Physics at Sir Thomas Rich's

Anything can happen if it happens fast enough. Find out how.

Physics is the fundamental science that attempts to understand the way in which the universe operates. It does this by constructing laws and models to fit our observations. As time passes our observations become more accurate and greater in range often requiring modification, usually, of accepted laws. Physics allows us to make predictions about our world and offers us an understanding of the underlying principles upon which it is based.


Key Stage 3 - Years 8 & 9

Teaching Arrangements: 2 periods per week
Homework Guidance: One homework per week.
Assessment Arrangements: Regular topic tests.
Year 8 examinations in March
Year 9 examinations in June
Topics Covered:
Year 8
  • Seeing and Hearing
  • Electricity
  • Motion
  • Astronomy
  • Forces
Year 9
  • Colour
  • Waves
  • Refraction
  • Electromagnetism
  • Further waves work

At KS3, Year 7 follow a general science course building on work covered at KS2. In years 8 and 9 all classes follow the separate sciences.

Teaching Arrangements: 3 periods a week in Year 10 and 4 periods a week in Year 11.
Homework Guidance: 2 homeworks a week.
Assessment Arrangements: 2 examination papers sat at the end of Year 11.
Exam Specification: Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9-1) in Physics Topics Covered:
Year 10
  • Electricity
  • Forces
  • Energy
  • Astronomy
  • Optics
  • A review of Year 9 work
Year 11
  • Forces and Matter
  • Forces and their effects
  • Particle theory
  • Radioactivity
  • Electromagnetism
  • Further forces
  • Static electricity

The Physics Department follow the Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9 - 1) in Physics (Code 1PH0)

Entry Requirements: Entry requirements are as laid out in the School VIth Form prospectus. In order to study physics at A level, at least a grade 7 at Physics GCSE, or 77 in Dual Award Science, is expected. Physics at A level is a mathematical subject. It is our overwhelming expectation that A level physicists also read Mathematics. Our experience is that studying A level Physics without A level Mathematics limits the A level grade obtainable and the university options open to you.
Teaching Arrangements: 7 periods a week, split 3 + 4 with two different teachers.
Homework Guidance: Homework is set as necessary.
Assessment Arrangements: Examinations sat at the end of Year 13, 3 papers of 2 hours duration. Practical work is carried out leading to a competency, recorded as Pass on the examination certificate.
Exam Specification: AQA A-Level Physics 7408 Topics Covered:
Year 12
  • Particles and radiation
  • Waves
  • Mechanics and Materials
  • Electricity
Year 13
  • Heat energy
  • Kinetic theory
  • Circular motion and SHM
  • Radioactivity
  • Gravitational field
  • Electric fields
  • Magnetic fields
  • Turning Points in Physics option

Physics is a popular choice at ‘A’ level and attracts students from other schools. There are at present over 100 ‘A’ level students in 6 sets (3 in Year 12 and 3 in Year 13). Each year we aim to have 4 or 5 students go on to read Physics at university with successful entries to Oxbridge at regular intervals.

University courses this subject may be required for or lead onto: Physics or engineering courses but Physics A level can support many other degrees.
Careers that Physics may lead onto: Physics is a ubiquitous subject and can lead to a wealth of career opportunities.

“Physics at Tommy’s can be summarised simply. Brilliant teachers who encourage and inspire beyond what you would expect. Their enthusiasm and knowledge have taken me to a different level. If you study Physics here you may, like me, end up applying to read the subject at university.”