Key Stage Three

Chemistry at Key Stage 3. Our pupils in Years 8 and 9 experience Chemistry as part of General Science curriculum. Each year the scheme of work is divided into “units” of the three main Science disciplines. The Chemistry topics are “Acids & Alkalis” and “Solids, Liquids and Gases” in Year 8 and “Elements, Compounds & Mixtures” in Year 9. In Year 10 Chemistry is taught as an individual subject with a specialist Chemistry teacher, and the topics studies lay the foundation for progression to GCSE. Throughout KS3 the lessons incorporate active, practical and investigative tasks as well as aspects of scientific history and ethics.


Pupils in Years 11 and 12 have the opportunity to study Chemistry as part of a Double Award Science CCEA course, which culminates in the achievement of two GCSE grades, or as an individual GCSE subject.  In either case the Chemistry Department endeavours to provide an atmosphere where learning occurs actively and comprehensively. At GCSE  we strive to ensure that our pupils not only learn and understand the principles of Chemistry, but that they have the confidence to apply them to both familiar and unfamiliar situations. Pupils are supported in the development of skills in practical, investigative and mathematical Chemistry, in analysis and self evaluation.  These are essential to a successful Chemist and are extremely transferable. Throughout each course our teachers stress the links to current environmental, social, industrial and technological developments and the vast array of career paths that lead from Chemistry.


AS and A2 chemistry students at Rathmore follow the CCEA Modular A Level specification. It is a popular and successful course, with A*-C % always above the NI Grammar school average (as supplied by DENI). AT AS Level the foundations across the Chemistry disciplines are laid, with application being practised, perfected and used for further development in A2. Both courses include a practical exam, where each student has to complete a practical task and provide written results, under exam conditions. AS and A2 students experience extensive practical exercises to help them achieve both expertise and confidence in this aspect of Chemistry.  To support students and help them optimise their  performance the department provides expertise in exam technique through additional lectures, to supplement teaching. While a challenging course, the achievement of a successful grade is both rewarding and useful, as can be indicated by the diverse range of studies our students pursue in Higher Education.

Chemistry Department

Teaching Staff

Mrs Lyn McGarry (HOD) 

Ms Diane Duffin-Murray 

Dr David Fox 

Mr Dermot Graham 

Mrs Ursula Smyth.