This course looks at the A level Chemistry curriculum and provides techniques and approaches that equip non-specialist teachers to deliver it well. Key topics from the first year of the course will be covered and participants will be given valuable teaching strategies and resources as well as being directed to other useful support. Although the course will tie in closely to the AQA specification, additional material will be shared that will strengthen teachers’ chemical understanding.

However, although it is great to have the knowledge, that doesn’t guarantee good teaching. We will also look at some active learning approaches that ensure lessons are vibrant and student centred.


  • Develop a clear understanding of some key concepts to be taught at A level
  • Consider models used in chemistry teaching and evaluate their effectiveness
  • Take away strategies and activities to use in lessons
  • Increase your range of teaching activities to keep students engaged
  • Identify sources of support and valuable resources for A level chemistry
  • Non-specialists who are being asked to teach A level chemistry
  • Teachers who are new or relatively new to teaching Advanced Level chemistry
  • Colleagues returning to teaching who want to refresh their knowledge of the A level course
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 11.00am
Getting started on Quantitative Chemistry

  • Getting started at A level – the ‘big picture’ and planning for the key challenge areas
  • Laying the foundations – the first term and beyond
  • The mole concept. How do you teach it?
  • Using the mole – give students patterns and procedures
  • Titration calculations – not hard if you follow some simple steps
  • Celebrate the mole

11.00  – 11.15am
Coffee break and informal discussion

11.15  – 12.00pm
Atoms, Ions and Molecules

  • The A level model of the atom – electrons, energy levels and orbitals
  • Ionic bonding. Misconceptions and dealing with them
  • Covalent compounds and intermolecular forces

12.00  – 1.00pm
Energy Matters

  • Why do atoms join together and some chemical reactions take place?
  • Enthalpy changes and the Hess Cycle: Burning down and forming up.
  • Born Haber cycles. Why do certain compounds exist and some dissolve?

1.00 – 1.45pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.45 – 2.45 pm
Making Sense of Organic Chemistry

  • Nomenclature and functional groups
  • What are the key drivers in organic chemistry?
  • Modelling reaction mechanisms
  • Mastering those curly arrows

2.45 –  3.30pm
Active Teaching Approaches

  • Active learning strategies that challenge the best and move on the weaker students
  • Effective groupwork: techniques to establish this in the lab and the classroom
  • The required Chemistry practicals – getting the most from them with the students
  • New approaches for preparing students for the practical skills exam questions

3.30 – 3.45pm
Plenary and Depart

  • Where students succeed and struggle in A level Chemistry exams

John Coad

John is a highly experienced A Level and IB Chemistry teacher who still teaches today.  He led Chemistry Departments in two schools and whole Science Departments in two others. He has worked as a Science Advisor in England’s largest Local Authority, supporting both primary and secondary teachers of science. In recent years he has worked as an independent consultant, promoting science education in a wide variety of ways. He has led many professional development courses for teachers, written resources for publishers and staged large science enrichment events. His enthusiasm for science is evident in all he does but sharing his experience with chemistry teachers gives him the greatest satisfaction.

View all courses led by John Coad >

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