Chemistry 2017-11-14T13:31:14+00:00

Chemistry is an integral part of everyday life.   We believe that Chemistry provides students with an alternative way of viewing the world around them.  Chemistry helps to explain not only many major industrial processes but also those things which we take for granted:  clean water, tasty food, clothing, and much more.  Through studying Chemistry, we hope that we will equip students to be able to see the hidden beauty in the world.  Chemistry is taught from Year 7 to Year 11 to all students and continues into the sixth form for those students opting to study A-Level Chemistry.

As far as possible, lessons are structured so that ideas and concepts are explored through practical investigation.  Lessons are designed so that students learn in a variety of ways through group work, pair work or individual study, as appropriate. Teachers encourage students to ask questions and to challenge current theories.

The Chemistry Department provides a supportive and nurturing environment in which students can learn about the important role of Chemistry in everyday life and explore the increasing contribution which Chemistry makes to human advancement

The Chemistry Department is comprised of 6 highly motivated and skilled practitioners, supported by a committed and efficient laboratory technician who supports us in the delivery of a practical-based curriculum.  Members of the Chemistry department have a wealth of experience in the scientific community, inside and outside education which can be drawn upon in lessons and in enthusing students about Chemistry. They all have university degrees from various universities, including Oxbridge and several have experience in industry.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

Our Year 7 students are immersed straightaway into the practical nature of Chemistry and independent learning is encouraged; this starts with an introduction on how to work safely in a laboratory, moving on to performing and designing experiments of their own. Their first topic; Mixing, Dissolving and Separating, introduces the students to some of the methods chemists use to investigate mixtures. Students then start to use keywords and their mathematical skills to present the data they have collected in their practical work. In the second half of the year, student’s focus on some fundamentals of Chemistry; Elements, Compounds and the Periodic Table, they investigate how the concepts surrounding these topics have changed over time and how these ideas underpin the use of Chemistry in day to day life. 

Year 8

Students continue to perform a wide range of practical experiments but now look deeper into the theoretical concepts behind them and are encouraged to further develop their independent learning. Firstly, the students look at Solids, Liquids and Gases and research how models can be used to explain and represent scientific ideas, they move on to studying chemical reactions such as combustion and neutralisation.

The Year 8 Science and Engineering Club has been running since 2007, and proves very popular every year. It is run after school, allowing a group of thirty girls to attend. Activities enjoyed include making bath bombs and other beauty products, hot air balloons, solar-powered buggies, wind turbines, periscopes, paper and zeotropes. Students also dissect owl pellets and use their soldering skills to make speakers for their phones or MP3 players.

Year 9

We begin our GCSE course in Year 9; students in Years 9 to 11 will follow the AQA GCSE Chemistry course which is examined at the end of Year 11. AQA GCSE Chemistry Specification

At GCSE, Chemistry is a core subject in the curriculum and is taught by subject specialists in our fully equipped laboratories.  Practical skills are taught within lessons and examined within the terminal written papers.

Students have 2 lessons per week throughout the GCSE course.

During Year 9 students will study the following topics:

  • Atomic Structure
  • The Periodic Table
  • Structure and Bonding
  • Crude Oil and Fuels
  • The Earth’s Atmosphere
  • Maths for Chemistry
Key Stage 4

Year 10

Students continue with their studies of GCSE Chemistry with the following topics

  • Rates of Reaction
  • Chemical Calculations
  • The Reactivity Series
  • The Extraction of Metals
  • Electrolysis
  • Making Salts

Year 11

Students continue with their studies of GCSE Chemistry with the following topics

  • Energy
  • Equilibria
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Chemical analysis
  • The Earth’s Resources

Students sit two Chemistry GCSE examination papers at the end of Year 11.  Each paper counts 50% towards the final grade.

Key Stage 5

Year 12

At A-Level we follow the AQA syllabus AQA A Level Chemistry Specification

Students have 6 lessons a week – 5 hours of teaching time

Topics covered include:

  • Physical Chemistry: Atomic structure; Amount of substance; Bonding; Energetics; Kinetics; Chemical equilibrium; Redox reactions
  • Inorganic Chemistry: Periodicity; Group 2, the alkaline earth metals; Group 7, the halogens.
  • Organic Chemistry: Introduction to organic nomenclature and isomerism; Alkanes; Alkenes; Halogenoalkanes; Alcohols; Organic analysis and structure determination – infra-red (IR) and mass (MS) spectroscopy.

Year 13 (Year 2 of A Level)

6 lessons a week – 5 hours of teaching time

Topics covered:

  • Physical chemistry: Thermodynamics; Kinetics – rate equations; Chemical equilibrium; Electrochemistry; Acids, bases and buffers.
  • Inorganic chemistry: Periodicity; Transition Metal chemistry; Reactions of inorganic compounds in aqueous solution.
  • Organic chemistry: Further nomenclature and isomerism; Carbonyl compounds, carboxylic acids and their derivatives; Aromatic chemistry; Amines; Polymerisation; Amino Acids, proteins and DNA; Organic synthesis; Organic analysis and structure determination – N.M.R. (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy and chromatography


Three papers taken at the end of Year 13:

  • Paper 1: Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (2 hours / 105 marks), 35% of A Level
  • Paper 2: Organic and Physical Chemistry (2 hours / 105 marks), 35% of A Level
  • Paper 3: Practical Skills, Data Handling and Synopsis (2 hours / 90 marks), 30% of A Level