Why Study Chemistry?

Chemistry drives our modern lives so a qualification in Chemistry shows employers you have skills and knowledge to be part of our future.  You will study the processes behind the reactions essential to our modern age.  You will be able to interpret the effect Chemistry has on the planet as a whole using the language of chemical communication.

At Queen’s Gate School, Chemistry is taught as a single science, throughout the school.  Our aim is to actively promote Chemistry by ensuring the best working environment for each pupil, promoting the idea that each girl achieves her potential.  We want each girl to learn and develop good working practice both individually and as part of a group.  Furthermore, even if a girl decides not to pursue Chemistry to GCSE or A Level, she maintains an interest and enthusiasm for the subject

Practical Work

Chemistry is an empirical subject and learning is very often more effective when it incorporates hands-on experience. Each practical activity supports the physical development of skills and helps shape the understanding of scientific concepts. Teacher demonstrations are a valuable aspect of practical work.  They allow pupils to gain first hand, experience of more spectacular experiments.

Practical work in Chemistry is a hands-on experience which prompts thinking about the world in which we live.  It is made up of a core of two activity types: scientific techniques and scientific enquiries.


Lower School

Year Topic
Remove Arrangement of particles in a solid, liquid and gas
Products of Combustion
Acids and Alkalis
Separating Techniques of Mixtures
Solutes, Solvents and Solutions
LIVth Atoms, Elements and Compounds
The Periodic table of Elements
Physical and Chemical Changes
Metals and Non-metals
The Reactivity Series of Metals
The Rock Cycle and products from Oil
IVth Atomic Structure and Bonding
Rates of Reaction
Reactions of Acids and Making Salts
Study of trends within the Periodic Table


Our iGCSE in Chemistry aims to develop an understanding of the unifying patters and themes of chemistry, as well as experimental and investigative skills based on correct and safe laboratory techniques. Pupils will gain an appreciation of scientific methods and learn to form hypotheses and design experiments to test them.

The course is made up of the following sections:

  • Principles of chemistry
  • Chemistry of the elements
  • Organic chemistry
  • Physical chemistry
  • Chemistry in society.

A Level

Our engaging and inspiring A Level Chemistry specification enables contemporary chemistry contexts to be included within the teaching and learning programme.

Unit 1: The Core Principles of Chemistry

In this unit pupils learn to define, measure and calculate enthalpy changes. They will see how a study of enthalpy changes can help chemists to understand chemical bonding. The study of atomic structure introduces s, p, and d orbitals and shows how a more detailed understanding of electron configurations can account for the arrangement of elements in the periodic table. The unit introduces the three types of strong chemical bonding (ionic, covalent and metallic). Organic chemistry is also introduced with pupils studying alkanes and alkenes.

Unit 2: Application of The Core Principles of Chemistry

This unit develops the treatment of chemical bonding by introducing intermediate types of bonding and by exploring the nature and effects of intermolecular forces. Study of the periodic table is extended to cover the chemistry of groups 2 and 7. Ideas about redox reactions are applied, in particular, to the reactions of halogens and their compounds. The unit develops a largely qualitative understanding of the ways in which chemists can control the rate, direction and extent of chemical change.

Unit 3: Chemistry Laboratory Skills 1

The practical assessments cover the areas of physical, organic and inorganic chemistry. The types of practicals that pupils must complete are qualitative observations, quantitative measurements and preparations.

Unit 4: General Principles of Chemistry 1

In this unit pupils make a quantitative study of chemical kinetics and take further their study of organic reaction mechanisms. The topics of entropy and equilibria show how chemists are able to predict quantitatively the direction and extent of chemical change.

Unit 5: General Principles of Chemistry 2

In this unit the study of electrode potentials builds on the study of redox in Unit 2, including the concept of oxidation number and the use of redox half equations. Pupils will study further chemistry related to redox and transition metals. The further organic chemistry section of this unit focuses on arenes and organic nitrogen compounds such as amines, amides, amino acids and proteins.

Unit 6: Chemistry Laboratory Skills 2

There is the opportunity for pupils to undertake a multi-stage experiment, which includes the quantitative measurement and preparation in a longer assessment.