The King's (The Cathedral) School

Peterborough

CHEMISTRY CURRICULUM STATEMENT

Intent

The Chemistry department helps students fulfil their natural curiosity of the subject; to explain ideas they hear about in everyday life for example, in the news. Studying Chemistry allows students to form opinions about the social, economic and environmental impact of chemical industries, and develop skills in practical techniques, discussion, questioning and logical thinking, preparing them for careers in many subject areas ranging from medicine to journalism.

The science team at King’s aims to build on student’s natural curiosity for the world around them whilst working to equip them with important knowledge and skills needed to progress their studies, with a broad and ambitious curriculum. The team utilises its strong subject knowledge and experiences to enhance learning and by bringing real world careers and situations into the classroom, supporting the students to become potential future scientists of the 21st Century in further education and careers.

We aim to enable students to become confident, resilient scientists who develop a love of learning science and are able to apply scientific knowledge and understanding to both familiar and unfamiliar contexts in the world. They learn how to understand how science fits into society and how to make a positive contribution to their local and wider community. They learn to critically evaluate and refine methodologies, and judge the validity of scientific conclusions that are presented to them in the media as well as critically analysing qualitative and quantitative data to draw their own logical, well-evidenced conclusions.

Implementation

Our Science programme is designed as a spiral curriculum with each year adding another layer of scientific understanding and knowledge which builds on previous work with concepts being interwoven throughout the Year 7-13 course. Students have the opportunity to revisit and revise core concepts throughout the course and lessons are planned to include activities where knowledge and skills are practised, scaffolded and modelled, allowing students the time and space to embed content.

The Year 7 and 8 programme is taught as a combined approach, and develops students’ specialist scientific language and vocabulary whilst allowing them to develop their confidence in the use of both mathematics skills and scientific practices. We provide a challenging curriculum which goes beyond that of the national curriculum for KS3 Science. This not only equips pupils with the knowledge and skills to progress into Year 9 (when they receive teaching separated into the three sciences), but also with the skills and knowledge to understand the world around them. The schemes of learning are designed to be as investigation-based as possible to support curiosity, engagement and knowledge acquisition. Lessons are taught principally as rotating Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics, to ensure students are aware of these three disciplines, but wherever possible links are made between the three to ensure students gain a strong understanding of the interconnectivity of Science.

During Year 9 students are introduced to GSCE-style content, revisiting and building on the previous year’s work with the aim of supporting the transition into GCSEs. The programme covers parts of the National curriculum that overlap with less challenging aspects of the GCSE Combined Science course and Key Stage 3, supporting the transition to Year 10. Lessons are taught separated into Biology, Chemistry and Physics (3 periods of each per fortnight).

Students are guided into the AQA Triple Science route of GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics or AQA Combined Science: Trilogy.  The Combined Science Trilogy course allows students to gain a sound core knowledge of all three Sciences. The course develops practical skills through both required and other practicals, which are common with the Triple GSCE, as well as providing the opportunity for students to demonstrate their mathematical skills. Students taking this route will have a sufficient background to progress to A-Level Sciences should their grades meet entry level requirements.

The Triple Science route also provides a solid foundation for studying A-Level Science subjects.  Subject knowledge is enhanced and developed through the additional concepts studied within this course. Key practicals are embedded throughout so students can develop their investigative skills, alongside using specialist equipment to explore a range of variables and contexts. 

For both routes, the sequencing of the courses taught are arranged so that students revisit golden threads of the subject, building on them each year with new concepts and supporting connections between ideas.

Knowledge acquired whilst studying GCSE chemistry is developed in A-Level Chemistry. One example of this is the idea of electron energy levels which are explored in more detail and links into Year 12 topics of atomic structure, bonding, alkenes and in Year 13, transition metals and benzene. Other themes from GCSE, such as Rates of Reaction, Oil Chemistry and The Periodic Table, are developed in the A-Level topics of Kinetics, Organic Chemistry, and Periodicity. A number of topics develop mathematical skills including graph work and the practical skills assessed for the practical endorsement are developed throughout the whole of Years 12 and 13.

Students are assessed both formatively and summatively throughout Key Stages 3 to 5.  This is undertaken through a range of methods including questioning, practical investigative assignments, homework and regular end of topic assessments, as well as exams at the end of each academic year.

Help is available for students outside of lessons from all teachers.  Science Prefects work as mentors in the department running help clubs and volunteering their time in lessons too. The department also places a high value on providing a range of extra-curricular opportunities for our students to enrich and extend their science education. These include:

Activity

Target Year Group

Frequency

Target Year Group

Astronomy Club

7-13

Weekly

7-13

Science Club

7-9

Weekly

7-8

CanSAT

12

 

12

Faraday Challenge

8

Weekly in Spring Term

8

Physics Senior Challenge

12 & 13

Yearly

8

BAAO Junior Astro Challenge

10 & 11

Yearly

12 & 13

Chemistry Cambridge Competition

12

Yearly

10 & 11

Chemistry Olympiad

13

Yearly

12

Biology Olympiad

13

Yearly

13

Medical Society

12 & 13

Yearly

13

Impact

GCSE Combined Science

Average Points Score

GCSE SPI

2022

5.48

0.88

2019

5.11

0.82

 

GCSE Chemistry

Average Points Score

GCSE SPI

2022

7.56

0.74

2019

7.08

0.68

 

Chemistry A-Level

A-Level Results A*-B %

A-Level Numbers

2022

64.7

68

2019

70.6

68

Destinations

Including Medicine, nearly 60% of students studying A-Level Chemistry go on to study degrees in related subjects such as chemistry, chemical engineering, veterinary science, optometry, pharmacology and biomedical science.

Facilities

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
Miss Kay Henson (KEH): Teacher of Chemistry
Mr Greg Smith (GMS): Teacher of Chemistry
Miss Krystyna Wojtaszek (KW): Chemistry Technician