Physics is an important subject in today’s technological world and studying Physics opens up a wealth of opportunities for students both at university and in their future careers. The Physics department is well resourced and is built on a strong team of 9 staff with backgrounds in education, business and research. A core strength of the department lies in its teamwork and passion for the subject. Teachers supplement academic work with extra-curricular activities that include visits to Institute of Physics lectures, EPQ projects, workshops and competitions including access to all the British Physics Olympiad competitions and projects.
All Lower School students study Physics and take the Cambridge IGCSE course (specification 0972). This is a two-year course that begins in Form 4 and culminates with three exams at the end of Form 5. The course is broad, covering a wide range of topics that are challenging and interesting. There are four lessons per week with a large emphasis on practical work. The IGCSE course naturally provides a strong foundation for those who choose to progress on to the A Level course and students find a large amount of overlap between their studies in IGCSE Physics and the first year of study at A Level. The IGCSE results are very impressive with 90% achieving grades 7-9 and 55% achieving the top grade 9 in 2018.
At A Level, students study the AQA AS and A Level courses (specifications 7407 and 7408). In 6.1 the students study the AS course, building upon their existing knowledge whilst introducing new topics such as particle physics. There are eight lessons per week with a large emphasis on practical work. At the end of 6.1 students take AS examinations consisting of two papers. In 6.2 students continue to study the full A Level course, progressing onto more advanced topics including an optional topic chosen by the teacher. At the end of 6.2 students take A Level examinations consisting of three papers. Students also complete twelve practical tasks over the two years which are assessed by the teacher and provide a practical endorsement. The 2018 A Level Physics results are excellent; 82% of students achieved a top grade A at AS and 83% achieved an A* or A at A Level. These results enable Physics students to study at top universities in a wide range of courses. Some continue to study Physics at university, but the subject is regarded as an excellent foundation for careers in research, natural science, engineering, chemical engineering, materials science and medicine. Often students will also go on to careers in other professions such as business, the law and finance.