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Physics

Highworth Physics Department has supported many successful students who have subsequently gone on to study Physics or a related degree at a traditional university, including Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London.

Students that study Physics develop a scientific approach to interpret the world, striving to understand the application of study through developed models and concepts. The lessons use real examples to relate to concepts to the student’s lives. Alongside the concepts, lessons also develop key transferable technical skills in areas such as planning, uncertainties and data analysis.

Recent Physics trips abroad, e.g. CERN, Switzerland (2015) have produced exciting extra-curricular opportunities for upper school students to explore the weird and wonderful world of particle Physics, as well as developing their knowledge of international scientific opportunities.

KS4 students also have the opportunity to participate in STEM competitions and attend the Big Bang Fair at local venues. We encourage students to participate in engineering residential courses offered by providers such as the “Smallpeice Trust”, University summer camps and work experience for KS5 students.

Follow us on twitter! @highworthphys

Staffing

Head of Department

Mrs N Spooner

Teachers

Mr D Hall

Mrs S Rickett

Mr N McCarthy

Dr M Brown

Mr G Moore (Senior Science Technician)

Prefects

Nina Smith

Emily Taylor

Katie Fulford

Tamzin Hope

Key Stage 4

Content 

The expectation is that all students will study AQA GCSE Physics (8463) as a separate science award, taught by specialist Physics teachers.

The course aims to:

  • develop students’ interest in, and enthusiasm for, Physics
  • develop a critical approach to scientific evidence and methods in Physics
  • enable students to acquire and apply skills, knowledge and an understanding of how science works and its essential role in society
  • enable students to acquire scientific skills, knowledge and the understanding necessary for progression to A Level Physics and other courses

Students on this route will be assessed in two final examination papers, each worth 50% of the final grade. Each 1 hour 45 minute exam paper incorporates practical skills questions alongside the subject content and will assess students through multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response style questions.

Assessment and feedback 

Students are continually assessed by their teachers during a whole range of activities. In addition their progress is monitored by:

  • Common Tests – given to all students as indicated in the Scheme of Work. Tests are marked using common mark schemes.
  • Examinations – taken each year by all students at an appropriate time for the course. Internal exams are set using past exam papers and mark schemes wherever possible. Exam percentages are entered onto the relevant year database.

Specification 

Please click here for the AQA GCSE Physics specification

A Level

Content 

At Key Stage 5 we offer a two year AQA Physics A Level (7408).  This course builds upon GCSE knowledge but seeks to inspire students, nurture a passion for Physics and lay the groundwork for future study in science or engineering. At A Level, students are required to learn and retain a large body of factual information and to be able to employ creative and analytical thinking skills. There is however, no pre-requisite for external students to have followed the AQA GCSE course prior to joining this A Level course in the Sixth Form as concepts from the GCSE course that arise at A Level are reviewed in lessons and in detail when required.

This course is designed to encourage students to:

  • develop their interest in and enthusiasm for Physics, including developing an interest in further study and careers in the subject
  • develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of How Science Works
  • develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of Physics and how they relate to each other
  • appreciate how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how Physics contributes to the success of the economy and society

Practical skills are an important element of the course and there are 12 standard practical tasks that students will undertake across the two years. Practical skills demonstrated by the students in these tasks are formally assessed through the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) throughout the two years to award the separately reported Practical Endorsement.

The entire A Level course is assessed by three 2 hour terminal examinations. Papers will cover the knowledge, content and application of Physics concepts and include a mix of long and short answer questions, along with a number of multiple choice sections. The content, methodology and data analysis from the 12 standard practical tasks are formally assessed in the terminal examinations.

Assessment and feedback 

Students are continually assessed by their teachers throughout their lessons and independent study tasks. Past paper questions are regularly used in lessons and independent study tasks, with feedback given.

In addition progress is monitored by:

  • Common Tests – given to all students as indicated at the end of each topic. Tests are marked using common mark schemes.
  • Year 12 End of Year Examination – taken by all students Term 6. Internal exams are set using past exam papers and mark schemes wherever possible.

Required practical tasks are formally assessed using CPAC. Marks are formally recorded and feedback is given.

Specifcation 

Please click here for the AQA A Level Physics specification

Exam Support

Advice

We highly recommend that students independently attempt past paper questions throughout their courses at Key Stages 4 and 5.

We encourage students to use the Google Classroom where teachers provide additional resources throughout the year to support their courses.

We encourage students to use both GCSEPod and Educake to support independent study and revision.

On request, teachers are happy to make themselves available for students to meet them for short one-off tutorials outside of lesson times.

Key Stages 4 and 5, Science Support sessions run at lunchtimes, where students are able to bring past paper questions and topics to teachers and prefects who will be able to assist them.

Past papers

GCSE:

Please click here for the GCSE AQA Physics specification

A Level:

Please click here for the A Level AQA Physics specification

Useful external links 

www.cram.com – we have set of revision cards for GCSE. Author “HPhysics”

www.educake.co.uk – your Biology, Chemistry and Physics teachers will give you your login

www.gcsepod.com – follow the instructions from the login page to create your username and password

Careers

Potential careers

  • Accountancy
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Astrophysics
  • Banking
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Clinical Engineering
  • Computing
  • Defence Employment
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geophysicist
  • IT Consultant
  • IT Systems Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Physicist
  • Medicine
  • Meteorology
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Quality Control Scientist
  • Researcher
  • Solicitor
  • Teacher
  • Veterinary Medicine

Extra-curricular

Clubs

STEM club 

Key Stage 4 Science Support 

Key Stage 5 Science Support

Trips and visits 

Big Bang Fair South East 2017