Physics is a practical subject that seeks to explore the rules which govern how the universe works. The Physics Department is housed in three inter-linked, modern, well equipped laboratories. The subject is taught by two full time specialist teachers and supported by three scientists and a technician. Our educational aim in the department is to encourage curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject, whilst at the same time ensuring that the boys are taught to a rigorously high standard, so that they can pursue the subject successfully as far as they would wish. There is a spirit of enthusiasm and fun within the department; we really do enjoy teaching Physics and aim to share this enthusiasm and passion with the boys.
From the moment boys enter the school in Forms 1 and 2 (Years 7 & 8) they are taught science as separate disciplines. All the Physics lessons are taught within the department by science specialists, with the subject matter covered being taken from the Common Entrance Science specification. This is designed to foster an early interest in the subject, whilst also giving the boys the best possible preparation for entry into the Third Form. We also run trips to Rutherford Appleton Laboratories and Oxford Brookes University for their respective STEM events to engage boys in Physics in the wider world.
All boys study Physics as a separate subject in the Third Form, and are taught in sets depending on their ability in Mathematics/Science. The material covered in this year is taken from the Edexcel IGCSE Physics specification, and enables the boys to get a head start with their GCSE studies. In the Fourth and Fifth Form boys have a choice between Dual Award Science and the Sciences as separate subjects. Those boys who choose to study Physics as a separate GCSE will follow the Edexcel IGCSE Physics specification, which includes a blend of interesting modern topics, relevant and engaging practical work, and some challenging extension topics towards the end of the course. This specification contains a good deal more Physics content than traditional ‘GCSE Double Award Science’ courses and provides an excellent foundation for those boys who wish to study the subject further.
For those boys wishing for a little extra, they can compete in the British Physics Olympiad each year, pitting their wits against some challenging questions. Last year all the boys involved achieved a Silver Award, the second highest honour available. We also take part in a The Bloodhound Project, a national STEM event available for 1st form to 5th form (Years 7 to 11). A challenge designed to enthuse the next generation of scientists and engineers by researching, designing, building, testing and racing a rocket car. In our first year of the competition three of our teams reached the regional finals thanks to their ingenuity and knowledge application.
In the Sixth Form, our boys are prepared for the AQA Physics ‘A’ examinations. The course is now linear so there are no public exams until the end of the U6th year which makes the A-level course far more satisfying as it allows time for boys to develop a rounded view of the subject with an investigative approach at its core. The subject is a popular choice amongst the boys, and we currently have two sets in both the Upper and Lower Sixth Forms. Many of the boys who study Physics in the Sixth Form go on to read either Sciences or Engineering at University, and indeed it is a useful subject for those who wish to read Medicine, Veterinary Science, Psychology and Philosophy. It is a highly prized A-level subject since it shows that the candidate has a good level of numeracy, and the ability to think logically and analytically.
Head of Physics