Key Stage 3

What will I learn Year 7

The first big idea students encounter is that changing the movement of an object requires a net force to be acting upon it, which they learn through study of the forces they encounter every day.  Learning about waves, by studying light and sound, introduces the idea that objects can affect other objects at a distance whilst remaining in the realm of children’s experience.

What will l learn Year 8

A study of energy transfer allows students to learn that the total amount of energy is always the same but can be transferred from one store to another during an event. Students also examine how energy is being produced in the UK and its sustainability for the future.

Students begin to abstract these ideas from their day-to-day experience through an in-depth study of electricity, developing their problem solving and analytical skills as they build, investigate and model circuits.  Studying space shows that the laws of physics apply on every scale imaginable, and introduces the big idea that our solar system is a very small part of one of billions of galaxies in the Universe.

What will I learn Year 9

Students move onto look at the application of these big ideas, allowing them to revisit and deepen their understanding of them through a wide range of practical opportunities.  Studying atomic theory shows that the laws of physics apply on every scale imaginable, and introduces the big idea that all matter in the Universe is made of very small particles.

At the same time, they develop and refine their mathematical skills, using equations to model them in theoretical terms.  They begin this with a study of energy resources


Key Stage 4

  • Course – Combined Science or Physics
  • Exam board information – AQA
  • Exam Specification – GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy Or GCSE Physics
  • Code – 8464 or 8463

Tested in paper 1:

  • Topic 1 – Energy
  • Topic 2 – Electricity
  • Topic 3 – Particle model of matter
  • Topic 4 – Atomic structure

Tested in paper 2:

  • Topic 5 – Forces
  • Topic 6 – Waves
  • Topic 7 – Magnetism and electromagnetism
  • Topic 8 – Space (GCSE Physics only)


Key Stage 5


Exam Board: AQA

Structure of Course:

Physics allows us to study the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles and is crucial to understanding the world around us.

Physics is fundamentally an experimental subject. The course is designed to provide numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality and equip you with the essential practical skills that you need. By studying physics, you will develop skills that are highly valued by employers including analytical skills, problem solving, practical skills, mathematical ability and scientific enquiry.

In year 12 you will study particles and radiation, waves, mechanics and materials and electricity. You will also build your practical skills ready to tackle your first of 12 practical assessments.

In year 13 you will study further mechanics and thermal physics, fields and their consequences, nuclear physics and an option topic. The option agreed by the class could be astrophysics, medical physics, engineering physics, turning points in physics or electronics.


At the end of the course learners sit three exams. They also complete a range of 12 compulsory, assessed practicals throughout the course.

Paper What is assessed


Paper 1

(2 hours)

Measurement and their errors, Particles and radiation, Waves, Mechanics and materials, Electricity, Periodic Motion 34% of total A level
Paper 2

(2 hours)

Thermal Physics, Fields and their consequences, Nuclear Physics (and knowledge from paper 1) 34% of total A level
Paper 3

(2 hours)

Practical skills and data analysis

Option topic (e.g. astrophysics)

32% of total A level


Studying physics and learning the skills that it includes opens the doors to many career paths, not just those directly related to physics. The possibilities are endless but include: Acoustic consultant, Clinical scientist, medical physics, Geophysicist, Higher education lecturer, Metallurgist, Meteorologist, Nanotechnologist, Radiation protection practitioner, Research scientist (physical sciences), Secondary school teacher, Technical author, Actuary, Applications developer, Data analyst, Nuclear engineer, Operational researcher, Patent attorney, Software engineer, Telecommunications researcher, Law, Banking and finance.