Physics (A Level)
“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.” - Albert Einstein
Our Physics Department take Einstein’s words seriously and, through delivering lessons that encourage our sixth formers to reflect on the wonder of the universe, deliver an excellent all-round girl-centred Physics education.
A Level lessons take place in two specialist labs. As with all our labs, these are excellently resourced with modern, innovative equipment to support the practical requirements of the A-level syllabus. We teach the AQA A-level Physics syllabus, which follows on very well from the Edexcel IGCSE syllabus that is studied by our younger students. It provides a great balance of diversity and challenge, being a course which combines the teaching of traditional elements with more modern Physics ideas. It enables us to nurture a passion for Physics in our students, and to lay the groundwork for future study in science or engineering.
The importance of translating theory into real-life application is vital at this stage in a Physics education, and to support this aim we undertake a biannual visit to CERN in Geneva. The trip enhances our students’ understanding of the Particle Physics topic, and enables them to see cutting edge science being undertaken by a collaboration of over 7,000 scientists from around the world. We also invite guest speakers to talk to our students about their careers and work, examples of whom have been Dr. Sarah Kendrew, a former Research Fellow at Oxford University and Dr. Victoria Scowcroft, a Prize Fellow from the University of Bath. Our students’ wider Physics knowledge is further enhanced by participation in the British Physics Olympiad competition, and the HiSPARC Club, where our students undertake real time research into high energy cosmic rays in conjunction with Bristol University.
Students who are interesting in pursuing a career in engineering can also participate in the Engineering Education Scheme (EES). This is a 6-month programme during which the students carry out a real, scientific or engineering project for a local company. A recent EES project undertaken by our students was to redesign a chemical dosage point to improve the distribution of ferric sulphate into effluent for Wessex Water.
Each year we are proud to see several students head off to study a range of Physics and Physics-related courses at top universities across the UK such as Physics, Physics with Philosophy and Mathematics with Physics, and also a variety of engineering courses including Aerospace, Chemical, Civil and Mechanical Engineering.