The King's (The Cathedral) School

Peterborough

Physics is considered the basis of most science. Its study of the universe and the world around us has taken us from the discoveries of fundamental particles at CERN to the creation of new materials that we now take for granted.

‘There is no science in this world like physics. Nothing comes close to the precision with which physics enables you to understand the world around you. It's the laws of physics that allow us to say exactly what time the sun is going to rise. What time the eclipse is going to begin. What time the eclipse is going to end.’

Neil de Grasse Tyson (Astrophysicist)

Physics is regarded as one of the most desirable academic subjects and is used in a wide range of applications from medical to financial. Studying Physics gives the student a broad range of skills and an ability to analyse and plan, much in demand in employment. There is still a shortage of physicists and has an enviable employment record. King’s Physicists have been very successful becoming Physicists, Engineers and entering many other professions.

KS3

In Key Stage 3, Physics is taught as part of the Combined Science course alongside Biology and Chemistry. The topics are:

Year 7

  • Forces
  • Space
  • Energy

Year 8

  • Light
  • Sound
  • Electricity
  • Magnetism

The Physics element of Key Stage 3 has a strong practical element that enhances the understanding that students will gain. It includes both formative and summitted assessments for each topic. Homework is set once a fortnight and should not take more than one hour.

KS3 Science aims to develop the scientific skills that students require to embark upon their KS4 studies.

KS4

Physics at Key Stage 4, including Year 9, is taught either as either GCSE Physics (AQA 8463) or as part of the Combined Science GCSE (AQA 8464). All teaching is carried out by specialist.

Year 9

All students begin following the Physics element of the GCSE combined Science specification. The Year 9 course aims to bridge the gap between Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 Physics concepts.

  • Energy Transfers & Resources: Which Energy Resources are used in Electricity Generation, and the Advantages and Limitations of these
  • Starting Electricity: Building on Circuit Knowledge from Key Stage 3, Building Circuits, plus Basic Key Terms
  • Basic Forces: Contact and Non-Contact Forces, Gravity and Mass, Stretching Materials, plus Hooke’s Law
  • Matter: Density, Changes in State, plus Internal Energy Changes that occur when Heating or Cooling

Year 10

At the beginning of Year 10 students will study either GCSE Combined Science or GCSE Physics. Regardless of course studied, they build on the previous year's learning and develop the concepts covered.

  • Electricity: Further Work on Circuits, Ohm's Laws, Power, plus Electrical Fields
  • Forces: Forces involved in Motions, Newton’s Laws, Momentum with the Addition of Gears, Moments, plus Atmospheric Pressure for those students studying GCSE Physics
  • Atomic Structure: The Development of the Structure of the Atom (linked with Chemistry), plus the Study of Radioactivity. GCSE Physics students will also study Fission and Fusion
  • Energy Changes & Transfers: Looking at Types of Energy and their Transfers and how Internal Energy of a Substance changes when Heated or Cooled

Year 11

Students continue to build on prior learning, studying waves, the Electromagnetic spectrum and Electromagnetism.

  • Waves: Types and Properties of Waves, plus Uses and Hazard of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. GCSE Physics students also study Sound and Seismic Waves
  • Magnetism & Electromagnetism: The Link between Current and Magnetic Fields, the Motor Effect, plus the Left Hand Rule. GCSE Physics students also study Electromagnetic Induction
  • Space: GCSE Physics students look at Circular Motion, Orbits and Stars

Exams

GCSE Physics

Paper 1 (1 hour 45 minutes)

50% of final mark

Paper 2 (1 hour 45 minutes)

50% of final mark

Energy (Year 9)

Electricity (Years 9/10)

Particle Model of Matter (Year 9)

Atomic Structure (Years 10/11)

Forces (Years 9/10)

Waves (Year 11)

Magnetism & Electromagnetism (Year 11)

Space (Year 11)

This paper will also draw on Energy Changes & Transfers, Mechanical & Electrical work and Energy Conservation from the topics in Paper 1

GCSE Combined Science – Physics Element

Physics Paper 1 (1 hour 15 minutes)

16.7% of final mark

Physics Paper 2 (1 hour 15 minutes)

16.7% of final mark

Energy (Years 9/10)

Electricity (Years 9/10)

Particle Model of Matter (Year 9)

Atomic Structure (Years 10/11)

Forces (Years 9/10)

Waves (Year 11)

Magnetism & Electromagnetism (Year 11)

This paper will also draw on Energy Changes & Transfers, Mechanical & Electrical work and Energy Conservation from the topics in Paper 1

KS5

At A-Level students follow the 2 year EDEXCEL 9PH0 A-Level course. The approach is very much hands on, with a high level of practical work throughout the course. This approach helps with the understanding and develops the skills needed to pass the practical competency element of the course, Practical Endorsement.

Year 12

In Year 12 students build on prior knowledge from GCSE in their studies of Mechanics, Electricity, Waves and Materials. They also carry out 8 Core Practicals which are assessed against a list of Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) which is set by the exam board. All practicals are carried out during normal lesson time. At the end of Year 12 all students will sit an exam that will examine all of the content studied.

  • Mechanics: this is the study of Newton’s Laws of Motion, Forces, Momentum and Projectiles
  • Waves and the Particle Nature of Light: This looks at Light and Sound Waves, Wave Particle Duality, the Photo Electric Effect and Lenses
  • Electrical Circuits: this unit looks at Circuits in more depth, studying EMF, Maximum Power Theorem
  • Materials: in this unit both Fluids and Solids are explored. Laminar and Turbulent Wavea are looked at, along with Archimedes' Principle and Stoke's Law. Hooke’s Law and Young’s Modulus are studied under the solid materials

Year 13

Year 13 students build on Year 12 work with Further Mechanics and Oscillations, whilst studying new topics on Thermodynamics, Fields (Electric, Magnetic and Gravitational), Nuclear & Particle Physics and Stars. Another 8 Core Practicals are carried out and assessed, with successful completion leading onto a Pass on the Practical Endorsement.

Exams

 

Advanced Physics I

Advanced Physics II

General and Practical Principles in Physics

Year 12 topics

Working as a Physicist

Mechanics

Electric Circuits

Working as a Physicist

Materials

Waves and the Particle Nature of Light

All topics

Year 13 topics

Further Mechanics

Electric & Magnetic Fields

Nuclear & Particle Physics

Thermodynamics

Space

Nuclear Radiation

Gravitational Fields

Oscillations

All topics

Time and Weighting

1 hour 45 mins

30%

1 hour 45 mins

30%

2 hours 30mins

40%

Department Staff

Mrs Marie White (MLW): Head of Physics Department
Mr Matthew Owens (MJO): Teacher of Physics
Mr Anthony McAleese (AJM): Teacher of Physics
Mrs Rosie McTavish (REM): Teacher of Physics
Mrs Penny Thorndike (PAT): Physics Technician