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Dalriada Chemistry Department aims to promote academic excellence and the all-round personal development of every pupil in a caring, happy environment which is sympathetic and responsive to individual needs, aspirations and talents. 


We seek to: 


  • establish and maintain good personal relationships and genuine partnership between pupils, staff, parents and governors in an atmosphere of friendship, trust and mutual respect 

  • encourage pupils’ curiosity about Chemistry 

  •  motivate and enthuse pupils in the study of Chemistry in the classroom and tertiary education 

  • challenge pupils as to how they could make a valuable contribution to the Scientific community 

  • develop the skills of teamwork, communication, numeracy and ICT 

  • encourage individual initiative and independence of thought  

  • assist pupils to recognise the need for discipline, and to develop a self-disciplined and responsible attitude to their studies 

  • encourage a spirit of service in the wider community and promote active respect for the local and global environment 


Science is fun, interesting, captivating, active and inspiring! 


At Key Stage 3 we aim to challenge, enthuse and inspire our pupils to study Science at GCSE, AS/A2 level and beyond. 


In Year 10 pupils are taught Chemistry separately by a subject specialist, where possible, timetabled for 2 periods per week. Our courses embrace the Northern Ireland Revised curriculum in helping pupils to develop their Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities.


Year 10 Chemistry gives an introduction to many of the topics met at GCSE.

  • The Periodic Table

  • Atomic Structure

  • Formula and Equations

  • Acids, Bases and Salts

  • Reactivity of Metals

  • Chemical Change

  • Separating techniques

  • Solubility

A test will be carried out at the end of each unit of work and there is at least one assessed homework per unit.  


Self-assessment is encouraged at the end of each unit.  


Safeguarding the environment... Curing illness... Feeding people... Improving our daily lives... Chemistry impacts on many aspects of our society. GCSE Chemistry allows students to gain an understanding of the contribution to society and the need for a culture of sustainable development through the study of elements and the compounds they form.

Students follow the CCEA Revised GCSE Chemistry specification (from September 2017). This course is made up of three units.

Unit 1 Structures, Trends, Chemical Reactions, Quantitative Chemistry and Analysis (35%): involves study of atomic structure, structure and bonding in traditional, new and nano materials, patterns in the Periodic Table, reactions of acids including salt preparation, solubility and chemical analysis.

Unit 2 Further chemical reactions, Rates and Equilibrium, Calculations and Organic chemistry (40%): involves study of the Reactivity Series of Metals, redox, rates of reaction, energy changes in chemical reactions and gas chemistry. Students are introduced to organic chemistry, equilibrium in chemical reactions and electrochemistry and carry out increasingly complex calculations.

Unit 3 Practical Skills (25%): Booklet A – Two pre-release practicals carried out between January and May of Year 12 in a 2 hour practical session and Booklet B (1 hour) – external written examination set in a practical context.

A qualification in chemistry is highly valued and leads to a wide variety of careers. If you are undecided, more options are kept open by studying chemistry. When there is no specific A-level requirement for a university course, then chemistry is a very good choice as a numerate central science. It develops many skills e.g. critical thinking, powers of observation, practical skills, modelling, enquiry and problem solving.

Possible career options

The study of chemistry leads to a wide range of careers, for example:

Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary science, Optometry, Agriculture, Microbiology, Botany, Horticulture, Zoology, Marine Biology, Nursing, Environmental Health, Nutrition, Material and Polymer Science, Technology, Materials Engineering, Engineering (other fields), Teaching etc.


Sources of further information

There are many sources of information but here are just a few to get you started:

Further information on this specification can be found at:  

A wide range of resources to support learning beyond the GCSE classroom can be found on the relevant Google Classroom.

All pupils at Key Stage 4 will undertake end of unit tests.  The % score will be recorded and used to generate a Progress Chart for each individual pupil to be used at Parent’s meetings.  The course is examined by terminal exams in June of Year 12. Assessment Manager Module on SIMS will be used to assist with monitoring and tracking. 


It is desirable that students taking Chemistry at AS or A level should have achieved at least grade B in GCSE Chemistry or BB in Double Award Science. Double Award students must be able to provide evidence of a high competence in units C1 and C2 in order to meet the demands of the AS course.

Students follow the CCEA Revised GCE (A-Level) Chemistry specification (from September 2016), in line with the NI Education Minister’s policy that practical work must contribute to the A-Level grade of a Science.

CCEA GCE Chemistry is comprised of two levels: AS and A2. The AS can be taken as a ‘stand-alone’ qualification without progression to A2. However, to obtain the Advanced GCE qualification, students must complete both the AS and A2 levels. It is advantageous to be a competent mathematician to assist with the calculations, which are an important aspect of the Physical Chemistry topics.

The specification has a modular structure and students are required to study three modules at each level. The modules are listed below and are all compulsory:


AS 1:
Basic Concepts in Physical and Inorganic Chemistry

  • Formulae, equations and amounts of a substance

  • Atomic structure

  • Bonding and structure

  • Shapes of molecules and ions

  • Intermolecular forces

  • Redox

  • Halogens (fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine)

  • Acid-Base Titrations

  • Qualitative analysis

AS 3:
Practical Assessment

  • Content of AS 1 and AS 2

AS 2:
Further Physical and Inorganic Chemistry and Introduction to
Organic Chemistry

  • Formulae and amounts of a substance

  • Nomenclature and isomerism in organic compounds

  • Hydrocarbons – alkanes

  • Hydrocarbons – alkenes

  • Halogenoalkanes

  • Alcohols

  • Infra-red spectroscopy

  • Energetics

  • Kinetics

  • Equilibrium

  • Group II elements and their compounds (Mg to Ba)


A2 1:
Periodic Trends and Further Organic, Physical and Inorganic Chemistry

  • Lattice enthalpy

  • Enthalpy, entropy and free energy

  • Rates of reaction

  • Equilibrium (including principles from Unit 2)

  • Acid-base equilibria

  • Isomerism (incorporates examples from Unit 2)

  • Aldehydes and ketones

  • Carboxylic acids

  • Derivatives of carboxylic acids

  • Aromatic Chemistry

AS 3:
Practical Assessment

  • Content of all modules

A2 2:
Analytical, Transition Metals, Electrochemistry and Further Organic Chemistry

  • Mass spectrometry

  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

  • Volumetric analysis

  • Chromatography

  • Transition metals: General properties, Complexes and Oxidation states

  • Electrode potentials

  • Amines

  • Amides

  • Amino acids

  • Polymer chemistry

  • Chemistry in Medicine

In GCE Chemistry, students are assessed against three assessment objectives:

AO1: Knowledge and Understanding of Chemistry and How Chemistry Works

Students must be able to:

  • recognise, recall and show understanding of scientific knowledge; and

  • select, organise and communicate relevant information in a variety of forms.

AO2: Application of Knowledge and Understanding of Chemistry and of How Chemistry Works

Students must be able to:

  • analyse and evaluate scientific knowledge and processes;

  • apply scientific knowledge and processes to unfamiliar situations including those related to issues; and

  • assess the validity, reliability and credibility of scientific information.

AO3: How Chemistry Works

Students must be able to:

  • demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skillful practical techniques and processes, selecting appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods;

  • make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations and measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy; and

  • analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others’ experimental and investigative activities in various ways.


Students must complete six examinations: three at AS and three at A2. These are all timetabled during the Summer series and are outlined in the table below:


Further information on this specification can be found at:

A wide range of resources to support learning beyond the AS / A2 classroom can be found on the relevant Google Classroom.

All pupils at Key Stage 5 will undertake end of unit tests.  The % score will be recorded and used to generate a Progress Chart for each individual pupil to be used at Parent’s meetings. Assessment Manager Module on SIMS will be used to assist with monitoring and tracking.  Module exams are undertaken in May / June for AS and A2.


Practical Skills at AS and A2 level are developed throughout the course, but not assessed during class. They are assessed by a terminal Practical Exam and Practical Theory Exam at the end of Year 13 and Year 14.


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