Ms J Davies
Physics is the study of the laws that govern the universe and explain the phenomena we observe all around us. We want out students to appreciate the wonder of the world and beyond. We aim to give students the fundamental understanding of these principles and the scientific skills required to conceptualise and apply these ideas to solve problems. The nature of physics is very abstract and requires logical reasoning and the ability to make links between different ideas. It is this way of thinking that we want to develop in our students, as this will help students in many future careers, including those that are not directly related to physics.
Our students will be the generation that solves the challenges that the world faces today. We want to give our students the skills and understanding to solve these complex problems, whether it is in the personal lifestyle choices they make or the vocations they choose to follow.
Key Stage 3:
Physics at WGHS is taught as part of a bespoke science course which aims to promote the enjoyment of the subject, develop the practical skills that students will need to study the subject further and embed an understanding of the core principles and the more abstract ideas of the subject.
In year 7, students scientific thinking is developed as they learn about more abstract ideas. They are introduced to the principles of forces and energy. They develop their understanding of energy learning how energy can be transferred as sound and heat. Students will also learn about the Solar System and apply their understanding of forces and energy to explain the observations we make about the Sun and the planets.
In year 8, the principles of forces and energy are developed further by challenging students with the more abstract ideas of electricity, magnetism, light and more complex ideas such as acceleration and forces working in equilibrium.
Key Stage 4:
Physics GCSE (AQA Physics Syllabus 8463)
In year 10 and 11 students continue the GCSE course begun in year 9.
Topics covered: Electricity (continued) particle model of matter, atomic structure, waves and forces.
Topics covered: Forces (continued), space physics, magnetism and electromagnetism
There will be regular assessments based on the topics covered together with regular equation and fact recall tests. At the end of topics there is a test to make sure that the work has been understood and to show the type of questions on each topic they are likely to be asked in the summer examination. Students are given plenty of notice of the test date and homework time to revise for the test and the teacher advises how best to set about learning the work. At the end of the year they will undertake an examination paper composed of GCSE standard questions.
Key Stage 5:
A Level Physics
AQA specification -7407
Physics A level is interesting, practical, challenging and very highly regarded by employers and Universities alike. Although Mathematics at A level is not required for the study of A level Physics, it is highly recommended. Those who are intending to pursue Physics or Engineering to degree level will need to have also studied Mathematics to A level. To enter the course students must have achieved a minimum of a GCSE grade 7 in Physics or Science.
- Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion, and behaviour through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.
- In Year 12 we begin to introduce ‘Modern Physics’ topics which will be brand new to the pupils, including Quantum Physics and Particle Physics. In addition, the course builds on the key concepts of matter, energy and forces which have been covered in some depth during the GCSE course. Here, we look again at forces and how they cause linear motion of objects. The course is far more mathematical in its approach to physical theories and pupils are given the opportunity to work on manipulation and derivation of physical formulae, in addition to a more technical use of prefixes, standard form and units. In addition, pupils develop their understanding of energy in topics on waves and electricity. Practical work is at the heart of the A-level syllabus, and the required practical elements will give the pupils the opportunity to embed their skills and knowledge. Pupils will carry out 7 of the 12 required practicals during Year 12, ensuring that they are able to access the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) elements of the course.
- In Year 13, pupils will continue to develop their understanding of the forces and motion topics covered in Year 12, including the study of moments, circular motion and Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM). The idea of ‘force fields’ is thoroughly explored here, with mathematically rigorous sections on gravitational fields, magnetic fields and electric fields. These concepts are then combined with prior learning on electricity to explain, from a mathematical view-point, the concept of electromagnetic induction. With their newly acquired knowledge of particle physics, nuclear physics is also explored in a much greater depth than previously studied at GCSE. In addition, pupils are provided with an opportunity to explore a specialist area of Physics to introduce them to one on the many specialist areas that are available for further study at university level – this is currently the AQA Astrophysics option. Practical work is at the heart of the A-level syllabus, and the required practical elements will give the pupils the opportunity to embed their skills and knowledge. Pupils will carry out 5 of the 12 required practicals during Year 13, ensuring that they are able to access the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) elements of the course.
Progression to Career/University courses:
A-level Physics is an important qualification for many careers. Some students go on to study Physics at University. This may lead to a career in research and development, either in a University or in industry. Perhaps the majority of those who study A-level Physics do so in order to apply their Physics knowledge in another subject area at University. Examples of this are the many branches of applied Maths, Engineering, Electronics and Meteorology. For these careers, A-level Physics is essential. Another group of students choose to study Physics because they feel that it will be useful even if not essential for their career. Those intending to follow a career in Medicine or Biochemistry fall into this category. The remainder are going to follow a career in a completely unrelated area such as Law or Accountancy. This group of students may have chosen Physics simply because they enjoy it or because they know that it is highly regarded by Universities as a test of problem-solving ability and logical thought. Whatever a student’s motivation, a Physics AS or A level never fails to look impressive on a CV. It is a challenging but equally rewarding course enjoyed by an increasing number of students at WGHS.
A weekly Science support club is available for all students.
Year 8 have a visit to Think Tank in Birmingham