AQA GCSE Physics 8463 (Foundation or Higher)
Our KS4 physics curriculum provides opportunities for students to further develop their substantive science knowledge of the ‘big ideas in physics’ (e.g. matter, energy) as well as further developing the disciplinary ‘working scientifically’ knowledge that students require to become competent scientists e.g. knowledge of how scientists carry out experiments, knowledge of different scientific techniques, knowledge of data analysis and knowledge of how evidence can be used to deepen explanations. As well as this key scientific knowledge, students will develop their reading skills, maths skills, metacognitive skills sand practical skills.
Students complete summative assessments each term as well as a cumulative assessments during the Year 10 assessment week and the December and March PPEs in Year 11, which assesses them on the substantive and disciplinary knowledge they have learnt in all prior topics. Students are given subject-specific feedback on all summative assessments and are expected to complete their ‘next steps actions’ in order to help them improve. To prepare for assessments, students are expected to complete practical, maths and exam questions on the revision sheet for each topic. For practicals, teachers observe student competence of a range of skills e.g. correct use of equipment, being able to work safely, able to correctly follow or plan a method.
The sequencing of the KS4 physics topics was primarily driven by the desire to have the most logical progression of topics that was sympathetic to the developing mathematical ability of students. The demanding maths content of P8 Forces in Balance, P9 Motion and P10 Forces and Motion therefore meant they were pushed into year 11. The most logical sequence for the remaining topics in year 10 starts with P7 Radioactivity and finishes with P16 Space. We have also ensured that students have opportunities to develop and deepen their disciplinary knowledge of ‘working scientifically’ e.g. how the model of atoms has changed over time and the different methods that scientists use to answer questions.
AQA GCE Physics (7408)
Our KS5 Science curriculum is designed around students’ specific interests for future pathways. A level qualifications in Science open up opportunities to study related subjects in higher education. Depending on the specialist area our students are interested in, our biology, chemistry and physics curricula allow students to build upon the knowledge and skills they have developed through KS3 and 4 to help them make informed choices about their futures.
The level of scientific knowledge and understanding increases and students are required to link information in logical manner, developing an appreciation for the interaction of different disciplines in Science. More focus is placed on the scientific process and students carry out a number of required practicals which allow students to develop their investigative skills and disciplinary knowledge.
Assessments take place on a regular basis, which provide an opportunity for students and teachers to determine progress made, identify gaps in knowledge and address misconceptions. The topics follow an ever-increasing level of complexity and allow scaffolding of information to take place, with the earlier topics leading on from GCSE to the A2 content increasing in complexity and demand and preparing students for their future pathways. Students are supported throughout the course for their unique futures, including guidance on writing their UCAS personal statements, visits from BR alumni to discuss university study and working in scientific careers and extracurricular visits.
Physics is both a theoretical and a practical subject. In the first year students study 4 main topics:
Interspersed with these is the theory and practice of experimental work. This provides variety and also helps students consider whether they wish to study a particular aspect of Physics or Engineering when they apply for University or Apprenticeships at the start of Year 13.
In the second year there are a further four topics:
Extra-curricular opportunities are sought to extend students’ understanding and application of material.