In the UK, as in many other countries in the world, the number of students taking demanding A Level courses such as Physics has decreased steadily over the last twenty years, with the Royal Society estimating that the number of students studying Physics at A level has decreased by 37% since 1991. The Physics Department here at Lawrence Sheriff School aims to address this by providing our students with a rich, broad curriculum that stimulates their intellectual curiosity whilst fully preparing them for future studies.

Our department vision is ‘to develop a curiosity and understanding of the universe and the laws that govern its behaviour’. We do this by integrating practical work throughout the curriculum, allowing students the chance to find out how things work for themselves, and pushing our students to look at physics outside and beyond the requirements for our course.

Over the last 10 years, the Physics results at both GCSE and A level have been excellent, with consistently 70-80% of students achieving Grades A* to B at A Level and 9 to 7 at GCSE over this time. More importantly, we provide a high level of value added.

The size of our cohort of Year 12s grows every year, with more than 50 students taking the subject at A Level this year. We have two dedicated Physics teachers with different specialisms who both teach from Year 9 to Year 13, giving our students the continuity and expertise that they need to succeed. All of our Post-16 classes are taught by both teachers.


Years 7-8

Year 7 and 8 students are taught all three sciences by the same teacher, a Science specialist, with three week blocks of each science taught at a time.

The Physics components of the course aim to provide a broad foundation from which students can go on to succeed at GCSE. Year 7s are taught about Energy, Waves and Electricity, whilst Year 8 are taught about Motion, Forces and Space.

Years 9

Year 9 is a transition year for our students. This is the first year that they are taught by dedicated Biology, Chemistry and Physics teachers for each of the three sciences.

In Physics, we have handpicked appropriate topics from the GCSE Course that allow our students to develop the foundational skills needed to succeed at GCSE. This includes the study of Energy, Particles and Waves, all of which are taught with the rigour of GCSE but adjusted to meet the needs of the National Curriculum for Science.

Students then start being taught their full GCSE at the end of Year 9 / start of Year 10.


Year 10-11

Course: Physics GCSE
Board: Edexcel
Specification Code: 1PH0
How course is assessed: Two 1 hour 45 minute papers.

Years 12-13

Course: Physics A level
Board: Edexcel
Specification Code: 9PH0
How course is assessed: Three examination papers (Paper 1 30%, Paper 2 30% and Paper 3 40%)


 Students’ views …
“Inspired greater interest in the subject” “A variety of visual aids and experiments were used to explain theories” “Supported me, answered my questions, and helped me when I was stuck!” “Opportunity for lunchtime and after school advice and revision was invaluable”


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