Physics

Welcome to Physics at Dean Close School. The department is made up of three well-equipped laboratories and full use is also made of the outside environment to teach Physics by way of interesting and novel practicals and demonstrations. Physics is a challenging but enjoyable subject and we recognise the importance of practical Physics as a method of enhancing the understanding of the principles behind the theories.

In the Physics department we teach a two year IGCSE syllabus.   A full specification of the Edexcel IGCSE course, can be accessed by the following link:

Full IGCSE specification

The AS and A2 Physics courses follow the OCR syllabus. Sixth formers will be taught by two different teachers who will offer help and guidance throughout the course. We follow the OCR Advancing Physics syllabus which can be found on the following link:

OCR Advancing Physics syllabus

GCSE and A level pupils undertake a number of projects during their studies, some of which include:

Practical work in Physics is an integral part of the learning process and all students are immersed in this aspect of the subject. We have very well equipped, large laboratories dedicated to Physics and there is always something going on. There are some specific projects that stand out though:

Fourth Form Investigation: Groups decide on what aspect of Physics they want to investigate and then, having looked at all of the variables involved, outline a plan to uncover that elusive finding! This may involve ideas as diverse as forces on bridges, speeds of cars or what affects a swinging pendulum. The result of the investigation may be a new and better design for their experiment, a presentation of findings or a poster.

Lower Sixth Form: There are two large projects in this year – one focusing on Material Science and the other on Quality of Measurement. The Material Science research looks at a material of the student’s choice and how it is fit for purpose, or not, in certain uses. Recent examples have included Titanium in airplane landing gears and Steel in guitar strings. Quality of Measurement is a three week practical piece delving deeper and deeper into just how accurately measurements can be taken. This is a very ‘hands on’ piece with students learning new techniques as they progress. Young Modulus, Spring Constants and Stokes Law (viscosity) are just some of the quantities looked at recently.

Upper Sixth Form: As in L6th, two major projects dominate the regular flow of practical work. Students research and write a 2000 word paper on an aspect of Physics completely of their choice.  Nuclear Powered Submarines, Magnetic Levitation in Transport, Special Relativity and Particle Accelerators are all recent titles. A large practical investigation is also conducted, again with no boundaries as to choice. This will run for at least three weeks with students often spending time above and beyond that expected just so that they can really pin down that last variable! Compressive Stress in Ice with Different Aggregates, Lift versus Aerofoil Cross Section, Centripetal Forces on a Record Turntable and Trebuchets –Design and Impact. These are just some of the topics investigated last year.


Results

We are very pleased with our results in Physics. Summer 2014 saw 46% of our students gain an A* in their IGCSE exam. This comes after several years of good results with IGCSE, having moved to that course from GCSE 4 years ago.   Success at this level is reflected with a strong uptake at A Level and we have 36 students studying AS Physics in 2014/15.

Our A2 results were also strong in 2014 with an A*/B rate of 73%. This was achieved with our largest ever cohort at A2. A number of students achieved 100% in their papers in this exam session and there was Oxbridge success with one student off to Magdalen, Oxford to study Engineering Science