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A Level Physics

Overview

The Physics department aims to increase the awareness and understanding of the Physics principles that govern our world and the Universe. Girls learn to apply these principles to everyday situations and begin to use them to explain how things work.  We have a thriving Sixth Form with an average of 60 girls taking A-level Physics. Many girls go on to study Physics, Engineering, Mathematics and Science at Oxbridge and other top universities. The course is very hands-on with practical sessions and teacher demonstrations during most lessons.  Five well qualified, enthusiastic teachers and our friendly, innovative technician support and encourage the girls throughout their studies.

Physics A-Level (Years 12 and 13)

Girls study the 2-year Edexcel Linear A-level.  Practical work is assessed through the written examinations and the separate practical competency award.

A Level Physics is a highly respected qualification that opens doors to many different careers. The A level builds on the topics studied at GCSE and looks at some of the big questions like “How did the universe begin?”, “What are the basic building blocks of matter?” and “How does the Sun keep on shining?”  It helps our girls to begin to understand the technology around us for example; how music is produced and synthesised and how Physics is used in the food industry.

A-level Physics develops the following skills; problem solving, reasoning, numeracy, ICT and communication. During Experimental work the girls learn planning, practical and observational skills. They also have the opportunity to work in a team and undertake data handling. Girls become able to construct logical arguments, apply analytical skills and grasp complex problems. The ethical, moral and environmental issues related to technology are considered.

Physics is one of the Russell Groups facilitating subjects; these subjects leave open a wide range of options for university study if girls are not yet sure of their future career path.

 

Topics Studied

Physics at A level is learnt through theory and experiments. Many topics expand on and develop the GCSE material including Mechanics, Electricity, Waves, Radioactivity, Space and Energy. Girls begin to see how these topics work together and become equipped for the study of the new topics on Materials, Fields and Particle Physics.

 

Extended-curricular opportunities

All girls in Years 12 and 13 have the opportunity to take part in the British Physics Olympiad competitions; some of our girls are awarded medals in these each year. We run an annual trip to CERN during October half term in Year 13. Our potential Engineers have the opportunity to build and program a VEX robot and enter interschool robot competitions. All students are encouraged to attend external lectures, symposiums, master classes and Summer schools and the department runs frequent trips to such events. Girls in the 6th Form have the opportunity to undertake a research project of their own design in our geodesic dome.

 

Student Testimonials

“Studying A-Level Physics at Watford Girls is extremely rewarding. The classes have a great atmosphere and are engaging. It’s really nice to learn in a collaborative and supportive environment.” Aaliya, Year 13.

“Learning Physics is really fun as it is great to learn about the Universe in greater depth. The experiments are enjoyable (particularly those involving chocolate) and I particularly enjoyed the Cosmology topic. We also had a fantastic trip to CERN in Geneva which I loved.” Sophie, Year 13.

“The Physics department are probably one of the most friendly and relaxed departments in the school, you can genuinely go to them with anything and they will help or even cheer you up. We get to go on cool trips and it leaves you with a wide range of (normally highly paid) careers” to choose from. Becca, Year 13.

 

Websites

The web addresses below will take you to the specification for the Edexcel A level from 2015 and the Russell Group page.

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/physics-2015.html

http://russellgroup.ac.uk/for-students/school-and-college-in-the-uk/subject-choices-at-school-and-college/