Chemistry is taught as a separate subject throughout the Senior School to GCSE and AS/A2 level. The teaching is shared by two teachers in the department. The subject is popular in the Sixth Form with most students taking the subject through to A2. Many of our students continue with their study of science or medicine at university.

The Department also runs a Science Society which is open to all year groups, and BAYS club which is open to Sixth Form and Year 11 and involves regular attendance at lectures given by outside speakers at Sherborne Schools, Leweston and Yeovil College. There are also trips to the Annual Chemistry Lectures at the Royal Institution and at the Institute of Education. The lower years have competed in external events such as Salters' Festival and a link has been established with Bristol University to take part in their activities for Year 9 -13. The department also organise for students to attend the Medlink course at Nottingham University. 

Years 7-9

In Year 7 pupils are placed in two streamed sets for Chemistry where they cover the following topics: Safety, Dissolving, Separation and Purification, States of Matter, The Air, Elements, Mixtures and Compounds and Water. In Year 8 they remain in two sets studying: Acid Reactions, Neutralisation, the Preparation and Properties of CO2, Global Warming, Metals, Rocks and Materials. In Year 9 the group may divide into three sets to cover: Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table, Rates of Reaction, Fossil Fuels and Energy, Minerals, Extraction of Metals by Reduction and Electrolysis.


All three science subjects are compulsory to GCSE level and the girls opt to study for either Additional Science (Two Sets) or the Separate Sciences (One Set).

The AQA Chemistry Syllabus is divided three Units. Unit One covers the following topics products from oil, rocks and atmosphere and the exam for it is taken in June at the end of Year 10. Unit Two covers bonding, rates and industrial processes and the exam for it is taken in the January of Year 11 study. Unit Three considers the periodic table, acids, alkalis, salts, ions and water and the exam for it is taken in June of Year 11 study. The exam also has a coursework component.

In Year 11 a mixed ability set follows the OCR Chemistry syllabus with the following topics introduced: Electrochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Earth Science, Energy, Equilibrium and Industrial Chemistry, Volumetric Analysis and Rates Coursework. The examination, which consists of two papers, is taken at the end of Year 11.

A level

The AS Level consists of four compulsory modules on: Foundation (atomic structure, bonding, the periodic table, chemical calculations); Chains and Rings (formulas, names and structures of organic chemicals, characteristic organic reactions, bonding and shapes of organic molecules, isomerism, chemistry of alkanes, alkenes, halogen derivatives, alcohols). How Far, How Fast? (chemical energetics, rates of reaction, chemical equilibrium) and Experimental Skills.

The A Level is again four compulsory modules with a biochemistry option (proteins, enzymes, carbohydrates, lipids and membrane structure, nucleic acids). The modules cover: Chains & Rings & Spectroscopy (aromatic compounds, carboxylic acids and esters, organic nitrogen compounds, synthetic organic chemistry, stereoisomerism, polymerisation, analytical techniques). Trends & Patterns (lattice enthalpy and Born-Haber cycles, periodic trends of oxides and chlorides, transition elements, oxidation and reduction). Unifying Concepts (equilibrium constants, acids and bases, rates of reaction and reaction order) and experimental skills.

The experimental Skills for both AS and A2 involve a number of assessment practicals which are carried out during the year to assess skills in planning, carrying out and drawing conclusions. The best marks for each skill are submitted to the Board.