Chemistry is all around us and is an integral part of everyday life and human progress, from food and farming, to energy use and climate science, materials technology and medicine. This makes it a fascinating, challenging and diverse subject to study.

Skills and practices which we develop and use in Chemistry will also be useful in other scientific subjects such as Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Earth Sciences and Environmental Sciences.

Throughout the GCSE and A-Level years we teach students how to think logically and scientifically, how to plan and carry out investigations, make careful observations and interpret experimental results. Chemistry develops logical thinking and scientific skills such as questioning, analysis and problem solving. Students are encouraged to learn collaboratively, working in groups during practical work, on research projects and in discussions. Practical work underpins many of the topics studied at GCSE and A-Level.

Chemistry is a popular subject at A-Level and many of our students go on to study science-based subjects at university.

Chemistry at Key Stage 3

 Term 1Term 2Term 3
Year 7Working Scientifically
This introduction topic provides students with the knowledge needed to plan, carry, analyse and evaluate practical work in Science.

Particles is a fundamental Chemistry topic in which students learn about the particle model of solids, liquids and gases and how this explains the key properties of substance.
Atoms, Elements and Compounds
Building on from Particles, this topic explains the difference between atoms, elements and compounds and introduces the Periodic Table.
Students carry out and observe some key chemical reactions. They learn how to construct word and symbol equations – skills needed throughout GCSE and A level Chemistry.

Acids and Alkalis
Students study the key differences between acids and alkalis and the pH scale. They then discover neutralisation reactions and produce salts
Year 8Periodic Table
Students look at the Periodic Table in more detail and discovery why the elements are in a certain group. They then study some of the groups on the Periodic Table particularly needed at GCSE and carry out some experiments and shown demonstrations of their reactions

Separation Techniques
In this topics, students find out how the composition of a mixture allows different techniques to be used for separation. They study filtration, distillation and chromatography as examples of separation techniques.
Metals and Acids
Students look at the reactions of metals with oxygen and acids and use these to discover the reactivity series. Students then further develop these ideas by carrying out displacement reactions. The topic then continues to study other uses of metals such as alloys and compare these to composite materials and polymers.
In the Earth topic, students look at the structure and composition of the Earth. Students then study the formation and properties of Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary rock and the rock cycle that links these all together.

GCSE Curriculum: Years 9-11

The GCSE course is an exciting and challenging course which aims to develop an enquiring and analytical mind through a variety of activities including practical work, research and discussions.

GCSE Chemistry covers the following topics:

Fundamental Ideas – atoms, elements, compounds and mixtures; states of matter and state symbols; word and symbol equations; the development of the model of the atom, atomic structure and electron structure; size and mass of atoms, relative atomic mass and relative formula mass.

The Periodic Table – its development and the structure of modern periodic table (specific groups of the periodic table which are studied in detail are groups 1, 7, 0 and the Transition Metals).

Bonding, Structure and Properties – ionic, covalent and metallic bonding; how bonding and structure are related to the properties of substances; structure and bonding of carbon; bulk and surface properties of particles, including nanoparticles.

Quantitative Chemistry – conservation of mass and balanced equations; mass changes when a product is a gas; chemical measurements; moles; amounts of substances from equations; using moles to balance equations; limiting reactants and concentration of solutions; percentage yield and atom economy; using concentrations of solutions and volumes of gases in relation to amounts of substances.

Chemical Changes – reactivity of metals; extraction of metals; oxidation and reduction; reactions of metals with acids and salt preparation; the pH scale and neutralisation; titration and strong and weak acids; electrolysis of molten solids and solutions and uses of the process.

Energy Changes – exothermic and endothermic reactions; chemical cells and fuel cells.

The Rate and Extent of Chemical Change – calculation rates of reaction; factors which affect the rate of reaction; collision theory, catalyst and activation energy; reversible reactions and energy changes; equilibrium and factors which affect it.

Organic Chemistry – crude oil, hydrocarbons and alkanes; fractional distillation, properties of hydrocarbons, cracking and alkenes; reactions of alkenes and alcohols, carboxylic acids; polymerisation, synthetic and natural polymers; amino acids and DNA.

Chemical Analysis – purity, formulations and chromatography; identification of common gases; identification of ions by flame tests and simple test tube reactions; instrumental methods and flame emission spectroscopy.

Chemistry of the Atmosphere – the proportions of different gases in the atmosphere; evolution of the earth’s atmosphere; carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases; climate change and carbon footprint; other common pollutants, their sources and effects.

Using Resources – sustainable development, potable water, waste water treatment; alternative ways of extracting metals; life cycle assessment, recycling and other ways of reducing the use of recourses; corrosion and its prevention, alloys, ceramics, polymers and composite materials; the Haber process and the use of NPK fertilisers.

A-level Curriculum

At Crossley Heath we study OCR Advanced Chemistry Specification A (H432). The course is made up of 6 modules:

  1. Development of practical Skills in Chemistry – this is a thread that runs throughout the course;
  2. Foundations in Chemistry – including atomic structure and bonding, shapes of molecules and quantities calculations;
  3. Periodic table and energy – including Periodicity, trends, Enthalpy, reaction rates, and equilibrium;
  4. Core Organic Chemistry – including basic concepts, alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, haloalkanes, organic synthesis and spectroscopy;
  5. Physical Chemistry and Transition Elements – including reaction rates and equilibrium, acids, bases and pH, buffers and neutralisation, enthalpy and entropy, redox and electrode potentials and transition elements
  6. Organic Chemistry and Analysis – including aromatic chemistry, carbonyls and carboxylic acids, amines, amino acids and proteins, further organic synthesis, chromatography and further spectroscopy.

Chemistry is the most specified A-Level requirement by universities. Students thinking of studying any science-based course at university should look carefully at the entry requirements to see if they might need A-Level Chemistry. Recently our students have gone on to study subjects such as Pharmacy, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Optometry, Physiotherapy, Biomedical Sciences, Health and Social Care Environmental Geography and Biochemistry.

The enriched curriculum

GCSE and Advanced Level Chemistry students have the opportunity to experience talks by leading scientists at GCSE and A-Level Science Live events. A-Level students also have the opportunity to visit a university laboratory and experience undergraduate practical Chemistry first hand. A-Level Chemistry Students attend the regular science department Journal Club meetings where students give presentations and answer questions on aspects of science which interest them.