Chemistry at Sir Thomas Rich's

Other subjects ask questions but Chemistry provides the solutions!

Chemistry is concerned with the properties and reactions of the substances which compose matter and particularly the use of reactions to create new substances.


Head of Department:
Department Teaching Staff:

Key Stage 3 - Years 8 & 9

Teaching Arrangements: Pupils have two periods a week as a double lesson.
Homework Guidance: Homework is set each week, following departmental policy. Homework set could include practice questions on a topic, writing up practicals, research on a topic and designing practical experiments.
Assessment Arrangements: Formal assessments are made at the end of each topic through tests. Practicals which are levelled assessed tasks may also be completed.
Topics Covered:
Year 8
  • Re-cap of States of Matter
  • Combustion of fuels
  • The Periodic Table
  • Acids and bases
  • Earth Sciences
  • Rocks and rock cycle
Year 9
  • Separation of mixtures
  • Atomic structure
  • Analysis and gases
  • The Reactivity Series
  • The Earth's resources
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere

In Year 8 we follow the KS3 criteria from the National Curriculum and in Year 9 we start the GCSE course.

Teaching Arrangements: In Year 10 Pupils will have 3 periods a week and this increases to 4 periods a week in Year 11.
Homework Guidance: Homework is set each week, following departmental policy. Homework set could include practice questions on a topic, writing up practicals, research on a topic, designing practical experiments and completing past examination papers.
Assessment Arrangements: At the end of Year 11, two papers of 1 hour and 45 minutes are taken. Each paper assesses 5 different topics and comprises of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. There are no assessed practicals but we have 8 key practicals that need to be undertaken.
Exam Specification: AQA linear GCSE Chemistry (9-1) course Topics Covered:
Year 10
  • Revision of key concepts in Year 9, including atomic structure and writing formulae.
  • Periodic Table, Group 1, Group 7, Group 0 and Transition Metals.
  • Structure and Bonding including nano-particles
  • Acid, Bases and Salts
  • Rates of Reaction
  • Energy
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry – ions and gas tests.
Year 11
  • Quantitative Chemistry
  • Extraction of metals and Redox
  • Electrolysis
  • Chemical cells and fuel cells
  • Reversible reactions and dynamic equilibrium
  • Analytical Chemistry

A GCSE grade 7 is required if you are considering taking A-level Chemistry at STRS.

Entry Requirements: A GCSE grade 7 in Chemistry is required to study this course and Mathematics at A-level is recommended but is not a pre-requisite.
Teaching Arrangements: In Year 12 and 13 pupils will have 7 periods a week, split between two teachers.
Homework Guidance: Homework is set each week, following departmental policy. We also expect pupils to reinforce their learning by reading around the subject out of lessons.
Assessment Arrangements: There are no assessed practicals but practical skills covered in Module 1 are a key component of the course. You will achieve a pass/fail in practical skills as well as your A-level grade. The practical skills achieved throughout the course will be assessed within the written examinations.
At the end of Year 13 you will take 3 papers, comprising of multiple choice, structured questions and extended response questions covering theory and practical skills:
1.Periodic table, elements and Physical Chemistry (2hrs15; 100 marks) – Assessing modules 1, 2, 3 and 5
2.Synthesis and analytical techniques (2hrs15; 100 marks) – Assessing modules 1, 2, 4 and 6
3.Unified Chemistry (1hr30; 70 marks) – Assessing modules 1-6.
Exam Specification: OCR Chemistry A-level Topics Covered:
Year 12
  • Module 1:Development of practical skills
  • 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
    • Periodic table and periodicity
    • Group 2 and Halogens
    • Qualitative analysis
    • Enthalpy changes
    • Reaction rates and equilibrium (qualitative)
  • Module 4: Core Organic Chemistry
    • Basic concepts; hydrocarbons
    • Alcohols and haloalkanes
    • Organic synthesis
    • Analytical techniques (IR and MS)
Year 13
  • Module 5: Physical Chemistry and transition elements
    • 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 derivatives
    • Nitrogen compounds (amines, amino acids and amides)
    • Polymers
    • Organic synthesis
    • Chromatography and NMR

We run Chemistry club every Thursday lunchtime for Year 12 and 13 students to get extra help via peer-mentoring or asking the teacher.
As well as formal assessment we provide the opportunity for stretch and challenge by taking the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge in Year 12 and the RSC Chemistry Olympiad in Year 13. These papers are designed to test the most able pupils and provide an opportunity to develop and showcase the skills required for studying Chemistry at University.

University courses this subject may be required for or lead onto:
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical engineering
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary Science
Careers that Chemistry may lead onto:
  • Research and Development
  • analytical careers
  • Medical careers
Associated Clubs / Societies / Trips:

We run a trip to the University of Bristol for Organic Chemistry in Year 12/13.
We also participate in two theory and lab based competitions run by the Royal Society of Chemistry: Top of the Bench (with 2 Year 9s, 1 Year 10 and 1 Year 11) and RSC Analytical Chemistry Competition for 4 Year 12s.