Science – Chemistry

Acting Head of Science Faculty and Physics Department: Mr Boutland-Smith
Head of Biology Department: Mr Dorney
Head of Chemistry Department: Mrs Cherrett
Key Stage 3 Coordinator: Mr P Dorney
Faculty Staff: Mr Boutland-Smith, Mr Burn, Mrs Kestell, Miss Newton, Miss Shepherd, Mr Thomas, Miss Eastman, Mr Hollis
Support Staff: Ms Taylor, Miss Morrison, Mr Spooner
Level of teaching: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 5

The study of Chemistry encourages students to explore the nature of substances and how they react together. It engages learners at many levels, linking direct practical experience with scientific ideas. Experimentation and modelling are used to develop and evaluate explanations, encouraging critical and creative thought. Students learn how knowledge and understanding in Chemistry are rooted in evidence. They discover how scientific ideas contribute to technological change – affecting industry, business and medicine and improving quality of life. They trace the development of science worldwide and recognise its cultural significance. They learn to question and discuss issues that may affect their own lives, the directions of societies and the future of the world.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-8)

In KS3 Science, we follow the AQA Activate Science Course. This involves learning about the ’10 Big Ideas’ science curriculum over a two year key stage. Each ‘Big Idea’ contains four smaller topics that build in complexity. Details are as follows:

Year 7

Part 1 – Taught in Year 7
Forces: Speed & Gravity
Electromagnets: Voltage and Resistance & Current
Energy: Energy costs & Energy transfer
Waves: Sound & Light
Matter: Particle model & Separating mixtures
Part 1 – Taught in Year 7
Reactions: Metals and non-metals & Acids and alkalis
Earth: Earth structure & Universe
Organisms: Movement & Cells
Ecosystems: Interdependence & Plant reproduction
Genes: Variation & Human reproduction

Year 8

Part 2 – Taught in Year 8
Forces: Contact forces & Pressure
Electromagnets: Electromagnets & Magnetism
Energy: Work & Heating and cooling
Waves: Wave effects & Wave properties
Matter: Periodic table & Elements
Part 2 – Taught in Year 8
Reactions: Chemical energy & Types of reaction
Earth: Climate & Earth resources
Organisms: Breathing & Digestion
Ecosystems: Respiration & Photosynthesis
Genes: Evolution & Inheritance


In KS3 Science, we rotate Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics through the year to complete all the outcomes within the ten big ideas topics. In Chemistry, there are three big ideas that build in complexity within our spiral curriculum: Matter, Reactions and Earth. Our schemes of work follow the AQA Activate Science course, which provide students with opportunities for regular practical work, and development of their numeracy and literacy skills within Science. The progress of students is tracked regularly with end of unit assessments for each big idea in both Y7 and Y8 and formal end of year exams.

Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11)

Course Code: GCSE Chemistry AQA 8462
Exam Board Specification:

GCSE Chemistry gives students a good understanding of the nature of substances and how they react together, how chemistry is used in business and industry and how our use of fuels affect the local and global environment. It is a fascinating and engaging course which explores both the science of the building blocks of life and ethical issues surrounding developments in technology.  This course provides a firm foundation for progression to A Level Chemistry.

GCSE Chemistry is examined by two 1hr 45min exams at the end of the course in Year 11. It also involves a practical endorsement which doesn’t contribute to the overall grade. 

All of these exams are available at Foundation or Higher level.

Unit 1: Chemistry Paper 1 – Written paper 1 hr 45mins – 100 marks worth 50%
Unit 2: Chemistry Paper 2 – Written paper 1 hr 45mins – 100 marks worth 50%

Year 9 and 10

Students start GCSE Chemistry in Year 9 and have two lessons per fortnight. In Year 10, students will continue on the GCSE course with four lessons per fortnight on the following topics:

  1. Atoms, bonding and moles
  2. Chemical reactions and energy changes

Year 11

In Year 11, students continue on the GCSE course with 4 lessons a fortnight on the following topics:

  1. Rates, equilibrium and organic chemistry
  2. Analysis and the Earth’s resources

Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13)

Course Code: A Level Chemistry OCR H432
Exam Board Specification: OCR A

Recommended Entry Requirements:

  • Grade 6 GCSE Chemistry or Grade 6-6 GCSE Combined Science
  • Grade 6 Mathematics and English
  • Students who have studied Combined Science must complete additional preparatory work over the summer holidays.

Why Chemistry?
This exciting course attempts to answer the big question “What is the world made of?” and in the search for this answer you will be investigating how one substance can be changed drastically into another, through to researching a new wonder drug to save millions of lives.

The course covers a broad range of topics within Physical, Inorganic and Organic chemistry including atomic structures, thermodynamics, periodicity, transition metals and alkanes. Practicals include measuring energy changes, identifying different compounds, preparing organic solids and liquids and undertaking advanced chromatography.

The opportunities are endless!


37% – Paper 1 – Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry
37% – Paper 2 – Synthesis and analytical techniques
26% – Paper 3 – Unified Chemistry
Practical endorsement assessed during lessons (pass/fail)

Recommended Reading

OCR A: Chemistry A Level Textbook Year 1 and Year 2 by Oxford. Accessible through Kerboodle.

OCR A : CGP – A Level Chemistry Revision Guide

Resources & Links:

Past papers and mark schemes can be downloaded from:

The Science Faculty website is now live and contains useful revision PowerPoint’s and web links: (Password: Science1)

Students also have access to the GCSE Science textbooks online using their usernames and passwords for Kerboodle: (Institution Code: ik1)

Students also have access to GCSE Science Resources on Educake and Seneca including revision notes and assessments using their usernames and passwords:


KS3 Science Club, National Science & Engineering Week enrichment activities, curriculum visits to Bristol Zoo, @Bristol, The Big Bang Fair, National Science Museum. A Level Biology Residential Ecology trip, DNA Workshop day trip and further enrichment opportunities.

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