Physics is the scientific study of the natural world at all scales, ranging from subatomic particles to super-clusters of galaxies. It is a fascinating and rewarding subject for those prepared to accept its intellectual challenge.

The department provides a rich curriculum, which is studied in well-resourced laboratories using modern techniques, such as computer simulations, data logging and data analysis software. Practical work is an essential part of the subject in all years.

Following the first year of general science, which focuses on practical skills, Year 8 physics begins with an introductory course based around the topics of forces and motion, energy, and astronomy. At the end of the year, boys have the opportunity to enter an astronomy essay competition.

All pupils study the Edexcel IGCSE course, which provides a comprehensive and stimulating science education, as well as good preparation for more advanced physics courses. Topics studied for IGCSE include: forces and motion; electricity; waves; energy resources and energy transfers; solids, liquids and gases; magnetism and electromagnetism; radioactivity and particles; and astrophysics.

  • Sixth Form

    In the Sixth Form students have the option of studying Physics at Higher Level and Astronomy at Standard Level. Physics Higher Level is essential for future study in physics or engineering, but provides good preparation for any discipline in which the ability to reduce a problem to its essentials is important. It is recommended that Physics Higher Level is studied alongside Maths Higher Level due to the mathematical demand of the course. 

    Physics Higher Level is centred around five main concepts:

    • Space, time and motion
    • The particulate nature of matter
    • Wave behaviour 
    • Fields 
    • Nuclear and quantum physics 

    Students have the opportunity to study the world from the smallest to the largest-scale, developing their problem solving and practical skills as they do so. 

    Astronomy Standard Level allows students to pursue their interest in the large scale universe and centres around the four topics of stars, the planets, galaxies and cosmology. This course can be studies alone or alongside Physics Higher Level.

  • Beyond the classroom
    Students are offered a variety of opportunities to engage with physics beyond the classroom. There is a STEM club for the younger year groups that is supported by volunteers studying physics in the Sixth Form. In this club students have the opportunity to build robots, look at stars and launch rockets. There are external competitions run by the Physics Olympiad for students in the GCSE years and Sixth Form to participate in from the Junior Physics Challenge in Year 10 to the Physics Olympiad in Year 13. Students regularly achieve Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in these competitions and are happy to challenge themselves with more advanced problems in these competitions.
    The University of Birmingham is ideally placed for boys to attend talks and masterclasses; the Institute of Physics regularly holds public lectures there that students attend. Sixth Form physicists also have the opportunity to attend a week-long Particle Physics Summer School at the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. We also encourage students to apply for university experience courses, for example through the Engineering Development Trust.

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