Mrs G McCloskey (Head Of Department)
Dr M Ferris (Vice Principal)
Mrs L Campbell
Mr B McKeown


Key Stage 3

The Chemistry curriculum at KS3 is divided into a series of units which include metals, chemical reactions, the atom (past, present and future) and acids, bases and salts. Within each unit scheme there is a strong emphasis placed on practical investigations and the application of Chemistry theory to explain the observations and measurements recorded. In addition to developing a range of practical skills, students have the opportunity to think both critically and creatively through a wide range of learning activities. This in turn encourages students to manage information, work with others and apply cross curricular skills such as mathematics and ICT to problem solving exercises as stated in the statutory requirements.
Throughout the course, students are encouraged to think about how Chemistry affects their everyday lives. In an ever changing world, it is crucial that students leave school with a sound knowledge of Chemistry and an awareness of the many employment opportunities that await them if they want to make a career in Science.


Students who select GCSE Chemistry will follow the Chemistry Specification and can be taken as either Triple Award Chemistry or part of a Double Award Modular Science course. Both courses follow a modular format with pupils taking a modular exam at the end of both Years 11 and 12.

In Year 11 pupils will study topics including:

  • Elements
  • Compounds and Mixtures
  • Atomic Structure and Bonding
  • The Periodic Table and Solubility

In Year 12, the topics include:

  • The Reactivity of Metals
  • Rates of Reaction
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Quantitative Chemistry

For the Triple Award option, Module 1 contributes 35%, Module 2, 40% and a controlled assessment task taken in Year 12 contributes to 25% of the final GCSE. In Double Award Module 1 contributes 11%, Module 2, 14% and the controlled assessment task 25% of the GCSE.

A Level

At an advanced level, the department offers the Chemistry Specification Modular Chemistry course. This consists of three modules in the AS year and a further three in the second or A2 year of the course. In both years, pupils take a practical examination contributing to a full module. The modules at both AS level and A2 level are examined as 1 hour 30 minutes written papers and a 2 hour 30 minute practical examination. Each AS written paper contributes 35% to the final AS mark while the practical paper contributes 30%. With regards to the final A Level mark, each AS written paper contributes 17.5% to the final A level mark and the practical 15%. The two A2 written papers contribute 20% to the final A level mark and the practical paper 10%.

Extra Curricular

The department runs extra sessions for GCSE and A level students after school throughout the academic year. Year 13 students are selected each year to represent the school at the Royal Society of Chemistry's Schools Analytical Competition which is held in Stranmillis University College, Belfast. In addition year 14 students have competed in the Chemistry Olympiad competition for the past 6 years enjoying great success in both competitions.

Other articles of interest:

January 2022
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