Poole Grammar School, Gravel Hill, Poole, Dorset, BH17 9JU | Tel: 01202 692132 | Email: pgsoffice@poolegrammar.com
Select Page

Chemistry Overview Statement

 The Chemistry curriculum at Poole Grammar School has three elements:

1) Intent: What do we learn?

2) Implementation: How do we learn it?

3) Impact: How do we know we have been successful?


Chemistry is taught to all students in years 7 to 11, and all lessons are taught by experienced subject specialists.  In year 7 chemistry is part of a combined science course covering Biology, Chemistry, Physics and scientific skills. In years 10 and 11 students are given the option of taking triple science or combined science, allowing students to experience a broad and balanced curriculum.

Chemistry is the study of matter, its properties, how and why substances combine or separate to form other substances, and how substances interact with energy.  Students will examine how the properties of the elements are related to their electronic structure and how this determines their position in the Periodic table.  They will apply this knowledge to physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. 

The national curriculum for science is embedded in our KS3 curriculum and aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

The course has been designed to stretch students, with dedicated scientific enquiry and extension material, along with a variety of retrieval activities. Lessons are planned to achieve specific outcomes related to scientific enquiry, with links to scientists throughout history and their everyday lives. It is ambitious for all learners, including addressing misconceptions and introducing higher level concepts. There are many opportunities to build in mathematical and investigative skills. Overall the materials are designed to build a strong foundation for future learning at GCSE and beyond.

The GCSE course is designed to develop further develop scientific thinking, experimental skills, analysis and evaluation. Incorporated into this is scientific vocabulary and mathematical skills. The depth and breadth of the course supports and encourages independent learning, rapid progression and collaborative learning.

A-level Chemistry allows students to develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods. Students become more competent and confident in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem-solving skills. They understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society. Students understand how to use theories, models and ideas to develop scientific explanations. By the end of the course they can use knowledge and understanding to pose scientific questions, define scientific problems, present scientific arguments and scientific ideas.

 Practical chemistry is fundamental to learning the subject and practical activities are incorporated into all topics throughout years 7 to 13. The aims of practical science are:

  • to teach the principles of scientific inquiry
  • to improve understanding of scientific theory through practical experience
  • to be able to use a range of apparatus and chemicals safely
  • to be able to work independently to research and plan scientific investigations
  • to teach the practical skills of recording observations and measurements
  • to analyse and evaluate observations and data to draw conclusions
  • to teach generic skills, such as teamwork and problem-solving
  • to motivate and engage students by sustaining natural curiosity


The schemes of work for each course are based around the topics appearing chronologically in the relevant textbooks used in the department. Teachers use their own additional resources to supplement existing material. All teaching staff in the department are subject specialists and adapt lesson content to the needs of all students. Every year the department reviews all aspects of the curriculum, modifying experiments and schemes of work as part of a yearly evaluation programme. Students at Poole Grammar School study the following topics in their Chemistry lessons.








Autumn 1


States of matter

Energy changes in chemical reactions

Atomic structure and the periodic table



Topic tests

Topic 5 test

Topic 9 test

Topic 1 test

Topic 7 test

Mock exam – paper 1

Autumn 2


Material properties – Elements and PT

The reactivity series of metals

Structure, bonding and the properties of matter

Chemical analysis


Topic tests

Topic 6 mid-point test


Topic 2 test

Topic 8 test

Spring 1


Material properties – Compounds and mixtures

Extraction of metals.

Chemical quantities and calculations

The atmosphere


Topic tests

Topic 6 test

Topic 10 test

Topic 3 test

Topic 9 test

Spring 2


Chemical reactions

Rates of reaction

Chemical changes

Sustainable development


Topic tests

Topic 7 test

Topic 12 test

Topic 4 test

Topic 10 test

Mock exam – Paper 2

Summer 1


Atomic and electronic structure

Acids, alkalis and bases

Energy changes

GCSE exam revision


Topic tests

Topic 8 test


Topic 5 test


Summer 2


Periodic table

Making salts

The rate and extent of chemical changes

GCSE exam


Year 7 exam

Year 8 exam

Topic 11 test

Topic 6 test

Year 10 exam


Year 7 have six science lessons per cycle and complete work in each science per term. The chemistry component is based on topics 1 to 3 on the Cambridge Complete Chemistry course, covering States of matter, material properties and acids and alkalis. Years 8 and 9 have 2 and 3 lessons respectively per cycle and complete the Cambridge course. 

Years 10 and 11 compete the AQA GCSE course in five lessons per cycle. We follow the Collins course, using their textbooks, experiments and resources.

Practical work is embedded into every topic throughout years 7 to 11. Every laboratory is fully equipped to carry out the complete range of experiments. The GCSE course has eight required practical activities and these are carried out when they are linked to areas of content. In addition many more experiments are carried out to support and consolidate scientific concepts and develop investigative skills. We believe in fostering the skills required for students to develop their inquiring minds.

Years 12 and 13 compete the AQA A-level course in nine lessons per cycle. We follow the Oxford course, using their textbooks, experiments and resources. Additional resources are used widely throughout the course to add depth and breath,

A-level students are required as part of their course to complete the Science Practical Endorsement. This qualification will give students opportunities to use relevant apparatus and techniques to develop and demonstrate specific practical skills. These skills must be assessed through a minimum of 12 identified practical activities within each qualification. To achieve a pass, students must demonstrate that they are competent in all the practical skills listed in the subject content requirements for chemistry.

All students in years 7 to 13 are assessed at three points during the academic year as part of the school’s reporting and assessment policy, with reports issued to parents. Summative assessments in Years 7 to 11 are based on end of topic tests. Students will also participate in many formative assessment tasks throughout their courses. GCSE students have end of year 10 and year 11 mock exams. A-level students have internal year 12 exams and year 13 mock exams.

 The department contributes to extra-curricular activities.  Chemistry Club is available to members of Years 7 & 8.  This provides an opportunity for senior students and Subject Ambassadors to work alongside younger students. The department runs trips and visits and organises and manages the Earth Science Dorset Coast activity for Year 8 during Activities Week. We attend the Science Live! Event in year 11, with talks by five eminent scientists, hopefully inspiring many to consider a career in science in the future. In year 12 we attend Chemistry in action, five lectures on current research and future applications in chemistry.


 By the end of Key Stage 3, students will be able to recognise essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, students should be able to recognise the power of rational explanation and have developed a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. Students should be able to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

 In 2019 76% of students opted to take the triple science route.

By the end of Key Stage 4, students should have the knowledge to enable them to develop curiosity about the natural world, insight into working scientifically, and appreciation of the relevance of science to their everyday lives. They will have developed understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, through different types of scientific enquiry that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them. Students will be able to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry, problem-solving skills and mathematical skills. They will have developed their ability to evaluate claims based on science through critical analysis of the methodology, evidence and conclusions, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

GCSE Chemistry students achieved 75 % grades 7/8/9 in 2019, a 5% increase from 2018. The number of students achieving grade 9 increased from 30 to 47.

By the end of Key Stage 5,

We know our curriculum is effective and has a positive impact in Chemistry as many students, 40 in 2019, take A level Chemistry. A-level students achieved 69 % A*- B in 2019. Several students each year pursue Chemistry-related degrees at university, including Oxford for Chemistry and Natural Sciences at Cambridge. Many students use their Chemistry qualification to pursue a range of disciplines including medicine, dentistry and engineering.

The department provides a range of opportunities for students to develop their interest in the subject outside lesson including being a Subject Ambassador for Chemistry. In this role Sixth Form students help Main School students with revision of topics of difficulty.

The Chemistry department is internally reviewed by the SLT every three years and in 2019:

  • The vast majority of lessons observed during the review were of outstanding quality.
  • Planning of lessons is very effective in the context of the schemes of work at all key stages.
  • Students in all year groups displayed a great enthusiasm for the subject.
  • Importantly in this practical subject, no safety concerns were observed with excellent pupil focus on the tasks given and co-operation in group work.