Chemistry Learning Journey



Progress Leader: Mrs A Howarth
Assistant Progress Leader: Mrs R Barry
Teaching Staff: Mrs D Preston, Mrs L Atkinson,  Mr A Carey, Miss D Keen
Science Technician: Mrs L Mason
Link Governor: Mr J Gardner


Chemistry should be taught in progressively greater depth over the course of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. GCSE outcomes may reflect or build upon subject content which is typically taught at Key Stage 3. There is no expectation that teaching of such content should be repeated during the GCSE course where it has already been covered at an earlier stage.

GCSE study in chemistry provides the foundations for understanding the material world. Scientific understanding is changing our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all students should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science.

They should be helped to appreciate how the complex and diverse phenomena of the natural world
can be described in terms of a small number of key ideas relating to the sciences which are both
inter-linked, and are of universal application. These key ideas include:

  • the use of conceptual models and theories to make sense of the observed diversity of natural phenomena
  • the assumption that every effect has one or more cause
  • that change is driven by differences between different objects and systems when they interact
  • that many such interactions occur over a distance without direct contact
  • that science progresses through a cycle of hypothesis, practical experimentation, observation, theory development and review
  • that quantitative analysis is a central element both of many theories and of scientific methods of inquiry.

These key ideas are relevant in different ways and with different emphases in biology, chemistry and physics: examples of their relevance to chemistry are given below.

The GCSE specification in chemistry should enable students to:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through chemistry
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of scientific enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • develop and learn to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry and problem-solving skills, both in the laboratory, in the field and in other learning environments
  • develop their ability to evaluate claims based on chemistry through critical analysis of the methodology, evidence and conclusions, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
  • Chemistry should be studied in ways that help students to develop curiosity about the natural world, insight into how science works, and appreciation of its relevance to their everyday lives. The scope and nature of such study should be broad, coherent, practical and satisfying, and thereby encourage students to be inspired, motivated and challenged by the subject and its achievements.


Students follow the AQA GCSE Chemistry specification. Click here to view the specification.


Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE chemistry Science specifications and all exam boards.

The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: scientific ideas; scientific techniques and procedures.
  • AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of: scientific ideas; scientific enquiry, techniques and procedures.
  • AO3: Analyse information and ideas to: interpret and evaluate; make judgments and draw conclusions; develop and improve experimental procedures.

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components.
Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component.
Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown below.

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark

  • Paper 1 marks available 100
  • Paper 2 Marks available 100
  • Total scaled mark: 200

Throughout Key stage 4 students will also focus on key skills. These include:

  • Knowledge and understanding of command words- describe, explain, compare & evaluate.
  • Planning valid investigations to include:
  • Identifying independent, dependent & control variables
  • How to represent data
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Calculating risks









Chemical Changes

Students will have an understanding of chemical changes began when people began experimenting with chemical reactions in a systematic way and organizing their results logically. Knowing about these different chemical changes meant that scientists could begin to predict exactly what new substances would be formed and use this knowledge to develop a wide range of different materials and processes. It also helped biochemists to understand the complex reactions that take place in living organisms. The extraction of important resources from the earth makes use of the way that some elements and compounds react with each other and how easily they can be ‘pulled apart’. This unit will cover these important processes and student will explore how thy can be carried out in the lab.


Energy changes 
Quantitative chemistry

Students will learn that energy changes are an important part of chemical reactions. The interaction of particles often involves transfers of energy due to the breaking and formation of bonds. Reactions in which energy is released to the surroundings are exothermic reactions, while those that take in thermal energy are endothermic. These interactions between particles can produce heating or cooling effects that are used in a range of everyday applications. Some interactions between ions in an electrolyte result in the production of electricity. Cells and batteries use these chemical reactions to provide electricity. Electricity can also be used to decompose ionic substances and is a useful means of producing elements that are too expensive to extract any other way.

Students will learn how to use quantitative analysis to determine the formulae of compounds and the equations for reactions. Given this information, analysts can then use quantitative methods to determine the purity of chemical samples and to monitor the yield from chemical reactions. Chemical reactions can be classified in various ways. Identifying different types of chemical reaction allows chemists to make sense of how different chemicals react together, to establish patterns and to make predictions about the behaviour of other chemicals. Chemical equations provide a means of representing chemical reactions and are a key way for chemists to communicate chemical ideas.


The rate and extent of chemical change
Organic chemistry

Students will understand that chemical reactions can occur at vastly different rates. Whilst the reactivity of chemicals is a significant factor in how fast chemical reactions proceed, there are many variables that can be manipulated in order to speed them up or slow them down. Chemical reactions may also be reversible and therefore the effect of different variables needs to be established in order to identify how to maximise the yield of desired product. Understanding energy changes that accompany chemical reactions is important for this process. In industry, chemists and chemical engineers determine the effect of different variables on reaction rate and yield of product. Whilst there may be compromises to be made, they carry out optimisation processes to ensure that enough product is produced within a sufficient time, and in an energy-efficient way.

Students will learn that the chemistry of carbon compounds is so important that it forms a separate branch of chemistry. A great variety of carbon compounds is possible because carbon atoms can form chains and rings linked by C-C bonds. This branch of chemistry gets its name from the fact that the main sources of organic compounds are living, or once-living materials from plants and animals. These sources include fossil fuels which are a major source of feedstock for the petrochemical industry. Chemists are able to take organic molecules and modify them in many ways to make new and useful materials such as polymers, pharmaceuticals, perfumes and flavourings, dyes and detergents.




Chemical analysis
Chemistry of the atmosphere

Students will learn how analysts have developed a range of qualitative tests to detect specific chemicals. The tests are based on reactions that produce a gas with distinctive properties, or a colour change or an insoluble solid that appears as a precipitate. They will understand how instrumental methods provide fast, sensitive and accurate means of analysing chemicals, and are particularly useful when the amount of chemical being analysed is small. Forensic scientists and drug control scientists rely on such instrumental methods in their work.

Students will understand that the Earth’s atmosphere is dynamic and forever changing. The causes of these changes are sometimes man-made and sometimes part of many natural cycles. Scientists use very complex software to predict weather and climate change as there are many variables that can influence this. The problems caused by increased levels of air pollutants require scientists and engineers to develop solutions that help to reduce the impact of human activity.


Using resources

Students will understand how industries use the Earth’s natural resources to manufacture useful products. In order to operate sustainably, chemists seek to minimise the use of limited resources, use of energy, waste and environmental impact in the manufacture of these products. Chemists also aim to develop ways of disposing of products at the end of their useful life in ways that ensure that materials and stored energy are utilised. Pollution, disposal of waste products and changing land use has a significant effect on the environment, and environmental chemists’ study how human activity has affected the Earth’s natural cycles, and how damaging effects can be minimised.


Course complete



  • CERN trip to Geneva
  • STEM club
  • Science club
  • Eco club
  • Revision sessions available weekly at lunchtimes and after school


Students are required to gain a grade 6 or above to study biology, chemistry or physics at AS/A2 level. There are many BTEC course available that require a grade 9-5.


Support your child with homework. Ask them questions about what they are learning about in science & how it applies to the real World around them. Watch documentaries with them and talk about how the World is changing and the impact that humans are having on the world.


  • Museum of Science & Industry
  • Natural History Museum
  • Eureka
  • Knowsley Safari Park
  • Chester zoo
  • Blackpool zoo
  • Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
  • The Sealife Centre
  • Blue planet Aquarium


  • Gadget Show on Discovery Science
  • Brain Games on National Geographic
  • Nat Geo Extreme Wild on National Geographic
  • Modern Marvels on History
  • Prehistoric on Animal Planet
  • Ancient Aliens on History
  • Superhumans on History
  • Megascience on Discovery Science
  • Science of stupid on National Geographic
  • Magic of science on Discovery Science


  • Horrible Sciences
  • Catalyst Magazine
  • Bad Science Series
  • KS3 CGP Revision Guides
  • BBC Operation Ouch
  • 500 Things You Should Know about Science
  • Richard Hammond Blast Lab
  • Focus Magazine



BBC Bitesize


GCSE pod





Applied Science

• Aeronautical engineer
• Biomedical engineer
• Civil engineer
• Chemical engineer
• Educational technologist
• Electrical engineer
• Engineering technician
• Engineering technologist
• Petrochemical engineer
• Mechanical engineer

General science

• Forensic scientist
• Government scientist
• Healthcare science
• Inventor
• Psychologist
• Research fellow
• School science technician
• Scientist

Life science

• Biologist
• Biomedical scientist
• Botanist
• Herpetologist
• Medical laboratory scientist
• Microbiologist
• Neuroscientist
• Clinical pharmaceutical scientist
• Zoologist

Natural science

• Archaeologist
• Astronaut
• Astronomer
• Biochemist
• Chemist
• Ecologist
• Geographer
• Naturalist
• Oceanographer
• Palaeontologist
• Pathologist