Physics is the study of how our Universe works. It explains the properties of matter, energy and the interaction between them. It is about asking and answering fundamental questions, making observations, carrying out investigations and using mathematics to solve problems.
Studying Physics gives students the opportunity to develop their analytical, quantitative, communication and experimental skills. It can lead to many careers, including research, engineering, education, finance and law.
Key Stage 3
Students in Year 7 start their physics journey with discovering different types of forces and their effects, including motion caused by forces, energy transferred by forces and work done by forces. Students will then look further into different types of energy and energy transferred by heating and sound waves. Students will be assessed by homework assignments, in class practical sessions as well as unit tests.
Year 8 students will explore non-contact forces including gravity, magnetic forces and electrostatic forces, which then leads them to electromagnetism and simple electric circuits. They will also be introduced to pressure in liquid and gas. Students are assessed by homework assignments, in class practical sessions as well as unit tests.
Students begin Key Stage 4 in Year 9, although no external examinations or assessments are sat. They follow the AQA GCSE Physics specification and learn about the topics: conservation and dissipation of energy, energy transfer by heating, energy resources and electric circuits.
Key Stage 4
Students continue to follow the AQA GCSE Physics specification or the AQA GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy courses specification. The topics covered this year are: electricity in the home, molecules and matter, radioactivity, forces in balance and motion.
Students learn about: force and motion, force and pressure, wave properties, electromagnetic waves, light, electromagnetism and space (Physics only). They sit two written examination papers, each comprising 50% of the GCSE.
Key Stage 5
A level students follow the AQA A level Physics specification. Topics in Year 12 include: particles and nuclides, fundamental particles, electrons and energy levels, particles of light, waves, combining waves, introduction to mechanics, motion and its measurement, Newton’s laws of motion, work, energy and power, momentum, properties of materials, current electricity and electrical circuits. Students are expected to complete 12 required practicals as part of the A level course, to assess their practical skills against the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) for the practical endorsement.
In the final year of the A level, students learn about circular motion, simple harmonic motion, gravitation, thermal physics, electric fields, capacitance, magnetic fields, magnetic flux, alternating current and transformers, the evidence for the nucleus, radioactive decay, nuclear energy and an optional topic. The optional topics are Astrophysics, Medical physics, Engineering physics, Turning points in physics or Electronics. Students sit three written examination papers in the Summer term.