The King's (The Cathedral) School


Chemistry is fundamental to everyday life. It is being carried out by everyone, everyday; the use of oxygen in respiration, baking bread, washing clothes. It is needed to manufacture the pans you cook in, the water you drink and the medicines taken. The diversity of the subject enables students to continue further studies in many areas from chemical engineering to public health.

‘Chemists are the source of innovation for the materials of everyday life and the manufacture of those which don’t yet exist’

Whether students wish to progress to a career in a Chemistry related field or just to develop their skills and knowledge, The King’s (The Cathedral) School Chemistry department offers something for everyone.

Through a variety of activities students are enabled to:

  • Understand the importance of Chemistry in everyday life
  • Form opinions about the social, economic and environmental impact of Chemical Industries
  • Develop skills in practical techniques, discussion, questioning and logical thinking
  • Apply knowledge learnt in a variety of contexts

Staff are committed to making lessons in Chemistry as relevant, fun and thought provoking as possible and so topical issues are included regularly, so that they may understand Chemistry in the news, for example.

Many students have been inspired to continue with science studies further and have progressed to study a wide range of university disciplines, including medicine, dentistry, dietetics, chemical engineering, veterinary medicine, chemistry, and many more.


In Years 7 and 8 Chemistry is taught as part of a balanced KS3 Science curriculum alongside Physics and Biology.

The Chemistry topics covered at KS3 are as follows:

Year 7

Acids and Bases

Year 8

Elements, Compounds and Fuels

KS3 includes both formative and summative assessments for each topic. Homework is set once every two weeks and should take not more than one hour.

KS3 Science aims to develop the scientific skills our students require to embark upon their KS4 studies.


AQA GCSE Chemistry or AQA Combined Science Trilogy

In Years 9, 10 and 11, students study KS4 Science. Science teachers will decide whether a student completes a Combined Science course or a Separate Science course. This decision is based upon work completed in KS3 and Year 9 Science lessons. Both courses are assessed solely in examinations, but both require that students complete a set of ‘Required Practicals’ during the course.

Combined Science

In this course, students study Biology, Chemistry and Physics. They are examined on all 3 of these disciplines and then awarded 2 GCSE grades.

Topics covered are:

Year 9

The Periodic Table and Atomic Structure
Acids, Metals, Bases and Salts
Life Cycle Assessment of Resources
Rates of Reaction

Year 10

Structure and Bonding
Oil Chemistry
Energy in Reactions
Trends and Patterns

Year 11

Analytical Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Reactivity and Extraction of Metals

Separate Science: Chemistry (AQA 8462)

In this course, students study all of the topics listed above but more detail is required for some of them. At the end of the course, they are examined and awarded a GCSE grade for Chemistry.


In Years 12 and 13 students follow the AQA Chemistry (7405). All units in the course are compulsory.

The course is split into three areas: Organic, Physical, and Inorganic, and all strands are taught throughout both Years 12 and 13.

Year 12

  • Atomic Structure
  • Amount of Substance
  • Bonding
  • Energetics
  • Kinetics
  • Chemical Equilibria, Le Chatelier’s Principle and Kc
  • Oxidation, Reduction and Redox Equations
  • Rate Equations
  • Periodicity
  • Group 2, the Alkaline Earth Metals
  • Group 7 (17), the Halogens
  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry
  • Alkanes
  • Halogenoalkanes
  • Alkenes
  • Alcohols
  • Organic Analysis
  • Aromatic Chemistry

Year 13

  • Thermodynamics
  • Equilibrium Constant Kp for Homogeneous Systems
  • Electrode Potentials and Electrochemical Cells
  • Acids and Bases
  • Properties of Period 3 Elements and their Oxides
  • Transition Metals
  • Reactions of Ions in Aqueous Solution
  • Optical Isomerism
  • Aldehydes and Ketones
  • Carboxylic Acids and Derivatives
  • Amines
  • Polymers
  • Amino Acids, Proteins and DNA
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Chromatography

Students studying an A-Level in Chemistry will also cover all the material needed for the ‘Practical Endorsement’ which is awarded to students who demonstrate that they are competent practical Chemists.

The topics covered at KS5 give numerous opportunities for students to

  • Gain hands-on practical skills and data analysis skills
  • Appreciate how science works and its relevance beyond the laboratory
  • Develop an enthusiasm for Chemistry
  • Demonstrate a synoptic understanding
  • Study Chemistry in a contemporary context

If students are interested in going onto a Chemistry-related degree course or career, staff are always available for advice and discussion. KS5 students play an important role within the department, acting as role models for younger students and working as prefects who fulfil a range of roles including mentoring of Year 11 students.


The department is supported by a well qualified technician and is well resourced so that many lessons have a practical basis.

At KS5 students are able to develop their Organic Synthesis skills by making aspirin, and monitoring rates of reaction using a variety of data logging equipment including colorimeters.

Regular Events

Students in Year 13 participate in the Chemistry Olympiad
Students in Years 12 & 13 may have the opportunity to visit Topical Lectures

Department Staff

Miss Deborah Benson (DB): Head of Chemistry Department
Mr Greg Smith (GMS): Teacher of Chemistry
Miss Kay Henson (KEH): Teacher of Chemistry
Miss Krystyna Wojtaszek (KW): Chemistry Technician