Physics

Physics is the study of the universe, including the objects within it and the interactions between those objects.

In the Physics Department, we begin by inspiring pupils with a sense of wonder and curiosity about natural phenomena, then show how an understanding of the physical world enables science to create wonders of its own.

In pursuing these aims, we encourage pupils to think, to question, to investigate, to plan, to experiment, to calculate and to communicate.

We enjoy excellent laboratory facilities, skilled and experienced technicians and a dedicated teaching staff, all of whom have physics-related degrees.

The subject is a springboard to a huge variety of careers and university degrees. Engineering is a popular choice and the analytical and communication skills that pupils develop during the course equips them for almost any career, including finance, computing, law and medicine.

4th Form

In Lower 4, pupils study magnetism, heat, electrostatics and astronomy. The emphasis here is on practical experience. For instance, in Astronomy we encourage pupils, ideally with their families, to go outside and look up!  They also learn about digital photography and consider the great question of where we might find life elsewhere in our Solar System.

In Upper 4, pupils study electric circuits and, as a means of learning about light and sound, The Eye and The Ear.  The 21st Century Materials topic forms an introduction to Materials Science, and includes the study of smart materials that respond to the environment. By presenting Physics in this contextual way, we encourage an understanding of the applications of the subject rather than merely confronting pupils with a collection of dry facts.  

5th Form

In the Fifth Form we follow the Edexcel/Pearson International GCSE.

The Lower 5 course covers two topics: Forces & Motion and Astrophysics.

Astrophysics has recently been introduced to the course and combines many ideas and concepts from topics already studied by pupils, enabling them to put them to good use.

The Middle 5 course includes topics on electric circuits and waves, and employs ideas relating to atomic and nuclear physics.

The Upper 5 course concludes with a discussion of energy transfers and resources, states of matter and how they interact and change, and electromagnetism.

6th Form

At A-Level we follow the OCR A Physics course.

In Lower Six, topics include the fundamental topics of mechanics, electric circuits and waves, while we also introduce the intriguing and counter-intuitive world of Quantum Mechanics.

In Upper Six, pupils encounter electric and magnetic fields, capacitors and simple harmonic motion. However, they also explore nuclear physics, astrophysics, and diagnostic and treatment techniques in medicine. The course has recently been augmented with the latest ideas concerning dark matter and particle physics.

Pupils are expected to display competent and capable research skills and to keep a laboratory book as part of their evidence towards the Practical Endorsement.