Physics is taught by a team of specialist teachers and technicians in high quality, spacious and well-equipped Physics laboratories.
All girls study aspects of Physics in Years 7 and 8. The 2 year KS3 course is designed to enthuse and stimulate and includes a large amount of practical work which is fundamental to ensuring the development of highly competent and confident Physicists. Planning and designing investigations and the challenge of explaining observations encourages students to think independently and challenge their understanding.
In Years 9, 10 and 11, pupils follow either the OCR Gateway Separate Sciences program of study or the Combined Science version of the same specification. Both courses allow for access to A Level Physics, and provide an excellent foundation upon which to build. Lessons are designed to foster original thinking and encourage questioning, essential skills for success in this subject, and to gain an increased understanding of the applications of Physics in the world around us.
At A Level this subject provides a range of skills desired by many employers including application, independent thinking, processing, mathematical manipulation, recording and analysing to name a few. A significant part of the course addresses practical methodology and techniques, with pupils able to work individually.
Further skills and passion for this subject can be developed and supported in vast array of extra-curricular activities within the Science Department
“All of physics is either impossible or trivial. It is impossible until you understand it, and then it becomes trivial.”
Physics at KS3
Physics lessons begin by introducing pupils to a scientific laboratory – how to work safely, and how to use pieces of equipment which are essential for the experiments they carry out through the course. The course is designed to relate Physics to everyday experiences and to generate enthusiasm for, and interest in, the subject. As much of the subject as possible is taught through practical work. Pupils enjoy learning to build circuits when studying Electricity.
Physics at GCSE
The study of GCSE Physics starts in Year 9, following the OCR Gateway Physics Specification J249. The majority of practical activity skills (Topic 9) is introduced in Year 9 and completed or reinforced in Years 10 and 11. Students sit two papers made up of both multiple choice and structured questions at the end of the GCSE course. Each constitutes 50% of the overall GCSE grade. Paper 1 assesses content from Topics P1-P4 and P9. Paper 2 assesses content from topics P5-P8 and P9, with assumed knowledge of topics P1-P4.
The eight teaching topics are:
|P1: Matter||The particle model; changes of state; pressure in gases and liquids|
|P2: Forces||Motion; Newton’s Laws; fields and forces causing changes|
|P3: Electricity||Static and charge; simple circuits; electrical current, potential difference and resistance|
|P4: Magnetism and magnetic fields||Magnets and magnetic fields; uses of magnetic fields|
|P5: Waves in matter||Behaviour of mechanical and electromagnetic waves; the electromagnetic spectrum|
|P6: Radioactivity||Radioactive emissions; radioactive decay|
|P7: Energy||Work done; power and efficiency|
|P8: Global challenges||How objects are affected by external factors; electricity production; characteristics of planets|
|P9 : Practical skills||Details of the Practical Activity Groups (PAGs) for Physics|
Physics at A level
A Level Physics develops at greater depth the topics which have been introduced at GCSE. Students find this course challenging and stimulating, and benefit from the intellectual demands made on them in developing their powers of thought. Practical work is undertaken regularly throughout the course, with students often working individually.
This course provides excellent preparation for future studies in many fields. Physics can be combined with Chemistry, Mathematics, Engineering, Business Studies and Languages, amongst others. Physics Careers might focus on basic research in astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, atomic physics, photonics or condensed matter physics, or in more applied research in areas such as renewable energy, quantum information science, materials development, biophysics, or medical physics. Careers could also include teaching, medicine, law (especially intellectual property or patent law). The importance of Physics cannot be overestimated in today’s world, where challenging economic and environmental conditions are driving the need for well qualified scientists.
A Level Physics consists of the following theory topics and twelve standard practical exercises, with practical skills being assessed in the written examinations:
|PHYSICS A – AS (H156) / A LEVEL (H556)|
|Module 1 – Development of practical skills in physics|
|Skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation|
|Module 2 – Foundations of Physics|
Physical quantities and units
Making measurements and analysing data
Nature of quantities.
|Module 3 – Forces and motion||Module 4 – Electrons, waves and photons|
Forces in action
Work, energy and power
Newton’s laws of motion and momentum.
Charge and current
Energy, power and resistance
|Module 5 – Newtonian world and astrophysics (A level only)||Module 6 – Particles and medical physics (A level only)|
Nuclear and particle physics
Students will be assessed for the A level Physics qualification at the end of the second year by three papers, Papers 1 and 2 will each be 2 hours 15 minutes long, and Paper 3 will 1 hour 30 minutes long.