Jimw colyton grammar school 56




Physics is the study of energy. It allows us to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of many aspects of the world we live in: Why is the sky blue? How can a nuclear power station produce so much energy from something that is 2000 million times smaller than the width of a human hair? What is out there in the Universe and how did it all begin?

We cover a range of physics topics that are fun, thought provoking, informative and hopefully pass on infectious curiosity about the world around us.

- Mr Lynch, Head of Physics

Lower Years Physics

Physics Lower School Information

In the lower years we aim to build on the excitement that students naturally enter secondary school Science with. Our aim is to help students develop a curiosity for the world (and Universe) around them by engaging with hands-on practical investigations and thought-provoking lessons.

Lower years students also have the opportunity to take part in Year 7 Science Club and Year 8 STEM Club, the latter of which have been invited to the final of the Ultimate STEM Challenge at the Science Museum in London for four consecutive years.

The lower years curriculum will involve the following:


Year 7 

Year 8 



Light and Sound: Light




Light and Sound: Sound



Electricity and Magnetism




Working Scientifically

Electricity and Magnetism

Working Scientifically

Middle Years (Y9-11) Physics

Physics Middle School Information

In Physics during the middle years we aim to lay firm foundations for students wishing to study the subject, or related subjects further, and to the highest levels, but we also aim to equip all of our students with the skills that will prepare them for whatever they choose to do. By the end of their GCSE in Physics all students will have developed their ability to communicate complex ideas, solve problems, systematically analyse data, work effectively in a team, apply their numeracy skills and pay attention to detail.

The three year GCSE programme enables the Physics department to broaden its curriculum and provide opportunities to all students that would not be possible in a two year programme. Specifically, during Science Week in year 9, all students participate in a whole-day Engineering and STEM careers activity in which they work in groups on a Marble Run Rollercoaster engineering design and construction task. This is followed by the “People Like Me” activity, developed by WISE, in which students complete a personal quiz which allows them to identify STEM related careers that may suit their interests and personalities. To round off the day, we invite in Alumni who have gone on to have successful STEM careers to come back and share their stories; for example Tracey Poole, who is now a project manager for Atkins, a global Engineering Consultancy and has project managed an autonomous vehicle initiative in Bristol.

In year 10, all students will participate in the British Physics Olympiad Junior Physics Challenge. This is a challenge that is designed to engage and stretch students by offering them a range of problems to solve. It also offers selected students the opportunity to be invited to a one-day workshop in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford.

The Physics Department also hosts the annual Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Colyton Lecture which in previous years has been given by Professor Bob Stone and Dr David Baker, among others. Professor Stone is Chair in Interactive Multimedia Systems and the Director of the Human Interface Technologies Team at the University of Birmingham. Dr Baker worked with NASA on the Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programmes between 1965 and 1990 and has written more than 80 books on spaceflight technology and is the former editor of Jane’s Space Directory.

We maintain a strong link with the Ogden Trust and Exeter University through the Exeter and East Devon Physics Partnership. This leads to opportunities for our students to participate in a wide range of talks, for example in previous years our students have heard talks from the author Simon Singh and Plasma Physicist Melanie Windridge.

Our year 10 and 11 students also have the opportunity to help out with our weekend outreach activities at the Sidmouth Science Festival, Norman Lockyer Observatory, Garden and Food Festival and Honiton Festival of imagination. This gives them the opportunity to engage the local community, particularly primary aged children, with Physics.

We follow the AQA GCSE Physics specification.


Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Autumn Term

Particle Model of Matter

Working Scientifically



Forces 1


Spring Term


Year 9 Science Week Activities

Forces 2

British Physics Olympiad Junior Physics Challenge

Space Physics

Summer Term

Atomic Structure


Structured revision

Upper Years Physics

Upper Years Physics

At A-Level we follow the OCR B (Advancing Physics) course. This covers a number of topics including imaging, sensing circuits, quantum physics, space, gravity and particle physics. To quote from the specification: “Advancing Physics is a context-led approach. Learners study physics in a range of different contexts, conveying the excitement of contemporary physics. The course provides a distinctive structure within which candidates learn about fundamental physical concepts and about physics in everyday and technological settings.”


A-Level Physics students have the opportunity to help run the school’s Science Outreach programme whose aim is to engage local primary schools and the wider community and encourage an excitement about Science.

The outreach programme runs 'hands on' science activities at the Norman Lockyer Observatory’s Family Day and at the Sidmouth Science Festival among other events.

The department provides a number of extra-curricular Physics opportunities. A-Level Physics students are given the opportunity to participate in the British Physics Olympiad and are also encouraged to work on the challenging problems on Isaac Physics, which in multiple years has led to Colyton A-Level Physics students being selected amongst the top 50 students in the country to attend the residential Summer School at the University of Cambridge.

The upper years curriculum will involve the following:


Year 12 

Year 13 



Skills Toolkit

Wave Behaviour

Space, Time and Motion

Quantum Behaviour

Testing Materials

Looking Inside Materials

Our Place in the Universe

Modelling Oscillations: Simple Harmonic




Fundamental Particles






Modelling Decay: Radioactivity and Capacitors

Extended Practical Portfolio Task: Quality of Measurement

The Electric Field

Using the Atom

Mock Exam Preparation

Mock exams and feedback

Exam Preparation



The Gravitational Field

Modelling Decay: continued

End of Year Exam preparation and feedback

Extended Practical Portfolio Task: Research Report

Exam Preparation including Advanced

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