Curriculum Intent

Chemistry is taught at Holcombe Grammar School across all three Key Stages; at KS3 it is taught as part of the Science curriculum, whilst at KS4 students have the choice of studying Chemistry as either a standalone GCSE or as part of the Combined Science course.

Chemistry is also offered as an A-Level option at KS5. The fundamental approach taken across all three key stages is designed to provide students with a robust, knowledge rich curriculum whilst providing them with a multitude of opportunities to apply and evaluate their understanding. Students are encouraged and supported to take a central role in their learning, utilising the thinking toolkit and with particular emphasis on Reflection, Retrieval and Interleaving of Knowledge.

Key Stage 3

Science is taught with a hands-on approach here at Holcombe Grammar School. The Science curriculum is made up of topics in Biology, Physics and Chemistry. We build upon the students’ experience of Science in primary school and provide fantastic foundations for further learning at GCSE. We strive to spark our students’ curiosity in the world around them so that they can understand the scientific implications that impact on their own lives. We aim to build knowledge, understanding and investigative skills. Students have six lessons of Science per fortnight. Students are assessed on their knowledge during each topic, as well as undergoing constant assessment on how well they apply their scientific knowledge and practical skills.


Year 7

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Matter – Particle ModelMatter – Separating MixturesReactions – Metals and Non-MetalsReactions – Acids and AlkalisReactions – Acids and AlkalisReactions – Acids and Alkalis



Year 8

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
REVIEW Reactions – Chemical Energy and Types of ReactionMatter – Periodic Table and ElementsMatter – Periodic Table and elementsReactions – Chemical Energy and Types of ReactionReactions – Chemical Energy and Types of ReactionReactions – Chemical Energy and Types of Reaction



Year 9

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Review ReactionsMatter – Atomic Structure and the Periodic TableMatter – Atomic Structure and the Periodic TableMatter – Separating Techniques and Chemical AnalysisMatter – Separating Techniques and Chemical AnalysisMatter – Separating Techniques and Chemical Analysis

Key Stage 4

Course Title

Combined Science – two GCSEs

Or Triple Science – three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Examination Board: AQA

Examination and Coursework Details

Each GCSE will have a terminal examination worth 100% of the overall mark.

Course Outline

All students will study for a minimum of two Science GCSEs (Combined Science covers all three Science subjects -Biology, Chemistry and Physics and is worth two GCSEs). In all three subjects the specifications place an emphasis on ‘working scientifically’, teaching science through contemporary issues and communication of scientific ideas. ‘Working scientifically’ involves students looking at how scientific developments progress, the need to use data to support or disprove ideas and why data may not be reliable. The aim is to give the students the ability to analyse complex problems and to decide for themselves what solutions are appropriate using the available data.

The Biology course offers pupils the opportunity to examine how the body responds to the environment, keeping healthy, drugs and their implications, the body’s responses to infectious disease, factors affecting a species distribution and genetic inheritance, endangered species and how humans affect the environment, the effect of enzymes, micro-organisms and internal body systems and control.

The Chemistry course allows pupils to understand atomic structure, structure and bonding, calculations, chemical reactions, electrolysis, energy in reactions, rates of reaction, carbon compounds, the atmosphere and the use of resources.

The Physics course allows pupils to investigate thermal changes, efficiency of energy transfer and loss, electrical devices and circuits, generation of electricity using alternative sources, radiation and its uses and dangers, origins of the universe, how objects speed up or slow down, static electricity, current electricity, turning effects, mirrors and lenses as well as transformers.

Cross-Curricular Links

Students will develop their mathematical skills in practical situations. They will have the opportunity to discuss scientific ideas and controversies and present information using a range of technologies.

Sixth Form and Career Opportunities

The course provides a firm foundation for students who intend to study an A Level science. It develops critical thinking as well as problem solving skills allowing pupils to make informed evaluations of current scientific developments. Providing for jobs in health care, pharmaceuticals and bio-chemistry sectors as well as bio-medical research, engineering and construction.


Year 10

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Combined Topic 10
Using Resources
Potable Water RP
Combined Topic 4
Chemical Changes
Making Salts RP
Electrolysis RP
Combined Topic 4
Chemical Changes
Making Salts RP
Electrolysis RP
Combined Topic 5
Energy Changes
Temperature Changes RP
Combined Topic 6
Rates of Reaction
Rates of Reaction RP
Combined Topic 6
Rates of Reaction
Rates of Reaction RP



Year 11

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Topic 3 – Quantitative Chemistry
Triple Topic 1 – Transition Metals
Triple Topic 2 – Nanoparticles
Triple Topic 3 – Concentration calculations,
Molar Volume, Titration RP, Percentage Yield,
Atom Economy
Triple Topic 5 – Chemical Cells, Fuels Cells
Triple Topic 7 – Alcohols, Carboxylic Acids, Esters, Condensation Polymers
Triple Topic 8 – Ion Tests, Spectroscopy, Ion Tests RP
Triple Topic 10 – Haber Process, NPK Fertilisers
GCSE ExamsGCSE Exams


Years 12 and 13

Chemistry provides the opportunity to develop the manipulative, practical, analytical skills needed to interpret experimental data. It emphasises ability to apply knowledge and make predictions about unknown/new situations and in addition it enables you to understand the world around you, including some of the very processes of life itself.


Year 12

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
AS Physical – Atomic Structure and Amount of SubstanceAS Physical – Amount of Substance and BondingAS Physical – EnergeticsAS Physical – Energetics and KineticsAS Physical – Equilibria and RedoxAs Inorganic – Period 3, Groups 2 and 7
AS Organic – Introduction and AlkanesAS Organic – HaloalkanesAS Organic – Haloalkanes, Alkenes and AlcoholsAS Organic – AnalysisA2 Organic – Isomerism and CarbonylsA2 Organic – Benzene



Year 13

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
A2 Physical – Kinetics and EquilibriaA2 Physical – Acids, Bases and BuffersA2 Physical – Thermodynamics and ElectrochemistryA2 Inorganic – Period 3 OxidesRevisionExams
A2 Organic – Amines, Polymers, Proteins and ChromatographyA2 Organic – Organic Synthesis, NMRA2 Inorganic – Transition MetalsA2 Inorganic – Transition Metals and Aqueous Ions

Online Learning Support


A Level Chemistry is an essential requirement for studying Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine and can lead to a large variety of career options, such as Chemical Engineering, Pharmaceuticals, Forensics, Biochemistry, Accountancy/Finance, Journalism/Publishing and Education. Universities particularly value the logical discipline and transferable skills developed through studying Chemistry and regard it as a facilitating subject for a diverse variety of courses, providing you with the scope to pursue virtually any career path.

British Values

The Chemistry curriculum at Holcombe Grammar School provides students with the opportunities to explore and evaluate not only the physical effects of scientific processes but also the moral and ethical implications. For example, when students study Atmospheric Chemistry they will not only need to consider the underlying process’ that have caused our atmosphere to change, and continue to change, but to also consider the moral, ethical and even political implications of these changes.

Students will also have the opportunity to showcase their skills by competing in the Royal Society of Chemistry International Olympiad, with the possibility of representing United Kingdom on the international stage.