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City of London

School for girls

The department aims to inspire an interest in and enjoyment of chemistry and to encourage a thoughtful and inquisitive approach to the subject. The department aims to enhance students’ understanding of the benefits that chemistry has brought to society and to the environment, whilst also appreciating its detrimental effects.  


We endeavour to provide a fresh approach to studying chemistry that makes what can be a challenging academic subject accessible, interesting and relevant. We view carrying out practical work as essential to the learning process, and our students are able to explore theory in action through regular experiments and demonstrations in their lessons. We provide regular opportunities for students to work collaboratively in practical work or on projects to foster a deep engagement with this complex and nuanced Science. We run a weekly chemistry clinic where all teachers in the department are always on hand to offer help and answer any questions. 

The department has a key focus on sustainability and the environment, and we oversee the school’s Plastic Action group and Sustainability Committee.  



Chemistry topics are delivered hand-in-hand with Physics topics as the students study Physical Science in Year 7. This allows students a greater continuity in their lessons, fostering a broader understanding of the physical world. Topics include states of matter, acids and alkalis and energy in reactions. 


With chemistry now being studied as a separate subject for the first time we use the autumn term to introduce the periodic table of the elements. Students then study a range of different reaction types, with plenty of practical work and practice writing balanced symbol equations along the way. Following on from learning how to prepare and test for different gases, students look into the evolution of the atmosphere and the green chemistry unit. 

YEARS 9, 10, and 11 

Students begin studying the Edexcel IGCSE chemistry course in year 9, with an increased number of lessons per week in Years 10 and 11.  

Year 9 – states of matter and solubility, atoms and ions, rates of reaction, metals, gases in the atmosphere 

Year 10 – the periodic table, structures and bonding, calculations, crude oil, other products from crude oil, electrolysis 

Year 11 – acids, alkalis and salts, energetics, equilibria, alcohols, carboxylic acids and esters 


A level chemistry provides students with a varied and challenging course which builds upon various fundamental principles studied at IGCSE.  The course is divided into the three fields of chemistry – inorganic, organic, and physical. 

Physical chemistry

A new model of the atomic structure is introduced straight away, shedding new light on the arrangement of the elements in the periodic table. Chemistry would not be complete without a significant mathematical and modelling aspect to the theories studied. Students build upon the calculations they studied at IGCSE and use more complex and combined methods to solve numerical problems associated with physical chemistry. Modelling for a range of different concepts from atomic structure to rates of reaction to underpin much of this side of the course. 

Organic chemistry

The study of the behaviour of carbon-containing compounds is broadened significantly in the Organic areas of the course. Synthetic pathways are what underpin the pharmaceutical and materials industries, and while we barely scratch the surface at A level, students are given a flavour of the importance of how altering reagents and conditions can bring about significant changes in an Organic product. 

Inorganic chemistry

Specific groups and periods of the periodic table are studied in detail throughout the course, encompassing plenty of practical work, from the familiar groups I and VII to the less familiar transition metals. Application of structures and bonding goes in hand in hand with studying the periodicity of the elements. 

Throughout all areas of the course students will carry out a range of experiments to support 
their learning, and to enable them to answer practical-based questions successfully.


GCSE - IGCSE (Edexcel)
A Level - AQA (7405)


  • Year 13 – RSC Chemistry Olympiad 
  •  Year 12 – C3L6 Challenge, RSC School Analyst Competition, Armourers and Brasiers Materials Prize competition 
  • Year 10 – Engagement with Plastic Action through studying polymers 
  • Year 9 – ‘MUN-style’ Climate Conference 
  • Year 8 – Forensics workshop, Salters’ Chemistry Festival 
  • Year 7 – Science club 

I really enjoy learning chemistry at City - the lessons are always engaging and the teachers are really supportive. Although some topics may seem confusing at first, seeing the chemistry actually happen in front of you during practicals helps you understand how and why it’s happening Riddhi, year 10

"I have always enjoyed chemistry as it is such a fascinating subject and has been taught in such an engaging and well-structured way. Although it is challenging, it is also so rewarding to be able to understand difficult concepts which you have studied since year 7 and finally answer all the burning questions you had before. I can't wait to delve deeper into the world of chemistry at A level!" Ishara, year 11 

"Chemistry is very rewarding, providing a lens on the ‘stuff’ around us. It’s very satisfying when the A level expands the GCSE. Whenever a topic overlaps with another science’s lesson, chemistry is really good at filling in some of the gaps. Also, the experiments have some pretty colours, that is, when they work!" Anna, year 13 

Head of department: Ms K Hotchkiss