Physics allows you to explain why things happen. Why does a plane fly, why does an ice skater spin faster when she pulls her arms in. Why can’t you make a swing catch another swing up? Why was Polonium 110 used as a poison, but not Polonium 209 or 211?

Physics is studied by all pupils from Years 7 to 11.

Aims

In the department we aim to stimulate curiosity and provide a positive atmosphere for the girls to hypothesise, take risks and succeed.

  • To use experimentation and modelling to develop explanations.
  • To encourage critical and creative thinking.
  • To develop the pupils’ scientific literacy, allowing them to take decisions based on scientific understanding and questioning the reliability and validity of evidence presented to them.
  • To encourage pupils to apply their scientific understanding throughout the school especially in other STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects.

Curriculum and Assessment Maps

Physics Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 7

Physics Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 8

Physics Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 9

Physics Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 10

Physics Curriculum and Assessment Map- Year 11

Staff

The Department boasts a wide range of experience. Current staff are:-

  • Mr. M. Nawaz (Head of Department)
  • Mr. C. Trotter (Assistant Head Teacher)
  • Miss D. Campbell (Teacher of Physics)
  • Mr. A.Lock (Physics Technician)

Additional Information

What your daughter may do in lessons:

At GCSE and A-Level, practical activities are used where ever possible show Physics in action. Pupils are expected to work together to solve problems and make sense of the observations they make. There is a greater emphasis on the use of Maths to model and determine physical relationships.

Year 7

The pupils will receive one lesson of Physics each week. During the year they will study two topics. They are (i) Forces and Space and (ii) Electricity and Magnetism.

End of unit tests provide an opportunity for teachers to give feedback and for pupils to reflect on their learning.

Year 8

The pupils will receive one lesson of Physics each week. During the year they will study two topics. They are (i) Light and Sound and (ii) Energy. They will also do a short project at the end of Year 8.

End of unit tests provide an opportunity for teachers to give feedback and for pupils to reflect on their learning.

Years 9, 10 and 11

All girls take Physics at GCSE following the AQA 8463 specification starting in Year 9. They are is assessed via two written papers both taken at the end of Year 11. Each paper is of 1 hour 45 minutes duration.

Practical skills are taught throughout the course and the pupils undertake ten required practical investigations. These are assessed in the written papers at the end of Year 11.

In Year 9 pupils have 4 lessons of Physics per fortnight and in Years 10 and 11 this increases to 5 lessons per fortnight.

End of topic tests and homelearning tasks provide teachers with an opportunity to provide feedback to the pupils and for pupils to reflect on their learning.

Post 16 (A Level)

We follow the AQA A Level Physics specification 7408 which consists of 3 written papers at the end of Year 13. Students complete 12 required practical investigations, for which they have to meet 5 competencies and the skills gained are assessed in their written papers.

Each group in Year 12 and 13 is taught by two teachers. Throughout the course the girls are assessed by both of their teachers. Tests are regularly set, marked and feedback provided. Practical skills are observed and outcomes monitored.

How can parents help?

Physics opportunities parents can provide:

  • Thinktank, Birmingham’s science museum has many exhibits related to Physics and its applications.
  • Science is a popular television topic, Horizon and programmes with Brian Cox or Jim Al-Khalili are frequently repeated on BBC3 and 4. Myth busters, Bang goes the theory, and Brainiac all approach entertainment from a scientific perspective. Documentaries with “Engineering” in the title would also be useful.
  • Encouraging your daughter to help with DIY and using tools gives an awareness of forces, levers and machines.
  • Encouraging your daughter to take advantage of the opportunities available at school.

Where next

An A-level in Physics can lead to a variety of courses at university such as Geophysics, Architecture, Computer Science, Finance and Economics, Materials Science etc. as well as the more traditional routes into Physics, Astronomy and Engineering.

One possibly appealing aspect of studying Physics at university is the diversity of physics careers, which are not set in any one direction. Physics graduates have skills that are in high demand in diverse sectors. These include skills relating to numeracy, problem-solving, data analysis and the communication of complex ideas, as well as a wider understanding of how the world works, on a scientific and human level.

This highly transferable and valued skillset also means physics graduates earn more. According to the Institute of Physics (IOP) those with a BSc in Physics earn 14% more than other graduates, and this increases to 18% more for those with a Master of Physics (MPhys).

Physics graduates are in demand in many industries such as research, education, finance, automotive and aerospace industries, defence, the public sector, healthcare, energy, materials, technology, computing and IT, meteorology.

Opportunities out of lessons

Physics opportunities outside of lessons:

  • Science club for years 7 and 8.
  • STEM club for Key Stage 4 and 5
  • Regular external competitions advertised on the notice boards
  • Activity day trip to GCSE Live (y10)
  • STEM activity day events (y9)
  • Birmingham University evening lecture series
  • EDT Headstart courses for y12
  • Nuffield Bursary placements in y12
  • Library:
    • Periodicals: Physics review, New Scientist magazine, FLIPSIDE,
    • Books: Bad Science, Alice in Quantum Land, and many others

Useful links