Chemistry is the branch of physical science that is concerned with the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter, especially of atomic and molecular systems. It is often referred to as the central science as it forms a bridge between other subjects, including Biology, Physics and Geology.

You will study Chemistry in all year groups from years 7 to 11. This will involve carrying out experimental work, learning from your observations and developing a theoretical understanding. There is a large uptake of the subject in the sixth form with either four or five classes in a year group. In addition, there is a wide programme of enrichment activities. The Chemistry department is staffed by a team of subject specialists and housed in four designated laboratories in the main building with associated preparation rooms.

Throughout the department there is a wide range of enrichment activities for students to participate in a flavour of these is listed below:

  • Chemistry Olympiad
  • Ionic Liquids research project
  • Y7 Chemistry Club
  • Chemistry Society
  • Medical Society
  • Cambridge Chemistry Challenge

Chemistry Department Intent

Contact Head of Chemistry


Students follow a broad and balanced programme of study in chemistry throughout years 7 and 8. This includes a detailed induction to laboratory work, organic chemistry and geology modules to name a few, the full list is given in the table below.

Year 7 Year 8
Laboratory skills and measurement Acids and Alkalis
Particles I Reactivity of Metals
Solubility Organic Chemistry
Separation techniques Precipitation
Elements, mixtures and compounds Combustion
Rocks Faces of Chemistry

Students learn about the impact of the subject beyond the laboratory including health, environmental and social aspects. In the final topic, year 8 students investigate career opportunities related to the subject. There is great emphasis on practical work and students learn to become confident scientists who are not only able to accurately carry out a range of experimental work but are able to fully interpret the results they obtain.


Specification – OCR – Chemistry (J248)

Students are taught in form groups in year 9 and mixed ability groups of 27 in years 10 and 11. In year 9 students have four lessons a fortnight which rises to six in year 10 and 11.

The GCSE will be assessed at the end of Year 11 in two written papers. Many students then chose to continue studying Chemistry at A level in the sixth form.

There is no longer a coursework element to GCSE Chemistry. The students are required to complete a minimum of 8 practical activity groups (PAGs) throughout the course. These are not formally assessed but these are a requirement. The theory of practical work and How Science Works will be examined in the final written papers. Students will have many opportunities to gain and practise these skills throughout the three-year course.

At the end of each year, there will be an end-of-year examination. This will include testing work done in previous years, i.e. the year 10 examination will include material taught in year 9.


Specification – OCR – Chemistry (H432)

Chemistry is at the forefront of many areas of current scientific research and is a subject that requires a broad range of skills and knowledge. There is much opportunity for practical work and getting involved in enrichment activities. At Sutton Grammar School we follow OCR A Chemistry, please see the button above to view the specification.

By following an A Level in the subject you will:

  • Carry out experiments and interpret their results
  • Learn to select, organize, present and interpret data
  • Develop their imaginative and critical thinking about chemical problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the social, economic, environmental and technological importance of Chemistry
  • Develop their ability to communicate scientifically in a variety of ways: discussion, writing, using chemical formulae and equations, graphs and calculations
  • Develop Key Skills, in particular communication, application of number, information technology, problem solving and working with others
  • Discover that Chemistry is a coherent body of knowledge in which there are unifying ideas linking together a wide range of facts. These include the Periodic Table, the concept of amount of substance, ideas of structure and bonding, equilibrium and rates of reaction.

Further Study and Careers

The study of A level Chemistry lays a good foundation for further studies relevant to careers in:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Food Technology
  • Medicine
  • Materials Technology
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Pure/Applied
  • Food Science
  • Geology
  • Metallurgy
  • Pharmacy
  • Law

Course: OCR A, H432

  • Module 1 development of practical skills
  • Module 2 foundations in chemistry
  • Module 3 Periodic Table and Energy
  • Module 4 core organic chemistry
  • Module 5 physical chemistry and transition elements
  • Module 6 organic chemistry and analysis
Examination Modules assessed Percentage
Exam 1:
Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry. 100 marks, 2hrs 15mins
1/2/3/5 37%
Exam 2:
Synthesis and analytical techniques. 100 marks, 2hrs 15mins
1/2/4/6 37%
Exam 3:
Unified chemistry. 70 marks, 1hr 30mins
1/2/3/4/5/6 26%
Practical endorsement Pass/ fail on certificate only