Physics is a radical, fast moving and innovative subject which covers a huge range of topics in science.

The girls follow a syllabus that is broadly in line with the physics content of the National Curriculum, but is greater in both breadth and depth. We encourage students to link the subject content to their everyday experiences. There is a strong element of practical work, as well as a thorough grounding in the theory behind the experiments. We also emphasise the development of the essential scientific thinking skills that underpin the subject matter.

Our U6 students have added to the enjoyment of the lower school girls’ experience of physics by running weekly Science Club sessions. These have covered such diverse subjects as making lava lamps, cushioning eggs and propelling cars.

Not to be outdone, three of the L6 have organised an Astronomy Club, setting up our telescope on the school field and inviting younger students to observe the Moon. We hope to build on its success throughout the years.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Students are visited by outside speakers and experts in the field of physics to stretch their learning and understanding of the subject outside of the academic world. There is also a weekly science club for the lower school, run by Sixth Form students, as well as an Astronomy Club.

Lower School Curriculum

Physics is a radical, fast moving and innovative subject which covers a large range of topics in science. 
Students follow a syllabus that is broadly in line with the physics content of the National Curriculum, but is greater in both breadth and depth.


  • We encourage students to link the subject content to their everyday experiences
  • There is a strong element of practical work, as well as a thorough grounding in the theory behind the experiments
  • We also emphasise the development of the essential scientific thinking skills that underpin the subject matter 


The topics covered link closely with the AQA Key Stage 3 Curriculum, which prepares students with the skills and knowledge required for GCSE study. We commence the GCSE course in the Lent term of U4.

Throughout our Key Stage 3 curriculum we emphasise practical and scientific enquiry skills, enabling students to plan and implement safe and valid investigations and then to analyse their data and evaluate their experimental methods. 

Technology is used when appropriate: for example, to collect more accurate data in an experiment, to produce written reports and presentations, and to analyse data from experiments and secondary sources. Our curriculum is supported by an online textbook and consolidation and extension resources, which can be accessed both within and outside the classroom. 

L4 (Year 7)

Forces: the effect of forces on motion including balanced and unbalanced forces, speed, distance-time graphs and gravity.

Electricity: electric circuits including potential difference, resistance, series and parallel circuits, current and charge.

Energy: food and fuels, energy resources, power, dissipation and energy in the home.

Sound: the speed of sound, amplitude, frequency and pitch and how the ear works.

4s (Year 8)

Forces: friction and drag, stretching objects, turning forces, pressure and stress.

Energy: work done, temperature, conduction, convection, radiation and insulation.

Magnetism: magnetic fields including permanent magnets, electromagnets and their uses.

Waves: longitudinal and transverse waves, ultrasound and the electromagnetic spectrum.

U4 (Year 9)

Light: reflection, refraction, colour and how the eye works.

Space: the night sky, satellites, the Solar system, the galaxy, phases of the Moon and the Earth in space.

Energy: stores and transfers: gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, elastic potential energy, power and efficiency.

Heat: conductivity, infrared radiation and specific heat capacity.

Energy resources: nuclear power, fossil fuels, biofuels, renewable energy, environmental concerns and supply and demand.

Middle School Curriculum


Physics studies the hidden laws that explain why all matter and energy in the known universe exists, where it comes from and why it behaves the way it does. Physics is applied in every sphere of human activity, including such diverse areas as developing sustainable forms of energy production, medical scans and radiotherapy, designing and manufacturing sports equipment, understanding and predicting earthquakes and developing computer games.

The GCSE course has an emphasis on ‘scientific literacy’ as well as scientific content. In addition to studying a body of scientific knowledge, importance is attached to scientific skills and an understanding of how science works in the world at large as well as in the laboratory.

Students are encouraged to extend their knowledge using resources provided on the class OneNotes, as well as materials found through their own research. They can enter competitions such as the British Physics Olympiad Year 10 Challenge and are given the opportunity to attend talks from practising scientists and engineers. Students are encouraged to use digital devices in lessons when appropriate, and we use digital sensors and software to collect and analyse data during experiments.

The topics covered are:

  • Energy
  • Electricity
  • Particle model of matter
  • Atomic structure
  • Forces
  • Waves
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism
  • Space physics


There are two written papers, each worth 50% of the GCSE. The papers are offered at both Higher tier and Foundation tier, but both papers must be taken at the same tier. We expect that the students will be entered for Higher tier, which assesses grades of 9 to 4.

There is no formally assessed practical coursework. Students have to complete ten compulsory practical activities. Knowledge and understanding of these experiments and general practical work will form at least 15% of the marks in the written papers. 

Paper 1 – 1hr 45 minutes Energy; Electricity; Particle model of matter; and Atomic structure.
Paper 2 – 1 hr 45 minutes Forces; Waves; Magnetism and electromagnetism; and Space physics.

Sixth Form Curriculum

A Level Physics

Physics is, quite simply: “the study of every phenomenon in the universe, from the smallest fragments of matter to the largest assemblage of galaxies and everything else in between”! Studying this fascinating subject at A Level develops logical thinking and analytical skills.


To study core philosophical, theological and ethical theories and learn to evaluate them critically. Through the study of physics students will develop the ability to formulate and structure an argument, identify and draw out weaknesses and to express themselves logically and with precision.

Syllabus A Level – OCR H556

The A Level Physics course consists of 6 modules: 

  • Module 1 – Development of practical skills in physics (skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation)
  • Module 2 – Foundations of Physics (physical quantities and units, scalars and vectors, measurements)
  • Module 3 – Forces and motion (motion, forces, energy and power, materials, momentum)
  • Module 4 – Electrons, waves and photons (charge and current, energy, electric circuits, resistance, waves, quantum physics)
  • Module 5 – Newtonian world and astrophysics (thermal physics, oscillations, circular motion, gravitational fields, astrophysics)
  • Module 6 – Particles and medical physics (capacitors, electric fields, electromagnetism, nuclear and particle physics, medical physics)

Beyond the syllabus, students take part in British Physics Olympiad competitions, are given opportunities to attend lectures by leading physicists and engineers, and are encouraged to make use of books, journals and on-line resources to broaden and deepen their knowledge of physics and its applications.


The 3 written papers for A Level physics are as follows:

  • Paper 1 - (2 hours 15 minutes)
    Modelling Physics - covers modules 1, 2, 3 and 5 and has a weighting of 37%
  • Paper 2 - (2 hours 15 minutes)
    Exploring Physics – covers modules 1, 2, 4 and 6 and has a weighting of 37%
  • Paper 3 - (1 hour 30 minutes)
    Unified Physics – covers all modules and has a weighting of 26%

Students are also expected to complete a minimum of 12 set practical activities to demonstrate practical competence. They will be given a separate pass/fail grade for this.

Other Subject Combinations

Physics can be taken alongside any other A Level subject. Popular choices include mathematics, chemistry, art, biology, computer science, economics and geography.

Potential Degree Courses and Career Choices

Although many universities still offer straight Physics and Theoretical Physics degrees, there is also an enticing range of subjects which can be taken alongside physics, ranging from Astrophysics to Music, from French to Business Studies and IT; almost any combination you could wish for. Engineering, Architecture, Product Design and Medical Physics are examples of areas in which students from Queen Anne’s have continued using physics in their future careers.

Academic Stretch

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 4

  • All year groups can access extension activities via their Kerboodle account.
  • Visit places like: The Science Museum (London), Winchester Science Museum and Planetarium, Wethecurious (Bristol), Science Oxford Centre.
  • Sign up for Silver CREST and design and carry out your own project in the weekly sessions.
  • Prepare for the British Physics Olympiad and British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad competitions: Junior Physics ChallengeExperimental ProjectJunior Astro Challenge.
  • Explore the QAS library catalogue. Try visual search – science - physics
  • Sign up for an ISAAC Physics account and work through the GCSE questions on any topic, with helpful feedback of your performance.
  • Enrol on a SmallPeice course, an Inspire course, or Space School/Senior Space School course.
  • Explore a variety of articles about physics, and get study advice from (from the Institute of Physics).
  • Look at current physics and science news stories at IFL.
  • The Khan Academy has a series of videos and articles about every topic in physics, some of which take you way beyond the GCSE curriculum.
  • Listen to Podcasts such as those from The Naked Scientists or if you fancy something much shorter, try these 60 second podcasts from Scientific American

Key Stage 5

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