Physics at Sir Thomas Rich's School

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.

Physics is a successful subject at Sir Thomas Rich's and enjoys a history of producing excellent examination results. The Physics Department forms part of the Science Faculty, together with Biology, Chemistry and Geology. Each has its own Head of Department, responsible for the day-to-day running of the department.

Key Stage 3

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. Topics studied include: forces, energy, motion, electricity, light, magnetism, sound and astronomy.


From September 2016 the Physics Department will be following the Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9 - 1) in Physics (1PH0).

A Level

At ‘A’ level the AQA specification 7408 is followed and the turning points in physics option selected. From September 2016 the A level course becomes linear, pupils will be assessed at the end of Year 13. Practical assessment, carried out during the course, has been separated from the A level grade and will be classified as pass or fail on the A level certificate.

A Level Entry Requirements

Entry requirements are as laid out in the School VIth Form prospectus. In order to study physics at A level a grade A at Physics GCSE, or AA in Science and Additional Science, is expected. Physics at A level is a mathematical subject. It is our overwhelming expectation that A level physicists also read AS mathematics. A pass at AS mathematics should be achieved in order to proceed. For pupils commencing the physics course in 2015, although strongly advised, it is not compulsory to continue mathematics to A2 in 2017.

Physics is a popular choice at ‘A’ level and attracts students from other schools. There are at present 110 ‘A’ level students in 6 sets (4 in Year 12 and 2 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.

Physics Department Aims

  • To stimulate curiosity, interest and enjoyment in Physics and its method of enquiry.
  • To acquire a systematic body of scientific knowledge and to develop an understanding of Physics, including its power and limitations.
  • To develop abilities and skills that are relevant to the study, practice and application of Physics, which are useful in everyday life, and which encourage safe practice.
  • To develop experimental and investigative abilities.
  • To develop an understanding of the nature of scientific ideas and activity and the basis for scientific claims.
  • To develop an understanding of the technological and environmental applications of Physics and of the economic, ethical and social implications of these.