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 (Years 10–11)

Course Code: GCSE Physics AQA 8463
Exam Board Specification:

Course Code: GCSE Combined Science Trilogy AQA 8464
Exam Board Specification:

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 

  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 5 (Years 12-13)

Course Code: A Level Physics OCR A H556
Exam Board Specification:

Recommended Entry Requirements
Grade 6 GCSE Physics or Grade 6-6 GCSE Combined or Triple Science
Grade 6 GCSE Mathematics
Students who have studied Combined Science must complete additional preparatory work over the summer holidays.

Why Physics?
This exciting course provides insights into how the universe works. You will build on concepts covered in GCSE but in more depth and how these are applied in everyday and technological settings.

The course embraces six modules:

Development of practical skills
Foundations of physics
Forces and motion
Electrons, waves and photons
Newtonian world and astrophysics and
Particles and medical physics.

A fascinating and complex area, ideally suited to anyone wanting to challenge themselves.

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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