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Teaching team: Mr W Ashenhurst, Mr S Marsh, Mrs S Mercer, Mr S Traube, Mr F Sarsah

Years 7 and 8 are taught general Science until Year 9 when Physics, Chemistry and Biology are taught as separate subjects. The Chemistry department is a successful and thriving department. We are housed in three well equipped laboratories, each fully serviced allowing a wide range of practical work to be undertaken. We are well supported by two technicians who allow us to deliver a curriculum with a strong practical content. We offer a full range of courses to all students, from the National Curriculum Chemistry course which is studied in Years 7 and 8 to the AQA GCSE and A-Level Chemistry courses. [updated November 2019]

Co-curricular activities

The department runs weekly clinics to support learning, aimed at students in Keystages 4 and 5.

Better Things for Better Living Through Chemistry. (Advertising campaign slogan for the DuPont Company from 1935) 

Years 7 and 8

Year 7: In the first part of the National curriculum course, students study Particles, Acids and alkalis, mixtures and compounds and Chemical change. They will be introduced to chemical symbols and are expected to start using them to write chemical formulae and equations.

Year 8: In the second part of the National curriculum course, students study the energy changes in chemical reactions, develop their understanding of patterns of reactivity within the periodic table, and investigate the properties of materials. They conclude the National Curriculum study by looking at how Earth’s natural resources are used by the chemical industry.

Link to national curriculum page:

GCSE: Years 9, 10 and 11

The GCSE is delivered as a three year course by specialist chemistry teachers. The work is topic based, and each topic is concluded with an assessment test which is based on GCSE questions, through which we are able to monitor progress of students towards their targets. There is a strong emphasis on practical work and throughout the course students will complete a number of required practicals that will develop skills and understanding that will be tested in the terminal exams.

Year 9:

Curriculum Outline: Topic studied are Atomic structure and the periodic table, Bonding, structure, and the properties of Matter, and Chemical changes, including reactivity of metals. Throughout this work there is a strong focus on the construction and use of balanced chemical equations.

Year 10:

Curriculum Outline: Topic studied are neutralisation of acids, electrolysis, measuring amount, energy in reactions, rate of reaction, and organic chemistry. The nature of this work means there is a strong emphasis on the mathematical and graphing skills required for successful study of science at this level, whist continuing to develop equation writing skills and extending their use to calculations.

Year 11:

Curriculum Outline: Topics studied include further organic chemistry, identification and analysis, chemistry of the atmosphere and use of resources.

Exam Board: AQA (Syllabus 8462)

Link to Specification:

A Level: Years 12 and 13

Entry requirement: Chemistry GCSE at grade 6, or Dual Award Science at grade 66.

Aims and Outcomes (what is the point of studying this subject? – future prospectus?)

The GCSE course will have given students an excellent idea of the wide scope of Chemistry and the enormous contribution chemists have made to our modern way of life. At A Level they will be involved in a much deeper study of the subject, although most should find that the course is a natural extension of the GCSE work. They will gain understanding of why chemical reactions take place at the atomic level, gain confidence in problem solving, and also develop excellent three dimensional thinking skills. There is also an increased role for mathematical reasoning skills, particularly in the Y13 course.

We continue with our focus upon developing practical skills with a range of interesting and dynamic practical work which is undertaken using more complex apparatus. The practical work contributes to the award of a practical endorsement in addition to the A-level qualification.


A-Level Curriculum Outline / assessment / examination

Year 12:

Physical chemistry topics: Atomic structure, Amount of substance, Bonding, Energetics, Kinetics, Chemical equilibria, Le Chatelier’s principle and Kc,  Oxidation, reduction and redox equations.

Inorganic chemistry topics: Periodicity, Group 2, the alkaline earth metals, Group 7(17), the halogens

Organic chemistry topics: Introduction to organic chemistry, Alkanes, Halogenoalkanes, Alkenes, Alcohols, Organic analysis.

Year 13:

Physical chemistry topics: Thermodynamics,  Rate equations,  Equilibrium constant Kp for homogeneous systems,  Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells,  Acids, bases and pH. 

Inorganic chemistry topics: Properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides Transition metals, Reactions of ions in aqueous solution. 

Organic chemistry topics: Optical isomerism, Aldehydes and ketones, Carboxylic acids and derivatives, Aromatic chemistry, Amines, Polymers, Amino acids, proteins and DNA, Organic synthesis, Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Chromatography.

Assessment is via a series of topic tests which are based upon past A-level questions, and successful completion of a range of required practical investigations which are used to validate the practical endorsement. A formal exam is taken towards the end of Year 12 which is used to inform your progress and provides a basis for giving predicted grades that will be important in applying for university courses. Mock Exams are sat in the spring term of Year 13.

Exam Board: AQA

Link to Specification:

Careers Education

  • Chemistry is a widely required and highly regarded “enabling” subject that will help students gain entry to many careers. It is a requirement for many very competitive degree courses where sound scientific skills are required. As a department we have a good track record of facilitating the high grades that are demanded by such courses. As well as going on to study for Medicine, Chemistry and Engineering degrees, recent students have undertaken courses and careers in areas as diverse as Forensic Science, Product Design, Politics, Accountancy and Architecture.
  • The department has staff trained and accredited to award the Endorsement for Practical Skills in addition to the A-level course. We are committed towards delivering the practical scientific skills that will enhance employability within many occupations in the future.
  • We are active in promoting scientific careers amongst our students through taking part in external events such as the Royal Society of Chemistry Science at Work event.