Aims of the Chemistry Department

The principal aim of the department is to deliver the best possible education in Chemistry to all the young people in our care. As part of our whole school responsibility we seek to ensure the development of courtesy, self-reliance, self-discipline and study skills.

The department also hopes to foster pupil’s scientific education by:

  • Developing knowledge of chemical principles, facts and patterns
  • Encouraging pupils to apply their knowledge to everyday situations
  • Providing opportunities to develop practical skills and investigative skills
  • Development of the vocabulary and knowledge of chemistry
  • Developing an awareness of the social, economic and environmental implications of decisions made in the scientific world

Staff Names and Roles

Mr K.Carr (CL)

Miss K.Boyle

Mrs C.Hanaway

Mrs E.Young

Mr JP.O’Reilly

National 4 Chemistry Course Layout

The course provides a broad experience of Chemistry.

The course aims to:

  • Develop scientific and analytical thinking skills in a Chemistry context.
  • Develop an understanding of the role of Chemistry in scientific issues.
  • Acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of concepts in Chemistry.
  • Develop understanding of relevant applications of Chemistry in society.

In addition to scientific skills, learners will continue to develop and acquire the capabilities of the four capacities as well as skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. They will continue to develop their skills in literacy, numeracy and communication.

To achieve a National 3/4 award in Chemistry pupils must pass all of the required units and the added value unit. There is no final exam and the course is not graded.

Internal Assessment

All Units are internally assessed against the requirements shown in the Unit Specification. They will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

The assessment of the units in this Course will be as follows:

Chemical Changes and Structure

The key areas covered in this Unit are:

  • rates of reaction
  • atomic structure and bonding related to properties of materials
  • energy changes of chemical reactions
  • acids and bases

Nature’s Chemistry

The key areas covered in this Unit are:

  • fuels
  • hydrocarbons
  • everyday consumer products
  • plants to products

Chemistry in Society

The key areas in this Unit are:

  • metals and alloys
  • materials
  • fertilisers
  • nuclear chemistry
  • chemical analysis


National 5 Chemistry

The course aims to:

  • Develop scientific and analytical thinking skills in a Chemistry context.
  • Develop an understanding of the role of Chemistry in scientific issues.
  • Acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of concepts in Chemistry.
  • Develop understanding of relevant applications of Chemistry in society.
  • Develop problem solving skills in a Chemistry context.

In addition to scientific skills, learners will continue to develop and acquire the capabilities of the four capacities as well as skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. They will continue to develop their skills in literacy, numeracy and communication.

To achieve a National 5 award in Chemistry pupils must pass all of the required units as well as the course assessment. The added value unit will focus on breadth, challenge and application. The added value unit and the exam will be externally assessed.

Mandatory Units:

Nature’s Chemistry

In this unit, pupils will study the formation, extraction and uses of hydrocarbons. Pupils will look at the environmental impact of fuels and how alternative energy sources, including biomass, hydrogen, ethanol and biodiesel are being developed. Topical areas of work include the use of alcoholic drinks in our world and their production.

Chemical Changes and Structure

In this unit, pupils will study the pH scale and the uses of acids in food and drink. Pupils will investigate neutralisation reactions and their impact on health and the environment. They will also study the structure of the atom and patterns in the periodic table.

Chemistry in Society

In this unit pupils will study the properties of metals and their uses. Pupils will discover how fertilisers are produced and how they have benefited society. Through experimentation students will learn about the development of batteries and fuel cells which will help power our future energy needs. Pupils will also learn about the development and design of new materials such as plastics and ceramics.

Added Value Unit (Assignment)

In this unit, pupils will draw on and extend the skills they have learned from across the other units, and demonstrate the breadth of knowledge and skills acquired in a topical Chemistry issue.

Course Assessment:

Component 1 - External Exam

The question paper will have two Sections and will take place over 2 hours as the External Exam.

Section 1 Multiple Choice worth 20 marks.

Section 2 will contain restricted and extended response questions and will have 60 marks.

Component 2 - Assignment

The assignment will have 20 marks out of a total of 100 marks. This is 20% of the overall marks for the Course assessment.

This assignment has two stages:

  • a research stage
  • a communication stage

In the course of their assignment, learners are required to:

  • choose, with support, a relevant topic in chemistry that has an effect on the environment and/or society
  • devise an appropriate aim
  • describe the relevant application(s) of chemistry and explain the effect on the environment/society
  • research the topic by selecting, processing and presenting relevant data/information
  • draw a conclusion
  • describe underpinning chemistry knowledge and understanding and explain its relevance to the topic researched
  • communicate the findings of the research in a report

Higher Chemistry

A one year course for students who wish to continue their study of Chemistry beyond National 5 Chemistry.

The Higher (CfE) Chemistry course:

  • Contributes to improved knowledge and understanding of the physical and natural world. Giving pupils an understanding of Scientific issues in a national and global context
  • Is an essential or preferred option for careers such as Medicine, Dentistry, Vet, Optician, Forensic Scientist, Physiotherapist, Chemist, Pharmacologist, Chemical Engineer.
  • Continues to develop problem solving capabilities alongside the skills of Numeracy and Literacy.

Entry Level

N5 Award A to C pass in Chemistry

N5 Award A to C pass in Maths

Course Content

Chemical Changes and Structures

The unit covers the knowledge and understanding of controlling reaction rates and recognising periodic trends. Pupils will investigate collision theory and the use of catalysts in reactions. The concepts of electronegativity and the various types of bonding will be developed allowing connections to be made between bonding and a material’s physical properties.

Nature’s Chemistry

The unit covers the knowledge and understanding of organic chemistry within the context of food and the chemistry of consumer products such as soaps, detergents, fragrances and skincare. The relationship between the structure of organic compounds, their physical and chemical properties and their uses are investigated.

Chemistry in Society

The unit covers the knowledge and understanding of physical chemistry. Learners will calculate quantities of reagents and products and percentage yield. Pupils will develop their skills to manipulate dynamic equilibria and predict enthalpy changes. Pupils will also investigate oxidation and reduction reactions in analytical chemistry through the context of volumetric titrations.

Researching Chemistry

Pupils will research the relevance of a topical issue by collecting and synthesising information from a number of sources. In relation to the topical issue and using practical skills developed over a number of years pupils will also plan and undertake an investigation and communicate their findings at the end.

Course Assessment

The course assessment will consist of two components: a question paper and an assignment.

Component 1 - External Exam

The purpose of the question paper is to assess breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding from across the Units.

The question paper will have 100 marks (77% of the total mark) and will have two sections.

Section 1 - Multiple Choice will have 20 marks.

Section 2 - 'Paper 2' will contain restricted and extended response questions and will have 80 marks.

Component 2 - Assignment

The assignment will have 30 marks (23% of the total marks)

In preparation for the controlled assessment, the pupil will carry out an investigation stage:

  • select an appropriate chemistry topic within the set guidelines provided by SQA
  • investigate/research the topic, focusing on applications and impact on society
  • process the information collected

In the controlled assessment stage, the pupil will present evidence of:

  • the process they have undertaken
  • applying chemistry knowledge and understanding related to the topic investigated
  • a balanced evaluation of the impact on society
  • a reasoned conclusion

Advanced Higher Chemistry

Advanced Higher Chemistry is studied in S6. The course consists of three units. Once again pupils will deepen their understanding of chemistry developing a wide variety of skills that help prepare pupils for their future careers. Pupils will regularly be expected to carry out prescribed practical experiments in which they will be asked to write a short report on.

The Advanced Higher Chemistry Course aims to enable learners to:

  • develop a critical understanding of the role of chemistry in scientific issues and relevant applications, including the impact these could make on the environment/society
  • extend and apply knowledge, understanding and skills of chemistry
  • develop and apply the skills to carry out complex practical scientific activities, including the use of risk assessments, technology, equipment and materials
  • develop and apply scientific inquiry and investigative skills, including planning and experimental design
  • develop and apply analytical thinking skills, including critical evaluation of experimental procedures in a chemistry context
  • extend and apply problem solving skills in a chemistry context
  • further develop an understanding of scientific literacy, using a wide range of resources, in order to communicate complex ideas and issues and to make scientifically informed choices
  • extend and apply skills of independent/autonomous working in chemistry.

Entry Level

N6 Award A to C pass in Chemistry

N6 Award A to C pass in Maths

Course Content

Inorganic and Physical Chemistry

This Unit develops a knowledge and understanding of the principles and concepts of inorganic and physical chemistry including how electromagnetic radiation is used in atomic spectroscopy to identify elements, the concept of atomic structure by considering atomic orbitals, electronic configuration, electron pair theory, shape of molecules, physical and chemical properties of transition metals and their compounds, chemical equilibria, feasibility of chemical reactions and reaction kinetics.

Organic Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis

This Unit develops a knowledge and understanding of organic chemistry. Learners will research the structure of organic compounds, including aromatics and amines, and draw on this to explain the physical and chemical properties of the compounds. They will consider the key organic reaction types and mechanisms, and link these to the synthesis of organic chemicals. Learners will discover the origin of colour in organic compounds and how elemental analysis and spectroscopic techniques are used to verify chemical structure. They will study the use of medicines in conjunction with the interactions of the drugs.

Researching Chemistry

In this Unit, learners will be given the opportunity to gain an understanding of stoichiometric calculations, to develop practical skills and to carry out research in chemistry. Learners will develop the key skills associated with a variety of different practical techniques, including the related calculations. Equipped with the knowledge of chemistry apparatus, techniques and an understanding of concepts, learners will identify, research, plan and safely carry out a chemistry practical investigation of their choice. The Unit will equip learners with the scientific background and skills necessary to analyse scientific articles and use them in order to make informed choices and decisions.

Course Assessment

The Course assessment will consist of two Components:

Component 1 — External Exam

The purpose of this question paper is to assess breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding from across the Units. The question paper will assess scientific inquiry skills and analytical thinking skills.

The question paper will have 100 marks.

The question paper will have two sections.

Section 1 will contain objective questions and will have 30 marks.

Section 2 will contain restricted and extended response questions and will have 70 marks.

Component 2 — Project

The purpose of the project is to allow the learner to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chemistry topic and produce a project–report.

The project will have 30 marks. The majority of the marks will be awarded for applying scientific inquiry skills. The other marks will be awarded for applying related knowledge and understanding. The project will be externally assessed.