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We ensure that the Physics curriculum is intellectually challenging and relevant to the students of the Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School.  We establish a stimulating environment, which inspires students’ love of Physics. 

With the idea that ‘Science is everywhere’ as our inspiration, we introduce early on the fundamental ideas of Physics such as energy, forces, particles and matter. We seek to ensure an understanding of these concepts that supports the ability of students to access the curriculum across all the sciences.

We encourage students to consider and appreciate the need to maintain a sustainable world through developing their understanding of renewable and non-renewable resources and the impact of human technological advances upon the wider environment.

Learning through practical work is key in our curriculum to ensure students develop high level investigative skills, such as hypothesising, testing and evaluating, so they can investigate scientific theories and develop their practical and communication skills.

Physics staff continually seek to develop their knowledge and skills to deliver teaching that enables students to reach their full potential. We continually encourage students to consider progressing into STEM fields of study where that route might develop and promote their talents and aspirations.

Curriculum Summary 

Key Stage 3

Programme of Study

Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental science. 
Physics challenges our imagination, and it leads to great discoveries (like computers and lasers) that lead to technologies which change our lives—from healing joints, to curing cancer, to developing sustainable energy solutions. 
Physics encompasses the study of the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles.
Moreover, it's the basis of many other sciences; including chemistry, oceanography, seismology, and astronomy. KS3 Physics will be the starting point that inspires a love of Physics and Science.

Over the two years, the students will study the following:

  • Forces and their effects
  • Energy transfers and sound
  • Exploring contact and non-contact forces
  • Magnetism and electricity
  • Motion on Earth and in Space
  • Waves and energy transfer

Learning/Teaching Approach

Students will develop the following skills:

  • Thinking scientifically, working scientifically and practical skills are integrated into the learning activities, objectives and outcomes of each lesson.
  • Literacy and numeracy skills are boosted with key vocabulary for each topic highlighted and mathematics is integrated throughout to increase fluency.
  • Confidence is built in answering GCSE-style questions with tasks requiring longer, more complex answers incorporated into the scheme of work.


Students will be assessed in a range of skills:

Regular assessment will measure progress, with end of topic tests that will measure understanding of key concepts, processes and applications. Assessments will be used to feed back to pupils about how they can improve and progress in Physics.
Assessment will be used to inform that students are on target and making sufficient progress to meet or exceed their expected GCSE grade.

Key Stage 4

Qualification: GCSE

Awarding Body and Paper: AQA Physics 8463

Programme of Study

GCSE Physics gives students the chance to gain a good understanding of:

  • the use and transfer of energy
  • waves, radiation and space
  • particle physics
  • the application of Physics.

The specification is designed to give students the tools and concepts they need to be able to construct a scientific approach to solving problems. Students will learn to ask and answer questions about the fundamental laws that govern natural phenomena. This is done by integrating the 'How Science Works' approach throughout the specification.

Learning/Teaching Approach

Students are likely to be engaged by the aspects of the specification that they can relate to their everyday life, such as the efficiency of electrical appliances and braking distances of vehicles, as well as global concepts such as nuclear fission and fusion and evidence of the 'Big Bang' theory.


Assessment will compose of 2 final exams in Year 11.

Students studying Triple Science will sit two exams; both 1 hour 45 minutes and worth 50% each. Students studying Combined Science will sit two exams; both 1 hour 15 minutes and worth 50% each.  The exams will contain multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. There is no coursework or controlled assessment component.

What it can lead to

A level Physics and engineering.

Tier of Entry

Foundation/Higher Tier.

Key Stage 5

Qualification: A Level

Awarding Body and Paper: AQA Physics 7408

Programme of Study

The study of A level Physics introduces students to an understanding of the fundamental laws and principles that underpin the workings of our material world. The specification seeks to deepen students’ insights into the well-established ideas of energy, forces, electricity and magnetism as well as ensuring that students encounter contemporary fields of discovery such as quantum and particle physics. To complement the theoretical knowledge, understanding is built through practical work.  The impact of human technological advances upon the world around us is continually considered.

Learning/Teaching Approach

The specification is based on a series of modules:

  1. Measurements and their errors
  2. Particles and radiation
  3. Waves and optics
  4. Mechanics and materials
  5. Electricity
  6. (i) Further mechanics and (ii) thermal physics
  7. Gravitational, electric and magnetic fields
  8. Nuclear physics
  9. Option: Turning points in physics

“Turning points in physics” is currently the Module 9 option offered at BUCHS.  Within this option, students explore key ideas such as the photoelectric effect, wave-particle duality and special relativity, together with knowledge of the historical figures associated with them. We believe this option gives the broadest support for the range of students choosing Physics A Level.  In addition to the learning of specification content, students also work towards a Practical Endorsement component as part of their Physics A Level. This represents to employers and universities that students are competent in a range of practical investigations and have obtained core skills such as data presentation, safe and careful use of scientific equipment and referencing of their background research.


Assessment will comprise 3 final exams at the end of Year 13:

  • Paper 1            Modules 1 to 6(i)                                            2 hours
  • Paper 2            Modules 6(ii) to 8                                           2 hours
  • Paper 3            Module 9 and practical skills                       2 hours

The exams will contain multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. Students gain practical skills throughout the course; these are assessed in the written examinations as well as the Practical Endorsement.

What it can lead to

Physics A Level is a gateway to a wide range of university courses including Physics, Engineering, Mathematics, Economics, Architecture, Astronomy, Geophysics and Medical Physics.  It is also a highly regarded qualification for those wishing to enter careers in business and finance as the analytical and problem-solving skills developed are much sought after by employers.

Additional Points

The A Level Physics course of study requires a strong mathematical capability. A high grade attainment in GCSE Maths is therefore a prerequisite for course entry.