Chemistry at St. Mary’s is taught by teachers who are approachable, have a wealth of experience, and a genuine interest and enthusiasm for the subject; they motivate every student to achieve, if not exceed, their potential.

The aim of the department is to engage and enthuse students about the wonders of Chemistry; we encourage students to learn not only facts but about the real world context of the subject helping pupils gain a full appreciation of the scientific method.

Throughout all key stages we endeavour to increase practical skills, numeracy, problem-solving ability and the capacity for independent study, ultimately encouraging students to become autonomous learners.

Students are given many opportunities to enhance their knowledge outside the classroom from Science Club, Crest Awards to Nuffield Research placements.

Lower School

At Key Stage 3 we follow the national curriculum framework using the Collins scheme of work.

At this stage we focus on a kinesthetic approach – learning through doing; with emphasis placed on introducing students to the key concepts of Chemistry whilst developing good practical skills.

In Year 9 we also introduce students to GCSE topics.


At Key Stage 4, we follow the AQA syllabus, with students having the option to study Separate Sciences or Dual Award science.

We build upon prior knowledge and enhance students problem solving ability and practical skills to ensure that they are fully equipped to succeed at GCSE.

The syllabus gives students the opportunity to develop their understanding of:

  • the nature of substances and how they react together
  • how Chemistry is used in business and industry
  • how our use of raw materials in fuels and manufacturing can affect the global and local environment.

How Science Works is integrated throughout the course.

A Level

In Sixth Form we follow the AQA A Level Chemistry Syllabus.

Chemistry is not only a fascinating A Level subject; it’s an essential A Level qualification required for many different careers, from Nanotechnology to Medicine.

The topics studied for A Level Chemistry show just how much chemistry is relevant to modern life. Whether it is learning about how a new drug is designed, or how biofuels may be one answer to the diminishing oil reserves, or even the reason why ice floats.

The A Level course is underpinned by recognition of How Science Works, to show chemists as innovators, designing solutions to problems that affect modern life. The course goes into much more detail than GCSE with all three branches of Chemistry, physical, organic and inorganic, studied in depth.

A Level Chemistry is one of the most difficult A Level subjects, but for those prepared to work hard it is a very rewarding subject that provides a pathway to many different career choices.

Chemistry continues to be a popular option at A Level with excellent results achieved each year.