Our aim in the chemistry department of Queen Anne’s School is to encourage girls to become independent learners through consideration of the results they obtain from practical activities and to ensure they have all the skills, both practical and theoretical, to ensure a smooth progression from L4 to A Level.

Experiments are enjoyable and spark the students’ interest in this subject. Last December, our lower school students expressed their creativity as they related chemical theory to real-life applications. The excitement was palpable as the students made bath bombs and fizzed, coloured and perfumed their way into the cosmetics industry!

We support and empower all our girls ensuring that they are stretched and challenged.

Girls are encouraged to adopt a ‘can do’ approach and to aim for the best grade possible. Last year, our L6 students represented Queen Anne’s in the regional heat of the National Schools’ Analyst Competition run by the Royal Society of Chemistry at the University of Reading. They spent the day in the university’s laboratories studying analgesics and analysing them using colorimetry.

The department is always a happy and upbeat place full of fun and laughter, which helps staff to be enthused during their lessons and is reflected in the girls’ attitude to the subject. Our team of support technicians are also an essential part of our success.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Learning should not solely be about achieving curriculum aims. We try to take as many students as possible to outside lectures, fun days and competitions, which help to stimulate their interest in the subject.

Lower School Curriculum


  • Encourage students to become independent learners through consideration of the results they obtain from practical activities
  • Ensure they have all the skills, both practical and theoretical, to ensure a smooth progression to the GCSE course
  • Experiments are to be enjoyable and spark the students’ interest in this subject


The topics covered are based on the AQA Key Stage 3 Curriculum but include more content to stretch and extend the students' learning. Throughout KS3, there is an emphasis placed on scientific enquiry processes, with an increasing demand placed on the students with regard to their data collection and its subsequent analysis and evaluation. Technology is used to collect and analyse data, research current data which is very important as scientific models evolve, running simulations for experiments which cannot be done safely or practically, and preparing presentations amongst a host of other uses.

L4 (Year 7)

Students acquire knowledge of Practical skills and safety: students learn how to handle 
equipment and chemicals safely through interesting practical work. Separating mixtures: pure 
substances and mixtures, including solutions, solubility, and separation techniques.

Students will learn about the Particle Model: properties and behaviour of solids, liquids and gases, density, changes of state, including the difference between evaporation, boiling and sublimation, diffusion and gas pressure: the factors affecting the diffusion of particles, as well as pressure in gases and Acids and alkalis: including indicators and pH, weak and strong acids, neutralisation, and making salts.

4s (Year 8)

Areas covered include Elements: atoms, compounds, chemical formulae and polymers, The Periodic Table: an introduction to the Periodic Table with a focus on elements in Group 1, Group 7, and Group 0, Types of chemical reactions: including what happens to the atoms in chemical reactions, combustion, thermal decomposition, and the conservation of mass, Chemical energy: exothermic and endothermic reactions, an introduction to energy level diagrams and bond energies, Climate: global warming, the carbon cycle, and climate change, and Earth’s resources: and touching on extracting metals and recycling.

U4 (Year 9)

Acids and bases, salts and solubility: indicators, types of acids, bases and neutralisation - ways of making salts and their solubility are studied as are Metals, oxidation and reduction: in this unit students find out about metal extraction, their reactions and how to decide if oxidation or reduction has occurred.

We will commence the GCSE specification in the second half of the U4 year with the following two areas which go beyond that required at KS3. Atomic structure: types of atomic particles, isotopes and ionic bonding are studied and Valency and balancing equations: students learn to write compound formulae and write and balance symbol equations

Middle School Curriculum

Chemistry is the study of matter and energy and how they interact under different conditions and in a variety of settings. It is essential for meeting our basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, health, energy, and clean air, water, and soil. Chemical technologies enrich our quality of life in numerous ways by providing new solutions to problems in health, materials, and energy usage. Thus, studying chemistry is useful in preparing us for the real world.

There are plenty of opportunities for students to stretch and challenge themselves through competitions, extension work, and co-curricular activities to name a few. Technology is an important part of the world today and students are encouraged to use digital devices where appropriate and to explore how technology can deepen their understanding and further their interests in chemistry.

This course has an emphasis on ‘scientific literacy’ as well as scientific content. In addition to studying a body of scientific knowledge, importance is attached to scientific skills and an understanding of how science works in the world at large as well as in the laboratory.

The topics covered are:

  • Atomic structure and the periodic table
  • Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
  • Quantitative chemistry
  • Chemical changes
  • Energy changes
  • The rate and extent of chemical change
  • Organic chemistry
  • Chemical analysis
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere
  • Using resources


There are two written papers, each worth 50% of the GCSE. The papers are offered at both Higher tier and Foundation tier, but both papers must be taken at the same tier. We expect that the students will be entered for Higher tier, which assesses grades of 9 to 4.

There is no formally assessed practical coursework.

Students have to complete eight compulsory practical activities. Knowledge and understanding of these experiments and general practical work will form at least 15% of the marks in the written papers.

Paper 1 – 1hr 45 minutes - Atomic structure and the periodic table; Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter; Quantitative chemistry, Chemical changes; and Energy changes.

Paper 2 – 1hr 45 minutes - The rate and extent of chemical change; Organic chemistry; Chemical analysis, Chemistry of the atmosphere; and Using resources.

Sixth Form Curriculum

A Level Chemistry 

Chemistry is defined as the science that systematically studies the composition, properties, and activity of organic and inorganic substances and various elementary forms of matter along with chemical properties, reactions, and other phenomena. It is considered the central science because it dips into the other science subjects. This course has a content led approach, which provides a sound foundation for future study of the sciences. 


To give students a thorough understanding of the three main branches of chemistry - organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. Students will also be taught how to carry out experiments safely and to design their own experiments.

Syllabus -OCR A H432

There are six modules of study for this A Level:

  • Development of practical skills in chemistry
  • Foundations in chemistry
  • Periodic table and energy
  • Core organic chemistry
  • Physical chemistry and transition elements
  • Organic chemistry and analysis


Students are required to keep a record of twelve compulsory experiments which lead to the practical endorsement. The practical endorsement is graded as pass/fail and does not contribute to the overall grade.
Practical skills and knowledge are formally assessed in the written examinations, which are as follows:

  • Paper 1 - Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry (37% of final grade)
  • Paper 2 - Synthesis and analytical techniques (37% of final grade)
  • Paper 3 - Unified chemistry (26% of final grade)
Potential Degree Courses and Career Choices
PhysiotherapyVeterinary Science
NutritionMaterials Science
Chemical Engineering

Chemistry is also readily accepted as an A-Level for entry to non-science degrees such as Law and Mathematics.

Academic Stretch

Chemistry is often referred to as the central science as it is involved in a wide variety of scientific fields and can lead you on to study medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, pharmacology, physiology, physiotherapy, materials science, food science, chemical engineering, and, of course, chemistry itself. Chemistry will also further your analytical and logical thinking skills which will help in many other non-science areas such as law and economics.

The extension opportunities listed below are in addition to those offered in class. All year groups can access extension opportunities via their Kerboodle account.

 Stretch and Challenge Websites

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