Our lives are transformed by discoveries made in chemistry. From polymers such as nylon and Teflon, to penicillin and ibuprofen, they all contribute to maintaining our standard of life.

Chemistry aims to explain the properties of substances in terms of the particles they are made of. You will learn fundamental theory, including ideas about the structure of atoms. Your learning will also be supported by exciting laboratory work. You will learn problem solving, teamwork, independent thinking and become an effective communicator. If you want to know more about the earth’s resources, and about life itself, Chemistry will appeal to you.


Year 9 and IGCSE

Chemistry is taught exclusively in well-equipped specialist laboratories. This allows continued emphasis on the practical nature of the subject, through the medium of class practical work. We follow the Edexcel IGCSE Chemistry course (International GCSE) and girls can choose either the Triple Award or Double Award route. Studies for the IGCSE begin in Year 9 to give the pupils a firm foundation for the remaining Key Stage 4 years. The course develops an increasingly sophisticated theoretical understanding of the subject, while continuing to emphasise its practical basis and its vital contribution to contemporary society. The specification for the IGCSE Chemistry course can be found at

The girls enjoy the rigorous nature of the programme, which is recognised as an excellent foundation for the A level science courses.

A level

Why study Chemistry?

Chemistry is a challenging A level, which complements the other science subjects well. It can also be studied as a contrast to arts and humanities subjects. It is excellent preparation and a requirement for some university courses. Students go on to study a wide variety of disciplines, including engineering, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, biochemistry, maths and economics.

The course followed is based on the AQA A level syllabus and consists of the three strands spread over two years. Two teachers teach each set to provide variety and to allow flexibility in practical and theoretical topics. In Year 12 Physical and Organic Chemistry will be taught in parallel, with the Inorganic Chemistry split after that. In the more advanced Year 13 courses, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry are taught in parallel and the Physical Chemistry is split.

The approach is to teach through practical work wherever possible; each exam paper will contain some practical techniques assessment, so development of practical awareness and confidence is an important part of all three strands.

You will be provided with in-house revision booklets and material in addition to standard text books and revision books. You will also have a book targeted at bridging the gap between GCSE and A level.

We have a highly qualified set of teachers who not only aim for exam success but also to produce confident, communicative, practical scientists. The considerable popularity of chemistry at A level in the Monmouth Schools shows the success of this philosophy with our students.

Head of Department: Mrs D Crichton

Course content

Board: AQA   A level Syllabus Code: 7405

The A level has three strands:

  1. Physical Chemistry – fundamental principles of Chemistry and their application from qualitative and quantitative viewpoints.
  2. Inorganic Chemistry – the Periodic Table, Main Group and Transition Metal Chemistry.
  3. Organic Chemistry – Chemistry and analysis of carbon-based molecules from Alkanes and Alkenes through to Benzene, Polymers and Amino Acids.

Method of assessment

Paper 1 (2 hours) 105 marks of short and longer answer questions.
This paper covers some Physical Chemistry and the Inorganic Chemistry

Paper 2 (2 hours) 105 marks of short and longer answer questions.
This paper covers some Physical Chemistry and the Organic Chemistry

Paper 3 (2 hours) 40 marks of questions on practical techniques and data analysis, 20marks of synoptic questions across the syllabus + 30 marks of multiple choice questions.

There is no practical coursework for the A level courses. There are a number of compulsory practicals which are included in the normal teaching schedule. All papers will contain some questions on practical skills relevant to the content of the paper.

Activity When? Age group
Harris Scientific Society Evenings Year 12 + 13
Monmouth Science Initiative Wednesday p.m. Year 12 + 13
Engineering Education Scheme Wales Lunchtimes and after school Year 12
STEM Club After school Y 9-13
Monmouth Astronomical Society First Tues evening of the month All ages
British Physics Olympiad and Physics Challenge Competitions Michaelmas term


Years 11-13
British Chemistry Olympiad and Cambridge Chemistry Challenge Michaelmas term

Summer term

Years 11-13
Biology Challenge Competition March Years 9-10
British Biology Olympiad January, March Y13
National Science and Engineering Competition Lunchtimes and after school All ages
Oxbridge and Russell group Biological & medical sciences discussion group lunchtimes Y11-12+13
Oxbridge Physics and Engineering Lunchtimes after school Y13
Astronomy Club Lunchtime All ages
Science Clubs Lunchtime Years 7 + 8-9
Faraday IET Competition Lent term Year 8
Chemistry Research Club

Sixth form Research Club

After school Year 10-11

Year 12-13