Chemistry offers students the opportunity to increase their understanding of the physical world around them and gain insight into the importance of this vital science in our everyday lives.

As the bridge between Biology and Physics it gives students the ability to understand ‘how things work’ in a very practical and useful manner. A qualification in Chemistry is highly respected owing to the wide variety of skills that are developed in its study, which include logical reasoning, problem solving, numeracy and literacy.

Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 | core subject

From Year 7, Chemistry, along with the other sciences, is taught as a separate subject to all pupils. In Years 7 and 8 pupils learn the foundations of the subject, from atomic theory, types of chemical reaction, environmental chemistry, and key terminology and concepts. They also gain experience of the scientific method – developing and testing theories, making observations, designing investigations and general Good Lab Practice. This is delivered with our own bespoke teaching syllabus which has a particular emphasis on practical work, during which pupils gain first-hand experience of the chemistry which makes up the world around them.

In Year 9 preparation for IGCSE begins. This takes some of the material covered in Years 7 and 8 and adds depth and detail. The main aim is to understand the two topics which underpin the entire subject: atomic structure and bonding. These are taught as discrete topics and also through the media of others including reactions of acids and making salts, and crude oil, fuels and plastics. Again, there is a strong emphasis on practical work and observing the phenomena in question.

Year 10 and 11, IGCSE | option subject

Although Chemistry is an option subject at IGCSE, all pupils are strongly encouraged to continue their study of at least two of the three sciences. Pupils continue the IGCSE course they began in Year 9, using the topics of atomic structure and bonding to explain various other aspects of the subject.

In studying IGCSE Chemistry, pupils develop an appreciation for the structure of different chemical elements and how these are combined to form more complex compounds. Pupils learn how different elements are categorised and the properties of elements and compounds that make them best suited in the manufacture of everyday products. Further, it gives pupils a deeper understanding of, and the ability to describe and explain, the world around them. Experimental work is key to pupils’ understanding of the concepts covered as they explore how and why environmental factors influence the outcome of chemical reactions.

– There are no specific academic requirements to study IGCSE Chemistry. Not only is the IGCSE material covered during Year 9 examinable at the end of Year 11, it is also the basis for the rest of the course and it is therefore essential that pupils spend time consolidating this work before commencing Chemistry IGCSE in Year 10. The IGCSE syllabus has also a renewed focus on mathematical skills and it is important that pupils studying the subject are proficient in operations such as basic arithmetic and algebra.

– Edexcel IGCSE 4CH1 Chemistry

Sixth Form, A-Level | option subject

The A-Level Chemistry course offers a sound foundation in the relevant practical and analytical skills, and covers the three main topic areas: organic, inorganic and physical Chemistry. With its blend of theoretical, numerical and practical skills, its encouragement of logical thinking, academic rigour and the precise use of terminology, A-Level Chemistry is excellent training for many fields. Most of the A-level topics take (I)GCSE knowledge and understanding as their starting points, and develop their scientific models to better explain the world around us.

– Grade 7 at (I)GCSE Chemistry. Whilst not a requirement, a grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics is recommended.

– AQA A-Level 7405 Chemistry

John Lyon Success

– 50% of A-Level Students gained A*-B grades.
– 45% of IGCSE pupils were awarded a 9 or 8 grade.
– Arjun Cheema (OL2019) left John Lyon to read Chemistry at Wadham College, Oxford.

Outside the Classroom

John Lyon’s programme of extra-curricular activities includes a number of options directly related to or complementary to Chemistry, such as Biochemistry Journal Club, Biomedical Club, Dexterity Club and Kitchen Science. Throughout the year there are also numerous trips, lectures and competitions to take part in.

Beyond School

Chemistry is excellent training for many fields scientific or otherwise. Former pupils have gone on to a variety of successful careers in industry and commerce, healthcare, law, accountancy and the academic world. It is an essential subject for degree courses in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Pharmacology. It is also a requirement for Medicine and Dentistry and for other courses in the life sciences. A-Level Chemistry is a good supporting subject for other areas in the physical sciences and engineering, and can contribute to the understanding of both A-Level Physics and Biology.