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Senior

Waves and light, forces and motion, electricity and magnetism: all of these and much more go to make up the fascinating study of the material world that is Physics.  Taken together, and in conjunction with the other sciences, Physics has the potential to offer deep insight into both the beauties and the elusive mysteries of the material world.  Throughout the course, pupils are encouraged to develop their conceptual understanding of Physics through investigative practical work and mathematical manipulation. The Physics Department offers a vast range of experiments designed to stimulate pupils’ curiosity and help develop scientific knowledge.  Pupils deepen their understanding of nature’s processes and gain an awareness of Physics and Engineering applications.

Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14)

Physics is taught as part of a combined science program in the First and Second Form.  Pupils are taught topics from the three sciences by one class teacher.  The topics covered follow those suggested by the national curriculum. From the Third Form, Physics is taught by a Physics specialist as a discrete subject.  Pupils continue developing their Physics understanding and practical skills. Emphasis is placed on observing and explaining a variety of physical phenomena and encouraging scientific enquiry.  Pupils are also introduced to the mathematical content needed to progress further with Physics.

Topics covered in the Third Form include:

• Waves and light

• Forces and motion

• Energy transfer due to heating

• Electricity and magnetism

• Space

Towards the end of the year, investigation work is carried out and the KS4 GCSE course is started.

Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16)

Qualification Pathway:     GCSE Physics or GCSE Combined (Double) Science

Examination Board:            AQA

Method of Assessment:       Written Examination at the end of Fifth Form

N.B. AQA Physics pupils will sit three separate GCSE certificates in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  AQA Combined (Double) Science pupils will sit two GCSE certificates that test a combination of Biology, Chemistry and Physics knowledge. 

Course Overview

The topics studied are:

  1. Energy
  2. Electricity
  3. Particle model of matter
  4. Atomic structure
  5. Forces
  6. Waves
  7. Magnetism and electromagnetism
  8. Space physics (GCSE Physics only)

Two types of entry are available; GCSE Physics or Combined (Double) Science. GCSE Physics includes all the topics listed and results in a single GCSE certificate for Physics alone.  Combined (Double) Science includes topics 1-7 which contribute towards two GCSE certificates for Double Science.  There are two examination papers in total.

Unit

Topic Assessed

Value

Assessment Type

Style of Questions

Paper 1

Topics 1-4

Energy

Electricity

Particle model of matter

Atomic structure.

50%

Written exam:

GCSE: 1 hour 45 mins   or

COMBINED: 1 hour 15 mins

 

Foundation and Higher Tier

 

Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response.

 

Paper 2

Topics 5-8

Forces

Waves

Magnetism and electromagnetism

Space physics (GCSE Physics only)

50%

Written exam:

GCSE: 1 hour 45 mins   or

COMBINED: 1 hour 15 mins

 

Foundation and Higher Tier

 

Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response.

Assessment:

Two tiers of entry are available for the examination entries for both GCSE Physics and Combined (Double) Science; Higher or Foundation level. Pupils can be entered at either the Higher or Foundation level.

  • GCSE grading reforms took place from September 2016.  These replace the old A* - G grades.
  • The qualification will be graded on a nine-point scale: 1–9 – where 9 is the best grade.
  • Foundation Tier assessments will be awarded a grade within the range of 1 to 5.
  • Higher Tier assessments will be awarded a grade within the range of 4 to 9.
  • A pupil sitting the Higher Tier who just fails to achieve grade 4 will be awarded an allowed Grade 3.