A selective school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18. Day and Boarding

Cranbrook School - Respect Aspire Achieve


Welcome to the Physics Department.

Physics, Biology and Chemistry at Cranbrook School are taught as their own subject specialisms from Year 7 onwards.

The study of Physics at all ages is an exciting chance to understand the everyday world that is around us and to go far beyond these limits, exploring both the realm of the very small with subatomic physics and trying to understand the enormous distances and energies involved in space.

Year 7 and 8 :  The Year 7 and 8 course is centred on the KS3 content of the National Curriculum but with opportunities to push beyond this and into areas of interest whenever possible.

  • Year 7 concentrates on: energy, motion and forces.
  • Year 8 focuses on: waves, sound and light; electricity and magnetism; the particle model of matter; space.

There will be a strong emphasis throughout the course on practical work and the application of ideas to the world around us.

Years 9 to 11 : We currently follow the AQA GCSE specifications for science.

The GCSE course begins in Year 9 with the intention that all students will sit separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics GCSEs at the end of Year 11.

The full Physics GCSE course covers the following material :

  • Year 9 deals primarily with: forces and energy; kinetic theory and heat; wave behaviour, sound, the EM spectrum and seismic waves.
  • Year 10 introduces: electric circuits and household electricity; magnetic fields and motors; the atom and radioactivity; motion and mechanics.
  • Year 11 moves onto: static electricity and electric fields; moments, levers and gears; pressure and hydraulics; gas laws; black-body radiation; lenses; fission and fusion; gravitational fields, orbits and life cycle of stars; red-shift and the Big Bang; induction, transformers and the National Grid.

A minority of students will switch to double award science at the end of Year 10 where they continue to study all three science disciplines but with rather less content to learn for the exams. This allows much of Year 11 to be spent on revisiting some of the harder material from Year 9 and 10.

Practical work remains at the heart of the GCSE course, as a chance for students to develop practical skills and to allow them to better understand physical concepts through hands-on experience.

A level : We currently follow the AQA A level Physics specification.

All of our A level teachers are physics specialists and we use a ‘flipped-learning’ approach that allows students to make the most of their time in and out of the classroom. Experimental work is an important feature of the course and weekly practical sessions allow students to quickly build valuable skills towards the A2 practical endorsement.

The AS course consists of the first year of the A2 course and will be finished around Easter in Year 12. Although most students will complete the full A level it does allow flexibility at the end of Year 12, with some students opting to stop at this point and take the AS exam.

Year 12 significantly extends material that is often familiar from GCSE such as: forces and motion; waves; electrical circuits. There is a good deal of new content that deals largely with the deeper nature of matter and introduces students to subatomic particles such as quarks and the weirdness of quantum physics.

The Year 13 content is almost entirely novel or revisits material that was only dealt with in a very cursory form at GCSE. It covers: simple harmonic and circular motion; gravitational, electric and magnetic fields; capacitance; induction and transformers; radioactivity; nuclear energy, fission and fusion; ideal gas laws. The AQA course also has options available at the end of A2, where students can choose to study topics related to: astrophysics; medical physics; engineering physics; turning points in physics; electronics.

Physics is one of the more popular choices of A level subject and many of our students go on to study related fields (such as engineering) at university.

Mr Andy Hills, Subject Leader – Physics: HillsA@cranbrook.kent.sch.uk

Teachers: Dr C Lally, Mrs S Sutton, Mr R Holden

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