Chemistry is everywhere – medicines, the environment and new smart materials are just three examples. Increasingly, an understanding of chemical principles is becoming vital to explain and improve the world we live in. Our aim is to make you a confident citizen of a technological world, to enable you to recognise the usefulness of the scientific method and for you to be prepared for further study. In addition, and most importantly, we want you to enjoy chemistry!

The Chemistry department offers you all the tools you will need to understand Chemistry. A Level Chemistry is taught in small groups, providing each student with individual attention; students will regularly receive individual feedback from teachers and will be provided with all the help and support they may need. Students will study Chemistry in a range of different contexts, conveying the excitement of contemporary chemistry. Ideas are introduced in a spiral way with topics introduced in an early part of the course reinforced later. There is a particular emphasis on an investigational and problem–solving approach to practical work. 

Course content

Students will study the OCR Chemistry B (Salters) syllabus:

Year 12

  • Elements of life – A study of elements and compounds in the universe, the human body and in salt deposits.
  • Developing fuels – A study of fuels, what they consist of, how energy involved in their combustion is measured and the contributions that chemists make to the development of better fuels.  
  • Elements from the sea – A study of the extraction of halogens from minerals in the sea, together with a study of the properties and uses of these elements and their compounds.
  • The ozone story – A study of important processes occurring in the ozone layer of the atmosphere.
  • What’s in a medicine? – A study of medicines such as aspirin, leading to much functional group chemistry and methods of analysis. 

Year 13

  • The chemical industry – A study of how chemists use industrial processes to benefit mankind.
  • Polymers and life – A study of condensation polymers, proteins and enzymes, DNA and its use in synthesising proteins.
  • Oceans – A study of the role of the oceans in dissolving substances and maintaining pH.
  • Developing metals – A study of the reactions and properties of the transition metals.
  • Colour by design – A study of dyes and dyeing and the use of chemistry to provide colour to order.


This A Level is assessed by two 2 hour 15 minute exams and a further 1 hour 30 minute exam.

During the two years of the course you will carry out a large amount of practical work. During these experiments you will be assessed on your ability to carry out various tasks with the required level of skill. This will be reported separately to your A Level grade as a practical endorsement (which is graded as pass or fail).

Course requirements

Students should have a good understanding of Science at GCSE and be willing to apply their knowledge to real world situations.

A grade 6 in Chemistry and a grade 6 in either Physics or Biology (or grade 6) at GCSE are vital. A grade 6 in Mathematics at GCSE is highly recommended.

Why study Chemistry A Level?

Chemistry at A Level is extremely interesting, and is a vital foundation for many courses such as from medicine and pharmacy. Chemistry is also highly thought of by subjects such as Law, where the use of precise definitions and accurate techniques taught in chemistry are vital. One of the most challenging (and rapidly growing) areas of science is that of our environment, and a firm understanding of the principles of chemistry will be necessary if we are to work on the problems posed by human impact on this environment.

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