Chemistry is a fascinating subject, from the fundamental interaction between subatomic particles in atoms, to the real-world application of catalysts in industry or drug design. Chemistry A Level results at Horsforth School are consistently above the national average (46% A*-A). It is one of the most popular A Level courses at our Sixth Form, with 3 classes running per year.

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Entry requirements

What you learn

Our Chemistry department, led by Dr Hogg, aims to engage students with stretching and challenging lessons that involve a mixture of theory and regular experimental work. The focus is on student learning and enjoyment, as well as academic progress and practical ability.  Students feel challenged and supported and believe that staff consistently inspire them to push themselves to the best of their ability.

The Chemistry department is passionate about the importance of extracurricular enhancements as a way to enrich the academic experience. Each year we enter students for the National Year 13 RSC Chemistry Olympiads and in 2019 were proud to see one of our students make it through round 2 and to the UK training camp for the International Olympiad in July 2019. We also enter students for the Year 12 Cambridge Lower Sixth Challenge annually, and use practical competitions to raise engagement, such RSC Young Analysts competition for Year 12. We run trips, including KS5 Science in Action and facilitate in-school events such as RSC Spectroscopy in a Suitcase, where students make aspirin or paracetamol and check they purity of their product.

The Course Structure

The OCR Chemistry A specification covers:

Year 12 Modules

Foundations in chemistry:
Atoms, compounds, molecules, equations and bonding.

Periodic table and energy:
Group 2 and 7, enthalpy changes and reaction rates.

Core organic chemistry:
Hydrocarbons, alcohols and haloalkanes, including organic synthesis and analytical techniques (IR and MS).

Method of Assessment:

Paper 1 “Breadth in Chemistry” (50%) 1hr 30min.

Paper 2 “Depth in Chemistry” (50%) 1hr 30min.

Year 13 Modules

Physical chemistry and transition elements:
Reaction rates and equilibrium, pH and buffers, enthalpy, entropy and free energy, redox and electrode potentials and transition elements.

Organic chemistry and analysis: 
Aromatic compounds, carbonyl compounds, carboxylic acids and esters, nitrogen compounds, polymers, organic synthesis, chromatography and spectroscopy (NMR).

Method of Assessment:

(37%) Paper 1 “Periodic Table, Elements and Physical Chemistry” 2hr 15min.

(37%) Paper 2 “Synthesis and Analytical Techniques” 2hr 15min.

(26%) Paper 3 “Unified Chemistry” 1hr 30min.

CPAC “Practical Endorsement” (Practical skills internally assessed).

Please note – if you are opting to study Chemistry and not opting to study Mathematics then we recommend taking Level 3 Core Maths as your 4th option (rather than EPQ or work experience).

Potential Careers

  • Biomedical Scientist
  • Chemist
  • Doctor
  • Economist
  • Engineer
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Forensics Scientist
  • Lawyer
  • Pharmacologist
  • Vet

 Entry Requirements

Subject Qualification (Level 3) Required GCSE Grades
(in addition to Sixth Form entry requirements)
Additional Information
Chemistry A Level 6+ Chemistry or 7+ Double Science and 6+ Mathematics  

What You Learn

Our Learning Journeys have been created to give you a flavour for the types of topics students study in each year at our school. They show what will be covered throughout the year and during each half-term, but please note there is some flexibility to what is taught when. We hope you find them helpful.