Aims and Philosophy

  • To strive to make the courses on offer of interest to and relevance to learners.
  • To stimulate and maintain curiosity and enjoyment in Chemistry.
  • To encourage objectivity and an analytical approach to solving chemical problems.
  • To develop learners understanding of themselves and the world in which they live by helping to make them aware of the applications of Chemistry in everyday life.
  • To develop skills and confidence in using these skills independently and as part of a small team.
  • To encourage learners to develop their capacities as successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to society.
  • To develop an awareness of the importance of Chemistry as a qualification leading to science and non-science related careers

S1 and S2 Science

The first and second year science course is divided into topics which cover all three sciences: chemistry, biology and physics. Each topic is followed by a test.

 In S1 pupils study:

  • An introduction to science
  • Cells
  • Forces
  • Matter
  • Body Systems
  • Waves
  • Chemical Reactions

The department are also involved in the interdisciplinary projects- European Week of languages (learning about Marie Curie) and Scotland and its people (learning about Scottish scientists)

In S2 pupils study:

  • Reproduction and growth
  • Electricity and heat
  • Elements, compounds and mixtures
  • Planet Earth

The course allows learners to develop literacy and numeracy skills, to evaluate environmental, scientific and technological issues, and to apply critical thinking in new contexts. It encourages teamwork and the development of scientific skills.

Homework is integrated within the course.


S3 is the final year of the Broad General Education during which pupils continue to develop their practical skills and improve their knowledge of the basic principles of chemistry. The course contributes to pupils’ general education by drawing their attention to applications of chemistry in everyday life.


In S4 pupils will build on what they have learned in S3, leading to presentation for National 3, 4 or 5 Qualifications at the end of S4. Further information about the National Qualifications in Chemistry can be found by using this link: Nationals in a Nutshell


National 5 chemistry

Some pupils choose to study national 5 chemistry as a one year course in S5

Higher Chemistry

The Higher Chemistry course contributes to improved knowledge and understanding of the physical and natural world. It also provides a good grounding for further study in Chemistry and other related subjects such as environmental science and food science as well as providing some background knowledge for work related training in health and technology.

The course is divided into 2 Units and 2 half units:

  • Unit 1 Chemical changes and structure (half unit)
  • Unit 2 Nature’s Chemistry
  • Unit 3 Chemistry in Society
  • Researching chemistry (half unit which incorporates the assignment)

Advanced Higher Chemistry

A one-year course that builds on the Higher course developing further the underlying theories of Chemistry and the practical skills used in the chemical laboratory. The course also develops the skills of independent study and thought that are essential in a wide range of occupations.

There are three units and a project within the course:

  • Unit 1 inorganic and physical chemistry
  • Unit 2 Organic chemistry and instrumental analysis
  • Unit 3 Researching chemistry