Years 7 & 8
Students are taught in their form groups, and are given one 75 minute double period each week, with one homework. Students are not given a textbook to take home, however one can be provided for extra support if necessary for catching up.
Students are taught in classes of roughly 24, and are given one double period (1hr 15min) per week. In addition to completing the Key Stage 3 curriculum, a solid grounding in electrical and optical techniques and measurements is given which sets the students up well for GCSE as well as providing interesting diversions into the world of imaging and sensing. The 2003 edition of Keith Johnson's Physics for You textbook is issued to each student.
Years 10 & 11
Students are taught in classes of roughly 24, and are given one double period (1hr 15min) and one single per week. Students are prepared for the EdExcel GCSE in Physics, with all examinations taking place in the Summer of Yr 11. There is no coursework, but a series of tests and practical work administered in class makes up 25% of the total mark. Students have personal copies of the course-specific CGP Workbook, and use this in conjunction with the 2006 edition of Keith Johnson's Physics for You in class. The teachers in the department have prepared extensive additional material to enhance the students' learning on this new course. The Specifications can be found on the EdExcel website.
Students have the choice of studying either A Level Physics or the Cambridge Pre U Physics course. Whichever they choose, they will have two teachers who will split the topics on the syllabus between them, and will be taught for six periods in Year 12 students and seven in Year 13. Both courses contain both theoretical and practical elements, are wholly examined at the end of Year 13, meaning that UCAS predictions will be based on their performance in the school’s internal exams at the end of Year 12. Both courses are well respected and provide a great basis for students wishing to pursue Physics-related courses at university.
A Level Physics Course
Students can study the Edexcel A Physics course.
In Year 12, students will lay the ground work by studying Mechanics, Energy & Materials with one of their teachers, and Electricity, Waves and Quantum Physics with their other teacher. Year 13 topics include Fields, Nuclear & Particle Physics, Gravitation, Rotation, Oscillations, Astrophysics and Thermodynamics.
Students also gain a practical competency certificate by successfully completing and writing up 16 core practical experiments over the course of the two years. (This is pass/fail and does not contribute to the final grade). The exam papers at the end of Year 13 will also incorporate questions about practical skills, based on techniques gained during the completion of these key experiments.
Students looking to study this course should be aware that it is extremely challenging, and in order to consider this, we would recommend that you are confident of attaining a “comfortable A” grade, at least, at GCSE.
Cambridge Pre-U Physics Course
Since 2012, the RGS has also been able to offer this alternative course. This is a mathematically based, and academically rigorous alternative to A-level which is administered by the University of Cambridge. The topic areas studied are broadly similar to those in the A Level course, but questions tend to more challenging, the topics are studied in more depth, and there is also additional content not covered by the A Level course such as Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity and Rotational Mechanics. The course is being taught in a style which will lead naturally on to university tutorials, problem classes and lectures. This means that there is an expectation for students to be developing their skills as independent learners and consolidating with extra reading, practice questions and other supporting work for themselves.
There is a practical element included in lessons throughout the two years, and in addition students will complete a practical investigation for themselves, where they have the scope to investigate research questions of their choice. They write this up and keep a lab book in a similar manner to that done in “proper research”. This will span three weeks in the Spring Term of Year 13, and they will also complete a practice investigation in the summer of Year 12 .
We do not recommend that students consider this course unless they are confident of comfortably achieving an A* in Physics and Maths at GCSE, and are willing to work hard to rise to the challenge of Pre-U Physics and have a genuine interest in the subject. It is ideal for students looking to study Physics or related courses at university. Further information, including a syllabus, can be found on the CIE website (www.cie.org.uk).