The Leys



Physics is part of the Science department at The Leys, based within the Thomson Building at the heart of the School.

The Physics department believes strongly in taking advantage of the School's geographic location: the heart of Silicon Fen. We have strong links with the University of Cambridge's Cavendish (Physics) Laboratory, attending lectures with Sixth Formers each month.

Pupils also visit their annual Physics at Work exhibition and attend the Institute of Astronomy's School Astronomy conferences. Our close proximity to the University's Engineering Department also means we take advantage of lectures and seminars there. Lectures at the Departments of Applied Mathematics and Chemistry are also enjoyed.

Through the Wiles Society, speakers on physics-based topics are welcomed to the School, including previously such dignitaries as Professor Stephen Hawking, Nobel Laureate Professor Antony Hewish and former Chief Scientist to HM Govt., Sir David King.

Outside of the University, we have a number of close ties with Cambridge's world-class science-based industries. In previous years we have made visits to ARM and PACE. We have also received generous sponsorship and support from local companies for whole-school engineering competitions.

Beyond Cambridge, the Physics department is regularly involved in the School's annual Science Tour of Canada, taking in Montreal, Toronto and Niagara. We have sent successful Sixth Form delegations to the National Science Showcase and to the Institute of Physics regional competitions. We also encourage students to participate in national competitions, such as the Physics Olympiad, and have had several winners and runners-up in the Institute of Physics annual Environmental Physics essay competition.


The AQA GCSE Physics course will be examined for the first time in summer 2018. Based on the newly revised content from the Department for Education, it covers Energy, Electricity, the Particle Model of Matter, Atomic Structure, Forces, Waves, Magnetism and Electromagnetism, and finally Space Physics.

At the end of Year 11, the course will be examined in two 90 minute papers, both having a mixture of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. Experimental and investigative skills, developed during routine practical work in class, will also be examined.

Questions will draw on the knowledge and understanding pupils have gained and will count for at least 15% of the overall marks for the qualification.

A level

The AQA Physics course is rigorous and accessible, traditional yet exciting and is relatively straightforward to progress onto from any GCSE course.

Core content includes the following sections:

  • Measurements and their errors
  • Particles and radiation
  • Waves
  • Mechanics and materials
  • Electricity
  • Further mechanics and thermal physics
  • Fields and their consequences
  • Nuclear physics
  • Astrophysics (option)
  • Medical physics (option)
  • Engineering physics (option)
  • Turning points in physics (option)
  • Electronics (option)

There are three assessed components (a 2 hour exam for each component) and a practical component. Teaching is in small sets by an experienced team, all pupils having two teachers. There are ample opportunities to ask for individual assistance in all areas of the work. Lessons will be a mixture of discussion, question and answer, problem solving, note taking, experimentation, testing, explanation and demonstration. In practical work, pupils use advanced techniques and equipment not always available at GCSE including computers for data collection, analysis and presentation.


  • Mr Andrew P Harmsworth MA (Oxon) FRAS - Head of Physics
  • Ms Alexandra Annett BASc MSc MPhil MEd - Physics Teacher
  • Mr Edward Hodgson BSc - Physics Teacher
  • Mr Paul Birch - Physics Technician
  • Mrs Agata Markowicz - Laboratory Assistant



01223 508900

The Leys School