The dictionary definition of physics is “the study of matter, energy, and the interaction between them”, but what that really means is that physics is about asking fundamental questions and trying to answer them by observing and experimenting. Some of these are really big questions that include:

  • How did the universe begin?
  • What are the building blocks of matter?

Others are more practical such as:

  • How does a transformer work?
  • Can it be made more efficient?

If you think these questions are fascinating and you like solving problems, then you will love physics! Physicists try to uncover relationships through observing, creating mathematical models, and testing them by doing experiments. In the lessons you will learn theories, do practical work, use computer simulations and more. We have three well equipped labs with access to computers and a wide range of equipment.

Which Physics specification will I study?

You will study OCR A Physics.

Do I need to also study A Level Mathematics alongside A Level Physics?

Yes. Physics at A Level and beyond is very mathematical. The mathematical equations used in Physics often look far more complicated than they really are. Nevertheless, if you are going to study Physics, you will also need to take A Level Mathematics alongside it. The A Level Mathematics course includes the study of algebra, trigonometry and mechanics – all important to Physics.

And extra activities?

Physics students have enjoyed a trip to the Large Hadron Collider in recent years as well as visits to the Physics at Work day in Cambridge and an Engineering experience day in London. The department supports students with the Physics Olympiad, PAT, AS Physics Challenge and Nuffield Research placements which lead to Gold Crest Awards. Students can also do Physics or Engineering based Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs) in their second year.




The first year of the course consists of four units:

  1. Development of Practical Skills in Physics - Over the year you will develop a portfolio of practical write-ups as you learn to accurately measure and record data and build your practical skills.
  2. Foundations of Physics –This module introduces important conventions and ideas that permeate the fabric of Physics. Understanding of physical quantities, SI units, scalars and vectors helps physicists to effectively communicate their ideas within the scientific community.
  1. Forces and Motion- Forces and Motion are tightly knitted together. They form a part of every physicist’s understanding of the Universe around us. In this module you will learn how to mathematically model the motion of objects and the effects forces have on objects. You will also learn about the important connection between force and energy.
  2. Electrons, waves and photons - This module takes you on a journey, starting with electrons and how they behave in electrical circuits through an exploration of wave properties ending with quantum physics.



Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.

The second year of the course follows logically from the first year, but there is an increase in the mathematical demands.

  1. Newtonian World and Astrophysics: This module takes you on a journey, starting with the vast orbits of stars and planets to the tiny interactions that cause pressure in gasses.


6. Particles and Medical Physics: This module will focus on the smallest things imaginable, that is, particles. Topics covered include capacitors, electric fields, electromagnetism, nuclear physics, particle physics and medical imaging.



At the end of the 2nd Year students will do three exams covering all the theory and practical skills from all modules 1-6. In addition, they will achieve a practical endorsement if their portfolio of work shows the necessary development.


Standard College entry requirements and a minimum of:

Grade required Subject required

Grade 7

GCSE Mathematics


Grade 6

Both 1st and 2nd grade GCSE Combined Science

or if triple science is taken

Grade 6

GCSE Physics (also with 6 in either GCSE Biology or Chemistry

Please note that GCSE Applied Science or Level 2 BTEC Science qualifications are not acceptable as alternative GCSE science qualifications for A Level Physics. All students need to study A Level Mathematics alongside A Level Physics.


Physics students go onto study a range of degrees at university including physics, astrophysics and geophysics as well as engineering, aeronautics, computer science and mathematics.

Physicists are highly sought after in the job market and career opportunities include working in the space industry designing satellites, treating cancers using radiotherapy, forecasting the weather as a meteorologist, doing research in a laboratory or working in the banking sector predicting financial highs and lows.