or staff wish to bring their own that is fine. Lab coats and safety glasses must be worn at all times in the laboratory. Failure to do so will result in no admittance to the laboratory or removal from it.

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Outline of Visit

Experiment: The Extraction of Caffeine from Tea Leaves
This is a tried and tested practical and has been successfully run with students as young as Y10 on several occasions

. Groups of 10 to 14 students will each have a postgraduate chemist as a demonstrator. It is not often that school students will have the opportunity to work with young professional scientists at such close quarters. All postgraduates (and technicians) are CRB checked through the Science and Engineering Ambassadors (SEAs) or STEM Ambassadors Programme.

The experiment uses solvents and equipment not normally used in schools. The equipment includes Buchner funnels/vacuum filtration, heating mantles, separation funnels and rotary evaporation apparatus.
The beauty of the experiment is that it uses a natural product from which a common compound is extracted and that the resultant material may then be analysed by melting point determination and infra red spectroscopy by the students themselves.

Tour of the School of Chemistry

This is not available on this occasion as there is insufficient time.


Drinks and biscuits will be provided.

Drinks and biscuits are provided.
Students must provide their own lunch (to avoid complications due to dietary requirements) if they wish to eat it in the department at the end of the session and before departure or attending any schools conference that may be running in the afternoon.

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The subsidised cost will be £25 per student. There will be no additional charge if students wish to attend any schools’ conference being held in the afternoon.

Careers Advice

Students with Special Needs

The teacher in charge of the visit is expected to notify the School of Chemistry in sufficient time if there are students with special needs so that appropriate risk assessments can be carried out.


Photography of the day's activities is welcomed. Teaching staff have found that images taken in the laboratory make good copy for school websites and newsletters. Images may be taken by School of Chemistry staff for our own websites, articles and other publications. Each school is requested to complete the consent form found at: http://www.chemlabs.bris.ac.uk/Documents/PhotoConsentForm.pdf and return it to Steve Croker by post or fax.

Arriving by Coach or Minibus.

There is no coach parking and very limited minibus parking (by prior booking chem_net@bristol.ac.uk). Coaches can drop off and collect students at a safe point opposite the entrance to Cantock's Close on Woodland Road.

A Map for the School of Chemistry, BS81TS. can be found by clicking here


Please contact The School Teacher Fellow for any queries at t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk


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