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Curriculum Director Rob Benson
Email r.benson@habstrustsouth.org.uk



Physics is the study of the mechanisms that underpin physical reality. It is the discipline that seeks to understand and map the rules and patterns that govern all aspects of the observable universe, from the smallest particles to the largest galaxies. The Physics curriculum across Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 revolves around the central themes of Energy, Particles and Forces. Through the study of these larger themes, other associated fields are interwoven and provide practical context. Magnetism, particles, states of matter, waves and electricity are presented cyclically throughout Key Stage 3 and return in Years 10 and 11. These topics provide insight and knowledge about the cornerstones of our everyday world and the role of our common technology. They also provide insight about larger-scale phenomena and the grandeur and power of mankind’s most sophisticated technological achievements. We keep to the requirements of the National Curriculum and will expand this with incorporating the latest research into lessons and getting students to research latest developments in the ever-changing field of Physics. We start the curriculum with the topic on Forces and work our way towards how we can use Energy and finally looking at the Particle model. This takes students on a systemic journey so that at each phase they are learning content built from the previous stage. Skills are embedded throughout the study of Physics, skills such as, development of scientific thinking, experimental skills and strategies, being able to analyse and evaluate information and using scientific vocabulary, quantities, units, symbols and nomenclature. We aim to provide students with the Physics knowledge to assess and comprehend the world around them and to see the boundless opportunities and promise of new discoveries. The knowledge of Physics we possess and teach is a legacy to be passed on, a birth right purchased by each successive generation. It is a discipline in constant evolution as our knowledge increases. It is the discipline that allows us to see the world as it is and to harness the endless opportunities inherent in our reality.

Key Stage 3 Overview

The Key Stage 3 curriculum starts each year looking at the key scientific skills that pupils will need. Skills such as asking scientific questions, how to plan investigations, recording data, analysing data and evaluating data. Students will arrive already having studied the force of gravity and how it pulls objects to Earth. They would be familiar with the concepts of friction, air resistance and water resistance and how they slow down moving objects. They would have studied light and how it travels in a straight line and how this explains the size and shape of shadows as well as how vibrating objects make sound. They would have studied space as far as the Earth, Moon and the Sun. They would also be familiar with the concepts of electricity and magnetism. This is all built upon in the curriculum where students will learn about the place of Earth in the Universe and about the forces that keep you from falling through the floor and allow astronauts to stand on the Moon. They will then go on to learn why it is important to insulate a house and what you pay for when you pay your electricity bill. Students will also find out how to use graphs to tell a story, and how forces explain gas and air. 


Year 7 topics

Physics 1 Chapter 1: Forces

Physics 1 Chapter 2: Sound

Physics 1 Chapter 3: Light 

Physics 1 Chapter 4: Space

Physics 3 Chapter 1: New technology in Physics 


Year 8 topics

Physics 2 Chapter 1: Electricity and Magnetism

Physics 2 Chapter 2: Energy

Physics 2 Chapter 3: Motion and Forces

Physics 3 Chapter 2: Turning points in Physics 

Physics 3 Chapter 3: Detection in Physics


Year 9 topics

Transition topics:

Physics Topic 1: Key concepts of Physics

Physics Topic 2: Motion and Forces

Physics Topic 3: Conservation of Energy

Physics Topic 4: Waves 


Key Stage 3 Homework

Homework set will be a range of extended writing questions and project work and will be set once a fortnight.


Key Stage 4 Overview

The key ideas specific to the Physics content include:

  • the use of models, as in the particle model of matter or the wave models of light and of sound
  • the concept of cause and effect in explaining such links as those between force and acceleration, or between changes in atomic nuclei and radioactive emissions
  • the phenomena of ‘action at a distance’ and the related concept of the field as the key to analysing electrical, magnetic and gravitational effects
  • that differences, for example between pressures or temperatures or electrical potentials, are the drivers of change
  • that proportionality, for example between weight and mass of an object or between force and extension in a spring, is an important aspect of many models in science
  • that physical laws and models are expressed in mathematical form. All of these key ideas will be assessed as part of this qualification, through the subject content.


Year 10 topics

Physics Topic 5: Light and the electromagnetic spectrum

Physics Topic 6: Radioactivity

Physics Topic 7: Astronomy – Separate Science Only

Physics Topic 8: Energy – Forces doing work

Physics Topic 9: Forces and their effects

Year 11 topics

Physics Topic 10: Electricity and Circuits

Physics Topic 11: Static electricity – Separate Science Only

Physics Topic 12: Magnetism and the motor effect

Physics Topic 13: Electromagnetic induction

Physics Topic 14: Particle model

Physics Topic 15: Forces and matter


How is this qualification assessed?

Exam board: Edexcel

Please note that there is no longer any controlled assessment in the Sciences. Instead students have to complete required practical’s and these will be assessed in the terminal examinations.

Separate Science assessment overview:

Paper 1 (1PH0/1) – 1hour and 45 minutes – 50% of qualification

Content: Topic 1: Key concepts of Physics, Topic 2: Motion and Forces, Topic 3: Conservation of energy, Topic 4: Waves, Topic 5: Light and the electromagnetic spectrum, Topic 6: Radioactivity, Topic 7 - Astronomy

Paper 2 (1PH0/2) – 1hour and 45 minutes – 50% of qualification

Content: Topic 1: Key concepts of Physics, Topic 8: Energy – Forces doing work, Topic 9: Forces & their effects, Topic 10: Electricity & circuits, Topic 11: Static electricity, Topic 12: Magnetism and the motor effect, Topic 13: Electromagnetic induction, Topic 14: Particle model, Topic 15: Forces and Matter.

Combined Science assessment overview: (all 6 Science papers will inform the final double grade)

Paper 5 (1SC0/1P) – 1hour and 10 minutes – 16.67% of qualification

Content: Topic 1: Key concepts of Physics, Topic 2: Motion and Forces, Topic 3: Conservation of energy, Topic 4: Waves, Topic 5: Light and the electromagnetic spectrum, Topic 6: Radioactivity

Paper 6 (1SC0/2P) – 1hour and 10 minutes – 16.67% of qualification

Content: Topic 1: Key concepts of Physics, Topic 8: Energy – Forces doing work, Topic 9: Forces & their effects, Topic 10: Electricity & circuits, Topic 12: Magnetism and the motor effect, Topic 13: Electromagnetic induction, Topic 14: Particle model, Topic 15: Forces and Matter.


Key Stage 4 Homework

Homework set will be a range of extended writing questions and exam questions and will be set once a fortnight.


How is this subject assessed?

Once each chapter (Year 7 and 8) or topic (Year 9, 10 and 11) has been taught there will be an end of chapter test given the following lesson. Tests will have a mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions. Once a test has been completed a reflection task is set for students so that they can work on any areas where gaps are still occurring and a further exam question will be given to them on that part of the topic. Gaps are identified by a full Question Level Analysis being conducted after each assessment.

Books are marked twice a term with a piece of deep marking taking place once a term on an extended writing piece. Deep marking will include some time given for students to feedback to marking.


How does this subject fulfil SMSC needs?

Social: Science is changing our society. Life expectancy is getting longer, people are driving more efficient and eco-friendlier cars, and more and more people are putting solar panels on their rooftops. Our society has become dependent on scientific developments which we could not have foreseen 50 years ago but also our lives are likely to change significantly in the future because of our reckless damaging activities to the environment as a human society. Students must consider their impact on the world around them and start to look at what we can do to help the next generation have a habitable planet. Areas we specifically focus on are that of pollution, global warming and destruction of the ozone layer. Learners will develop personal qualities and social skills by listening to the viewpoints of different scientific groups and politicians and developing the ability to take a full and active part in lessons on areas such as the use of digital and analogue signals and Radiation as a means of communication. Students will also look at ways in participating cooperatively and resolving conflict on issues such as looking at the nuclear debate pro and cons. They will also look at how science is portrayed in the media.

Moral: Our understanding of science has allowed us to develop technology we couldn’t have imagined 50 years ago. Now however, we must start deciding if we should we do all the scientific activities we are able to or morally should we decide not to. This can be as simple as should we test medicines for humans that could save lives on animals causing them cruelty? It could be as complex as should we allow somatic or germ line cell therapy. Moral development is a vital part of any scientist’s development. Students will need to develop a good understanding of it to firstly pass exams which always comprise of ethical questions but more importantly to become a good rounded scientist. Learners will look at moral values and ethical issues such as the safety if nuclear fuels and reactors.  

Spiritual: Sometimes science and spiritual ideas do cause conflict but in a modern society it is important to understand why these conflicts arise so we can respect the views of others and move forward. It is seen more often that science is able to stand alongside the spiritual beliefs of many. This is looked at often from a neutral stand point within science lessons.

Learners will explore the impact of waves (Tsunamis and Earthquakes) in Physics as well as the Big Bang Theory. They will get the opportunity to use their imagination and creativity in learning via developing speaking skills, presentation skills and building active display boards. They will also use descriptive writing to elicit emotion and feelings via silent debates and acting and role play.

Cultural: Scientific development comes from all across the world, from people of all backgrounds and cultures. Some of science’s most important discoveries have come from other parts of the world and it’s important for students to understand this as many believe that progress comes largely from the UK or America. It is also important to understand how the different cultures around the world can have different impacts on the planet and what impact more economically developed countries have on poorer areas. This will also be vital into the future as we need to monitor the impact of quickly developing cultures around the world on our environment. They will look at celebrating the role different scientists have played in our society.


How does the subject challenge more able pupils?

Students are grouped by ability and achievement for all Science lessons. At Key Stage 4, top groups are entered for separate sciences. Challenge tasks are incorporated into all schemes of learning. One or more of the following four forms of challenge can take place in a science lesson:

  1. Cognitive conflict – present a scenario that is incompatible with students’ current thinking and then present an alternative idea
  2. Pace – limit the time taken to do something
  3. Off you go… – this limits the number of instructions before an open task is set. It is best used when the outcome is focused so students know when they have succeeded. This gives them immediate feedback.
  4. Probing questions – ask fundamental questions that promote deep learning 


What provision is made for pupils with SEND?

Quality first teaching in all of our lessons places an emphasis on high-quality inclusive teaching that utilises a range of strategies to support the learning of pupils with SEND in the classroom. These include

  • Differentiation by questions and outcomes
  • Resources modelled depending on need e.g. blue writing and yellow background for dyslexic students and overlay provided
  • Use of SEND register and guidance documents for specific needs provided by SENCO
  • Joint planning with a learning support assistant
  • Multisensory teaching
  • One-to-one teaching after class where needs are identified.


Enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities

There is a range of regular activities at all key stages, including: KS3 STEM Club, KS3 STEM competitions – Raspberry Pi, KS4 Science lecture series and KS4 exam skills workshops. In addition, there are trips such as to CERN and to the Science Museum. There is the CREST Award and every March we celebrate Science Week with a project fair.


Useful websites:

BBC bite size: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/z4882hv