Physics is the study of the fundamental laws that govern all natural phenomena.
As such, it pervades every part of the world of science, technology and engineering. Physics has rarely been in such an exciting state as it is today. It concerns the challenge to discover the ultimate structure of matter and the universe. It also improves our everyday lives and the world we live in through the development of new technologies.
The key ingredient is a curious, questioning mind.
The Physics Department at Surbiton High School seeks to develop these minds by offering a broad range of activities to all age groups. Our enthusiastic team of teachers support the students in using a wide range of specialist equipment to discover more about the world around them and encourage them to embrace the broad variety of contexts to which Physics lends itself.
Physics in Year 8 is based loosely on the key concepts, processes and programmes of study set out in the revised Key Stage 3 National Curriculum framework. This provides the girls with a sound foundation for their GCSE studies, which commence in Year 9. ‘How Science Works’ continues to underpin the teaching during the year. Topics covered are forces, light and sound and hearing.
In Year 9, the girls start their AQA Physics GCSE Core Science specifications. The topics taught are waves and the electromagnetic spectrum, heat transfer and using energy. The GCSE course continues in Year 10, with topics covering aspects of electricity, radioactivity, nuclear theory and mechanics. Year 11 sees the conclusion of the GCSE course, with further work on mechanics. For those studying for the separate Physics GCSE, there is further work on mechanics, electromagnetism and medical physics. A significant majority of girls complete the separate Physics GCSE, with a minority completing the Double Award Science GCSE.
A-level Physics is a stepping stone to further study of a science-based subject at university. It is an extremely versatile qualification and is essential for electronics, engineering and pure sciences, and very useful for auxiliary science-based subjects, such as medicine. The intellectual training that one gets studying Physics, such as the use of applied mathematics and logical reasoning, as well as the scientific approach to problem-solving, can be considered useful for any profession. We follow the AQA GCE Physics specification A. This provides an excellent grounding in all of the key aspects of modern physics, such as mechanics, field theory and electromagnetism.
As a department, we have a key focus on ‘discovery learning’, supporting the development of independence both in the classroom and outside. Experimental physics is evident in the specialist labs for all year groups and independent work is a core part of our teaching, including the Forces project in Year 8 and the Simple Harmonic Motion project in Year 13. To this end, we also offer a range of co-curricular activities, such as an Astronomy Club (Y7-11), Go4SET (Y9) and EES (Y12). We also offer a variety of specialist trips, a recent highlight being the Year 12 trip to Culham and Diamond, one of the world’s leading particle physics experiments.
“That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer.” Jacob Bronowski (1908–1974), Polish-British mathematician and biophysicist.