Science – Physics


Head of Science Faculty and Physics Department: Mr S Burn
Head of Biology Department: Mr C Quirk (Maternity Cover)
Head of Chemistry Department: Mrs S Matlock
Key Stage 3 Coordinator: Mr C Quirk
Faculty Staff: Mrs J Tidball, Mr M Deal, Miss A Bowman, Mr C Boutland-Smith, Mrs M Kestell, Mrs K Marshall, Mr P Dorney, Miss C Halden
Support Staff: Mrs B Cannan, Miss H Morrison, Mr C Spooner
Level of teaching: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 5 at The New Sixth

Physics is the study of how things work from the very large to the incredibly small – the universe to the atom. The specification introduces students to some of the concepts and applications of physics from the use and transfer of energy, to insights into waves, radiation and space.

The study of Physics enables students to explore how things work from the very large to the incredibly small – the universe to the atom. The specification introduces students to some of the concepts and applications of physics from the use and transfer of energy, to insights into waves, radiation and space. Physics is a fascinating subject which engages learners at many levels, linking direct practical experience with scientific ideas. Experimentation and modelling are used to develop and evaluate explanations, encouraging critical and creative thought. Students learn how knowledge and understanding in Physics are rooted in evidence. They discover how scientific ideas contribute to technological change – affecting industry, business and medicine and improving quality of life. They trace the development of science worldwide and recognise its cultural significance. They learn to question and discuss issues that may affect their own lives, the directions of societies and the future of the world.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

In KS3 Science lessons Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics are taught in rotation. We follow the Activate Science schemes of work which provide students with opportunities for regular practical work and development of their numeracy and literacy skills within Science. Student progress is tracked regularly with end of unit assessments, APP tasks (Assessing Pupil Progress) and formal end of year exams.

Year 7

Terms 1 & 2
Safety in Science & Working Scientifically;
C1.1 Particles and their behaviour
B1.1 Cells;
P1.1 Forces
Terms 3 & 4
B1.2 Structure and function of body systems;
P1.2 Sound
C1.2 Elements, atoms and compounds;
P1.3 Light
Terms 5 & 6
B1.3 Reproduction;
C1.4 Acids and Alkalis
C1.3 Chemical Reactions;
P1.4 Space

Year 8

Terms 1 & 2
B2.1 Health and Lifestyle;
P2.1 Electricity and Magnetism
C2.1 The Periodic Table;
B2.2 Ecosystem Processes
Terms 3 & 4
P2.2 Energy;
C2.2 Separation Techniques
P2.3 Motion and Pressure;
C2.3 Metals and Acids
Terms 5 & 6
B2.3 Adaptation and Inheritance; Working Scientifically
C2.4 The Earth; Working Scientifically

Year 9

Terms 1 & 2
P3.1 New Technology in Physics
B3.1 New Technology in Biology
C3.1 New Technology in Chemistry
Terms 3 & 4
Introduction to GCSE Biology;
Introduction to GCSE Chemistry;
Introduction to GCSE Physics

Key Stage 4 (Current Year 10 – New Specification)

Course Code: GCSE Physics AQA 8463
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/physics-8463

Course Code: GCSE Combined Science Trilogy AQA 8464
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/combined-science-trilogy-8464

GCSE Physics offers students the chance to gain a good understanding of:

  • The use and transfer of energy
  • Waves, radiation and space
  • The application of Physics

The specification is designed to give students the tools and concepts they need to be able to construct a scientific approach to solving problems. Students will learn to ask and answer questions about the fundamental laws that govern natural phenomena. This is done by integrating the ‘How Science Works’ approach throughout the specification. Students are likely to be engaged by the aspects of the specification that they can relate to their everyday life such as the efficiency of electrical appliances and braking distances as well as larger concepts like nuclear fission and fusion and evidence of the Big Bang. This course provides a firm foundation for progression to AS and A-level Physics.

GCSE Physics is examined by 2 x 1hr 45min exams at the end of the course. It also involves a practical endorsement which doesn’t contribute to the overall grade.

Unit 1: Physics Paper 1 – Written paper 1hr 45mins – 100 marks worth 50%
Unit 2: Physics Paper 2 – Written paper 1hr 45mins – 100 marks worth 50%

Year 10

  1. Energy
  2. Electricity
  3. Particle model of matter
  4. Atomic structure

Year 11 (2017-18)

  1. Forces
  2. Waves
  3. Magnetism and electromagnetism
  4. Space physics

GCSE Combined Science Pathway:
GCSE Combined Science covers the majority of content from the GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses but a small number of selected topics are omitted.

Key Stage 4 (Current Year 11 – Old specification)

Course Code: GCSE Physics AQA 4403
Exam Board Specification: www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/physics-4403

Course Code: GCSE Science A (Core Science) AQA 4405
Exam Board Specification: www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/science-a-4405

Course Code: GCSE Additional Science AQA 4408
Exam Board Specification: www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/additional-science-4408

GCSE Physics offers students the chance to gain a good understanding of:

  • The use and transfer of energy
  • Waves, radiation and space
  • The application of Physics

The specification is designed to give students the tools and concepts they need to be able to construct a scientific approach to solving problems. Students will learn to ask and answer questions about the fundamental laws that govern natural phenomena. This is done by integrating the ‘How Science Works’ approach throughout the specification. Students are likely to be engaged by the aspects of the specification that they can relate to their everyday life such as the efficiency of electrical appliances and braking distances as well as larger concepts like nuclear fission and fusion and evidence of the Big Bang. This course provides a firm foundation for progression to AS and A-level Physics.

GCSE Physics is examined by 3 x 1hr exams at the end of the course and includes a controlled assessment ISA (Investigative Skills Assignment) as follows:

Unit 1: Physics 1 – Written paper 1 hr – 60 marks worth 25%
Unit 2: Physics 2 – Written paper 1 hr – 60 marks worth 25%
Unit 3: Physics 3 – Written paper 1 hr – 60 marks worth 25%
Unit 4: Controlled Assessment – Investigative Skills Assignment – two written assessments plus one or two lessons for practical work and data processing – 50 marks – worth 25%

Year 10

Terms 1 & 2
P1.1 Energy Transfer
P1.2 Using Energy;
P1.3 Electrical Energy
Terms 3 & 4
P1.4 Generating Electricity;
P1.5 Waves
P1.6 Electromagnetic Waves
Terms 5 & 6
P2.1 Motion
P2.2 Forces;
P2.3 Work, Energy & Momentum

Year 11

Terms 1 & 2
P2.4 Current Electricity;
P2.5 Mains Electricity
P2.6 Radioactivity
Terms 3 & 4
P3.1 Medical Applications
P3.2 Mechanical Applications
Terms 5 & 6
P3.3 Electromagnetic Applications;
Preparation for exam

GCSE Science / GCSE Additional Science Pathways:
GCSE Core Science covers Biology Unit 1, Physics Unit 1, Physics Unit 1.
GCSE Additional Science covers Biology Unit 2, Physics Unit 2, Physics Unit 2.

Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13)

Course Code: A Level Physics OCR A (H556)
AS/A Level GCE Physics A – H156, H556 (from 2015)
Exam Board Specification: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-physics-a-h156-h556-from-2015/

The OCR Physics A course is a content-led approach where the specification is divided into different topics, each covering different key concepts of physics. As learners progress through the course they will build on their knowledge of the laws of Physics, applying their understanding to solve problems on topics ranging from sub-atomic particles to the entire universe. For A level only, the Practical Endorsement will also support the development of practical skills.

Year 12

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in physics endorsement
1.1 Practical skills assessed in a written examination
1.2 Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement

Module 2 – Foundations of physics
2.1 Physical quantities and units
2.2 Making measurements and analysing data
2.3 Nature of quantities

Module 3 – Forces and motion
3.1 Motion
3.2 Forces in action
3.3 Work, energy and power
3.4 Materials
3.5 Momentum 

Module 4 – Electrons, waves and photons
4.1 Charge and current
4.2 Energy, power and resistance
4.3 Electrical circuits
4.4 Waves
4.5 Quantum physics

Year 13

Module 5 – Newtonian world and astrophysics
5.1 Thermal physics
5.2 Circular motion
5.3 Oscillations
5.4 Gravitational fields
5.5 Astrophysics and cosmology 

Module 6 – Particles and medical physics
6.1 Capacitors
6.2 Electric fields
6.3 Electromagnetism
6.4 Nuclear and particle physics
6.5 Medical imaging


For more information on A Level Physics, click here.

Enrichment and Links:
KS3 Science Club, National Science & Engineering Week enrichment activities, Curriculum visits to Bristol Zoo, @Bristol, The Big Bang Fair, National Science Museum. AS & A2 Level Physics Field Trips.

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