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Devonport High School for Girls

Head of Department

Mr M Morley, BA (Hons), MSc, PGCE

Statement of Intent 

The science curriculum at DHSG is designed to support our learners in their development to become scientifically literate citizens of the 21st century. We aim to engage their curiosity; to help them learn how to ask the right questions about the world around them and the society we live in. We will support them in developing the skills and knowledge required to investigate their questions and then to interpret and critically evaluated the answers they find. We achieve this through the study of the three traditional scientific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, all of which are underpinned by practical principles and investigation and will include learning about how scientists work. 

We ensure that students have a firm scientific knowledge and skill base to progress with confidence through the Key Stages and finally progress into the wider world with the scientific tools required to pursue their individually chosen further study and future career pathways. We will teach our students how to use mathematics in science and not assume the transference of maths skills whilst ensuring our curriculum is assessable to all. 

Chemistry is the branch of science where learners explore and gain understanding: 

  • of the composition, behaviour, and properties of matter; 
  • of the origins and development of the Earth and its atmosphere; 
  • of the role of chemists in and the use and development of existing materials, and design of new materials and their impacts on society, the economy, and the environment. 

This is achieved at each Key Stage: 

  • Lower years: Adherence to the National Curriculum for Science (Chemistry); 
  • Middle years: AQA GSCE Chemistry or AQA Combined Sciences Trilogy (Chemistry); 
  • Upper years: OCR Chemistry A.

A Level Course Outline

To ensure that the learning is enjoyable and enhances the candidates’ enthusiasm for Chemistry, the AS and A level specifications have been tailored to follow on from GCSE Chemistry or Triple Science and will build on knowledge, understanding and skills to provide a pathway to further study.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

Chemistry is a very versatile qualification that is an essential entry requirement for courses such as Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Forensic Science, Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering.

Course Content

Examination Board


Both the AS and the A Level are divided into separate taught modules, four for AS and all six for A level. Leading to two examinations for AS and three for A level. In addition there will be a separate endorsement of practical skills for A level Chemistry.   OCR website

Chemistry A - H032, H432

AS Level

Unit 1

Development of practical skills in Chemistry


Unit 2

Foundations in Chemistry


Unit 3

Periodic table and energy


Unit 4

Core organic Chemistry

A Level

Unit 5

Physical Chemistry and transition elements


Unit 6

Organic Chemistry and analysis

Practical Endorsement


Accreditation of Practical Skills

Curriculum Programmes of Study 


Cycle Content

Year 12

Cycle 1

   Specification content:

   2.1.1 Atomic structure and isotopes
   2.1.2 Compounds, formulae and equations
   2.1.3 Amount of substance
   2.1.4 Acids
   2.2.1 Electron structure
   3.1.1 Periodicity
   2.2.2 Bonding and structure
   4.1.1 Basic concepts of organic chemistry
   4.1.2 Alkanes

   Required Practical work:

   1.1 Determination of the composition of copper (II) carbonate basic
   1.3 Determination of the formula of magnesium oxide
   2.1 Determination of the concentration of hydrochloric acid
   2.3 Identification of an unknown carbonate

Cycle 2

   Specification content:

   2.2.2 Bonding and structure (continued)
   3.2.1 Enthalpy changes
   2.1.5 Redox
   3.1.2 Group 2
   3.1.3 The halogens
   3.1.4 Qualitative analysis
   4.1.3 Alkenes
   4.2.1 Alcohols
   4.2.2 Haloalkanes

   Required Practical work:

   3.1 Determination of enthalpy of neutralisation
   3.3 Determination of enthalpy of combustion
   4.1 Identifying unknowns 1
   4.3 Identifying unknowns 3

Cycle 3

   Specification content:
   3.2.2 Reaction rates
   3.23 Chemical equilibrium
   4.2.3 Organic synthesis
   4.2.4 Analytical techniques
   5.1.1 How fast
   6.1.1 Aromatic compounds

   Required practical work:

   5.1 Synthesis of a haloalkane
   5.3 Oxidation of ethanol
   7.1 Identifying organic unknowns 1
   9.3 Rate of reaction between magnesium and hydrochloric acid
   10.1 Rates – iodine clock
   10.2 Rates – thiosulfate and acid
   10.3 Rates – activation energy

Year 13


Cycle 1

   Specification content:

   5.1.1 How fast (continued)
   5.1.2 How far
   5.1.3 Acids, bases and buffers
   5.2.1 Lattice enthalpy
   5.2.3 Enthalpy and entropy
   6.1.2 Carbonyl compounds
   6.1.3 Carboxylic acids and esters

   Required Practical work

   7.2 Identifying organic unknowns 2
   11.2 Titration curves
   12.1 Investigating iron tablet

Cycle 2

   Specification content:

   5.2.3 Redox and electrode potentials
   5.3.1 Transition elements
   5.3.2 Qualitative analysis (with Transition elements)
   6.2.1 Amines
   6.2.2 Amino acids
   6.2.3 Polyesters and polyamides
   6.2.4 Carbon-carbon bond formation
   6.2.5 Organic synthesis
   6.3.1 Chromatography and qualitative analysis

   Required practical work:

   6.3 Preparation of methyl-3-notrobenzoate
   8.2 Electrochemical cells 2

Cycle 3

   5.3.1 Transition elements (continued)
   6.3.2 Spectroscopy
   Examination Preparation