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Student during a chemistry science lesson


Curriculum Intent:

We endeavour to provide a pathway for our students to explore and understand the wonderment and awe of the everyday through the chemical sciences.  To develop transferable skills, students require to question evidence and draw conclusions based upon a mixture of logical, practical and theoretical based activities.

Chemistry will inspire the next generation of learners to be able to see the world around them in a new light by encouraging them to discover, appreciate and see their world through the eyes of a scientist.  Through their work, we encourage students to take their place in an ever increasing technological society.

Chemistry is offered as:

  • Core subject Years 7, 8 & 9
  • GCSE Option Years 10 & 11
  • IB Chemistry Year 12 & 13

Key Stage 3 Science

Curriculum Overview

Biology Chemistry Physics
Year 7 -Cells

-Structure and function of body systems


-Particles and their behaviour

-Elements, atoms, and compounds


-Acids and alkalis




Year 8 -Health and lifestyle

-Ecosystem processes

-Adaptation and inheritance

-The Periodic Table

-Separation techniques

-Metals and acids

-The Earth

-Electricity and magnetism


-Motion and pressure


Year 9 -How do our bodies work?

-Why does size matter?

-How does our food keep us alive?

-How does exercise affect the body?

-Why is life as we know it on Earth at risk?

-How can we feed the 7.7 billion?

-How are energy transfers useful to us?

-How is long distance travel possible?

-How do waves allow us to communicate?

-What is the difference between potential difference and current?

-What is the link between electricity and magnetism?

-What is our universe made of?

-What are salts and how do we make them?

-Why are the elements arranged as they are?

-How can we make things more sustainable?

-Is there a climate crisis?

-Who done it- can we pinpoint the murder scientifically? CSI- Rochester

-Could there be life on other planets?

Year 7

Students receive six lessons per fortnight. Students will rotate through topics in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Underpinning all that they learn will be an emphasis on how to conduct work scientifically.

Year 8

Students receive seven lessons per fortnight. Students will continue to rotate through topics in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Year 9

Students will be assigned specialists teachers to extend their understanding more fully into the three science subjects. Students receive nine lessons per fortnight, three in each specialist subject. They will explore a ‘big question’ which provides a focus for the unit and the opportunity for personal enquiry. Embedded within the course is the development of thinking skills.


Each topic will have an End of Topic Assessment. This will include a variety of question types and will ask to the student to not only recall information but also apply it. A key component of scientific thinking is being able to apply knowledge to new areas based on what has already been learned. Practical skills are very important in science and these will be developed during lesson time. The application of scientific thinking to practicals will be assessed. This includes the setup and design of a practical, the process of data collection, the creation of tables and graphs, the processing of data, conclusions that can be reached, and evaluation of the practical.

Exams will be cumulative assessments that will challenge students on all areas of science they have covered.

  • Year 7 will have an End of Year Exam
  • Year 8 will have both a Mid-Year Exam and an End of Year Exam
  • Year 9 will have an End of Year Exam

Home learning will be assigned throughout. Year 7 and 8 will use Kerboodle for their Home learning. There are a variety of tasks to help students challenge their understanding through online quizzes.

Further Reading/Resources

– The BBC Bitesize website is very useful with additional information on topics, short videos, and practice questions

Key Stage 4 Chemistry

Curriculum Overview

Students at Key Stage 4 have two periods a week studying the AQA GCSE Chemistry qualification

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 10 Atomic structure and the periodic table Structure bonding and the properties of matter The Atmosphere Sustainable development Energy Changes Chemical quantities and calculations
Year 11 Chemical changes The rate and extent of chemical change Hydrocarbons Chemical analysis Revision  


Year 10

Students will explore the basic ideas of chemistry looking at the foundations of GCSE work of Atomic Structure and Bonding within the first 2 terms.  After this the students will then consider some applications of the work by looking at the atmosphere and the sustainable development of the world around us through a chemical perspective.   In terms 5 and terms 6 the basic ideas previously explored will then be dealt with in more detail where the ideas of energy and chemical calculations will then be explored.  At the end of each topic knowledge is tested via an End of Topic test as well as mini assessments that will go on through the topic. These tests will be based around past paper questions about the topic, so students are introduced to exam technique, misconceptions and allows for time to fill in any gaps in knowledge.  At the end of Yr 10 there will be an exam that will test all of the components studied that year.

Year 11

In Year 11 the students will study the final four components of the syllabus in preparation for their forthcoming exams in May and June.  The first 2 components look at the aspect of chemical change as well as the kinetics involved in chemical reactions.  They will then finish off by considering the chemistry of hydrocarbons and chemical analysis.  In these topics, the ideas contained in the other topics are all brought together.

All of the topics taught in Yr 10 and Yr 11 will have examples of industrial contexts to ensure that the student understands how this relates to the world of work within the chemical industry.

Assessment at GCSE

  • The final assessment is split in to two exams:
  • Paper 1 covers topics 1-5, is a written paper and is 1.15 hours in length
  • Paper 2 covers topics 6-10, is a written paper and is 1.15 hours in length

Further Reading/Resources

The text book used for the course is the c=Collins AQA approved AQA GCSE (9-1) Chemistry student book.

We also recommend the following guides to help students with their studies:

Grade 9-1 GCSE Chemistry AQA Complete Revision & Practice with Online Edition (CGP GCSE Chemistry 9-1 Revision) – ISBN 1782945849

Chemistry 9-1 AQA Practical book – This is available from school and students will be notified when these are available

Online resources

BBC Bytesize AQA GCSE – – Where students can test their knowledge and revise the concepts being taught. – Students can access short clips that explain concepts via a short video.

Key Stage 5 Chemistry

Students at Key Stage follow the IB Chemistry course as part of the IB Diploma.  This course is available at both the standard and Higher levels

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 12 Stoichiometric relationships and Atomic Structure Periodicity and Organic Chemistry Chemical bonding and structure.  Energetics and Thermochemistry Acids and bases.  Also Chemical kinetics Redox processes and Equilibrium IA practical and measurement, data processing and analysis
Year 13 Further Organic chemistry and Electrons in atoms Energy cycles and Entropy.  As well as further equilibria and advanced bonding Advanced acids and bases


Electrochemical cells


Year 12

In Year 12, the students will study the standard level topics within the chemistry syllabus which look at the basic ideas within Chemistry.  The content is split between two teachers and each topic runs concurrently between the two members of staff.  There is an end of topic test completed based around past papers questions as well as mini assessments within the individual lessons that will focus upon exam technique and misconceptions.  Time is then spent with each class rectifying any errors.  The department also provides a weekly drop in clinic for students to attend for support when required.  In Yr 12 the students will also complete their IA which is a piece of investigative work completed around a topic or idea of their choosing.   In this term the students will also study the option which at Rochester Grammar we study the Biochemistry option.

Year 13

In Year 13 students are able to build upon the knowledge gained in Year 12, where the higher concepts of the standard level topics are taught.  In these lessons, the information studied in Yr 12 is developed with more advanced ideas being considered.  These topics are also assessed via an end of topic test which will use past paper questions to assess the knowledge, improve exam technique as well as identify any misconceptions that the students may have.

Assessment at IB

The Chemistry course is assessed in two ways.  There is the IA component which is 20% of the final mark and there are 3 examinations:

Standard Level

Paper 1 – 35 Multiple choice questions (without a calculator) – 45 mins SL – 20%

Paper 2 – Structured examination questions 1.15hrs SL – 36%

Paper 3 – Data and the options paper – 1 hr SL – 24%

Higher Level

Paper 1 – 40 Multiple choice questions (without a calculator) – 1Hr HL – 20%

Paper 2 – Structured examination questions 2.15hrs HL – 40%

Paper 3 – Data and the options paper – 1.15hrs HL – 20%

Further Reading/Resources:

The textbook provided is Pearson Baccalaureate Higher Level Chemistry Starter Pack (Pearson International Baccalaureate Diploma: International Editions)

Calculations in AS / A Level Chemistry – Jim Clark ISBN 0582411270 – This provides lots of examples of calculations with how to guides an excellent resource

Online resources – This website contains lots and lots of very clear explanations for the topics being taught – Another excellent online explanation website with examples for students to try.


British Values:

British Values in Chemistry

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs: Global warming and climate change – analysing different peoples values , needs and beliefs. Evidence for the age of the Earth