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However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.

Stephen Hawking

The overarching aim of the Physics curriculum is to develop skills that can be transferred to just about any area of work, from setting up a business to saving the planet. Students have the opportunity to be able to think about abstract ideas but then must apply those ideas to various contexts and everyday applications.  There is also a full programme of practical work to complement the theory classes and to develop laboratory skills.

Further rationale behind our curriculum design includes having a carefully planned progression through our curriculum. The course begins with topics that will allow for students to obtain the basic skills and knowledge that are essential for them to be able to access more difficult concepts across the rest of the course.  We spent a great deal of time structuring the course to help students develop their understanding of the subject incrementally and holistically. We ensure the level of challenge is high enough for the most able, with scaffold and support available for students who need it.

Key Concepts

The key content in Physics are based on the following Big Ideas:




Atomic Structure

Electricity and its applications

Magnetism and Electromagnetism

Particle Model of Matter


Year 7 and 8 pupils develop their Physics understanding under the key themes of forces, magnetism, electricity, energy, waves, particle model of matter and astronomy and the universe. This key content fulfills the requirements of the National Curriculum and thread through the entire Physics curriculum from KS3 to KS5.  Our GCSE teaching starts in year 9 and follows a spiral structure. The fundamentals of energy, motion and waves are introduced in year 9, revisited, and built upon each year.

The GCSE Physics course begins with key concepts that will be essential for students to understand in order to access the rest of the course – Energy and Waves as these topics not only builds key knowledge and skills but have significant real-world applications and relevance that students find highly engaging and which allow their knowledge of key concepts to be applied and embedded.

In Year 10, the course then builds on the key skills covered in Year 9 in more detail, by introducing the Topic on Forces and its effects, Atomic structure and radioactivity and Electricity and its applications.

In Year 11 students study Magnetism and Electromagnetism, Particle Model of Matter, Forces and extension in springs and Astronomy as these comprise the more conceptually complex topics in the course. Covering these topics in Year 11 means that students have built up a solid foundation of physics knowledge and understanding which allows them to confidently access these ideas.  Students following the GCSE Combined Science course then have time to revise and review topics from earlier in the course and build essential physics skills (including practical, mathematical and application skills) in preparation for the GCSE exams. Students following the Separate Physics course cover Separate-only content from earlier topics, which allows them to access the more complex content at a stage when they have a secure knowledge of physics concepts from across the course, whilst simultaneously reviewing earlier topics.

A-level Physics is a mixture of highly conceptual thinking and very practical applications. Getting accurate results from experiments requires practice and competence in the use of a variety of equipment. At the same time experimental work also requires students to be precise in recording their observations and disciplined in the layout and analysis of the data. Students will also develop their written communication skills as they draw conclusions from the evidence and explain their ideas

Key Skills

Scientific enquiry develops the skills in science which are essential to the understanding of concepts in all aspects of science and the development of new ideas. The areas are detailed as below:

Developing scientific thinking

Practical skills– manipulating scientific apparatus and developing scientific techniques including measurement

Investigative skills – understanding the idea of scientific enquiry

Analytical skills – handling data and evidence

Problem solving skills – developing an inquisitive mind

Mathematical skills– manipulating numbers, data, and statistics

Application skills – applying knowledge

Evaluative skills– use of evidence in explanation, justifying experimental techniques

Developing vocabulary, units, symbols and nomenclature

What is taught?

Curriculum Map Physics

Academic Literacy in Physics

Students will be expected to explain phenomena scientifically through the recall and application of scientific key terms, vocabulary, and concepts. They will need to use terms linked to scientific enquiry. To do this, students will be encouraged to keep vocabulary and key term glossaries, engage in independent research and the reading of a variety of texts, take part in discussions and debates. They will be questioned regularly, set written tasks and key term tests.

Students are encouraged to extend their interest in Physics by… 

Reading around the subject

Including key literature as part of research into specific topic areas of study

Utilising the LRC resources

Watching relevant documentaries or programmes

Utilising the EY Stem app

Attending Science club

Enrichment Opportunities

EPQ topics and titles relevant to Physics for potential science students.

Further opportunities from universities advertised.

Unifrog, UCAS

Career talks

Visit to Greenwich Maritime Museum and Planetarium where students attend workshops and are given talks by PhD students about their research as well as about prospective career paths in engineering and space.

Attending talks about key physics developments at University of Kent

Physics Olympiad

Careers Guidance and Support for Physics:






MGSG Careers