Science KS5 Chemistry

Welcome to Chemistry Department

Chemistry is everywhere; it's in our food, clothes, water, medicine, cleaners, name it!! Chemistry is the glue that connects other science together; for example, biology, physics, geology and environmental science.  Learning chemistry teaches you skills such as learning how to be objective, reason and solve problems.  It explains the world around you.  So there are many reasons to study chemistry, even if you aren't pursuing a career in science.  

Chemistry is a complicated subject involving a great deal of dedication to study effectively. There are many things that simply have to be memorised as well as really complex mathematical and conceptual ideas to understand and apply. The more reading that students can do around the subject the better placed they will be to tackle the challenging questions that they will face. Reading can be scientific news accessed through the Internet or students may like to make use of the Chemistry Review magazine that is available to read in the library or they can take out their own subscription. The New Scientist is slightly broader in subject material but also provides an excellent starting point for extra reading.

The chemistry course is a linear course which is taught over 2 years.  It is expected that students studying this subject will learn the required material throughout the two year.  The staff will ensure that the required learning is taking place by regular spot tests. For every one hour lesson in the subject students are expected to do at least one hour of independent study.

There will be end of topic tests and formal assessments that students are expected to revise thoroughly for. If there are problems then a Clinic operates for one hour a fortnight, after school where students can study together and get help from peers and Chemistry staff.

Extra Curricular

There are free opportunities that students can take advantage of offered through Chem Net as well as other ad-hoc trips that take place throughout the year. Students can also help with lower school Science Club and support in lessons as part of their wider achievement. Professionals working in the Chemical Industry have also visited Copthall to share their knowledge and experience.

A Level

Advanced Level Study

OCR’s GCE in Chemistry (A specification) consists of six teaching modules.

The programme of study will be based on the Heinemann OCR AS Chemistry textbook and other relevant texts.

Outline of A Level Syllabus 

Advanced Level Study

OCR’s GCE in Chemistry (A specification) consists of six teaching modules.

The programme of study will be based on the OCR AS Chemistry textbook and other relevant texts.

Outline of A Level Syllabus 


Year 12: This covers modules 1-4 of the Advanced Level course and there is an internal examination at the end of one year of study.

Summary of Unit Content

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Chemistry

  • Practical skills assessed in a written examination
  • Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement

Module 2 – Foundations in Chemistry

  • Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations
  • Amount of substance
  • Acid–base and redox reactions
  • Electrons, bonding and structure

Module 3 – Periodic Table and Energy

  • The periodic table and periodicity
  • Group 2 and the halogens
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Enthalpy changes
  • Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative)

Module 4 – Core Organic Chemistry

  • Basic concepts
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Alcohols and halo alkanes
  • Organic synthesis
  •  Analytical techniques (IR and MS)

Year 13: This covers modules 5 - 6 of the Advanced Level course and there is an external examination in June.

Module 5 – Physical chemistry

  • Reaction rates and equilibrium (quantitative)
  • pH and buffers
  • Enthalpy, entropy and free energy
  • Redox and electrode potentials
  • Transition elements

Module 6 – Organic chemistry and analysis

  • Aromatic compounds
  • Carbonyl compounds
  • Carboxylic acids and esters
  • Nitrogen compounds
  • Polymers
  • Organic synthesis
  • Chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR)

There is a practical element to the course, which is covered by teacher, and practical endorsement award is given as a pass or fail at the end of year 13.

Essential Student Qualification

We expect students to have at least 5 GCSEs with grades 9-5 however, must have a grade 6 or above in Chemistry/Science.

Desirable Student Qualifications

  • English GCSE grade 6 or above.
  • Mathematics GCSE Grade 6 or above although you are strongly recommended not to study A level Chemistry without a grade 8 or 9 in maths.

A summary of the External Examination:




Modules assessed

Paper 1: Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry. 100 marks

2 hr 15 mins


1, 2, 3, 5

Paper 2: Synthesis and analytical techniques. 100 marks

2 hr 15 min


1, 2, 4, 6

Paper 3: Unified Chemistry. 70 marks

1 hr 30 mins




Teaching and Learning Styles

  • Developing and doing experiments and try to interpret their results and keep these results in a lab book. A methodical and meticulous approach will be imperative.
  • Use and develop critical and imaginative thinking, communication skills e.g. discussion, writing, summarising, presentations.
  • Learn to research and reference material.
  • Learn to select, organise, present and interpret data.
  • Develop your appreciation of the social, economic, environmental and technological importance of chemistry. The ‘how science works’ element.

Higher Education Courses

  • Follow a degree course in chemistry, chemical engineering, environmental science, medicine and pharmacy. These are a small selection of courses with direct links. (UCAS handbooks will give you further guidance.)
  • Follow a Higher National programme in chemical science, sport studies, beauty therapy applied biology, engineering, agriculture, animal management, countryside management, environmental science or horticulture
  • Employment in the area of pharmacy and biotechnology as possible examples

Useful Links

Useful Links

Subject Documents Date  
Chemistry Course 20th May 2020 Download
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