Course Outline – Physics
The Physics curriculum is designed to develop the skills needed for our students to become capable and confident scientists. We endeavour to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based careers and share our passion and enthusiasm of Physics with our students. Our teaching assumes that all students could be the scientists of the future if they so choose, and allows them to achieve to the best of their ability.
Through the Physics curriculum we teach many transferable skills and how science works, contributing to the cultural capital of the students; for example modelling complicated situations, understanding abstract concepts using analogies, using measuring instruments accurately, discussing important issues around national decisions on energy strategy and climate change, problem solving, manipulation of apparatus, data interpretation and evaluation and planning investigations.
The Physics Curriculum
- Years 7 and 8 – the aim of the course is to provide a suitable basis for GCSE studies in Physics and to fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum Key Stage 3. This requires each student to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through progression; science enquiry though physics practical work, and to become equipped with the scientific knowledge about the uses and implications of science. Topics are developed from previous knowledge from KS2 and prepare students to step up to the challenge of GCSE work in Year 9. Practical work forms a large part of the KS3 curriculum, allowing our students to develop a scientific attitude, experimental skills, analytical and evaluation skills, as well as measurement and appropriate mathematical skills. Topics include: Energy, Motion and Force, Electricity, Space, Light, Sound, Heat and Temperature and the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
- Years 9 to11 – the course follows the Edexcel 1Ph0 specification, providing continuity from KS3 and spread across 3 years. In Year 9 many of the key concepts of GCSE are introduced, building on previous knowledge and time is spent looking at how physics is applied in a wide range of situations. This is designed to consolidate students’ understanding. The course allows sufficient time for practising calculations and problem solving which are important skills when answering physics questions. Students have opportunities to work scientifically and develop the deeper understanding needed to continue with Physics beyond GCSE. New topics are covered at a good pace, while allowing opportunities to revisit previous content and allowing time for revision and examination practice. Topics include: Waves and Sound, Waves and the Electromagnetic Spectrum, Space, Energy, Forces and Motion, Electricity, Nuclear Physics, Solids, Liquids and Gases.
- Year 12 and 13 – the A Level Physics course follows the OCR Physics A specification. This builds on topics met at GCSE with a greater level of mathematical sophistication, but also introduce new areas of physics such as Quantum Physics and Materials Science. Practical skills are further developed to meet the demands of the A Level practical endorsement. Topics include: Forces and Motion, Projectiles, Energy, Springs and Materials, Momentum, Quantum Physics, Electricity, Waves, Particle Physics, Astrophysics, Nuclear Decay, Nuclear Fission and Fusion, Circular Motion, Gravitational Fields, Oscillations, Thermal Physics, Medical Imaging, Capacitors, Electric Fields, Magnetic Fields, Electromagnetism.
The department is fortunate in having a suite of twelve purpose built laboratories served by five preparation rooms and supported by three technicians. This results in almost all science lessons being taught in laboratories and allows practical work to be fully integrated into the lessons at the most opportune time.
Co-curricular and Extracurricular Activities
Enthusiasm for Physics is further promoted through a wide range of co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities. These include an Engineering Society which is run by Sixth Form students for all Year Groups. There is also a Year 7 Science Club and a range of competitions including the Year 8 Faraday Challenge, the Year 12 Senior Physics Challenge and the Year 13 Physics Olympiad. There is also a Sixth Form trip to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
Opportunities for Further Study and Destinations
A high proportion of students go on to study science based degrees at university including Physics and Engineering. However, A Level Physics also develops knowledge and skills useful in a wide range of career fields including: Agriculture, Plans and Land, Environmental Sciences, Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing, Medicine and Nursing and Medical Technology. Science A Levels, including Physics, are highly regarded by competitive universities and can form part of a successful application for a very wide range of university courses. It should be noted that most Physics and Engineering courses at university also require A Level Mathematics to be taken.