A Leys Education is one which is built firmly on three main foundations; Academic, Pastoral and Wider Curriculum.More information
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: Silicon Fen. We have strong links with the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish (Physics) Laboratory, including attending lectures. Pupils also visit their annual Physics at Work exhibition and when possible attend the Institute of Astronomy’s School Astronomy conferences.
Our close proximity to the University’s Engineering Department also means we can take advantage of lectures and seminars there as well as elsewhere in the city. Our staff and pupils are also involved with helping plan the university’s annual Climate Change lecture series, including workshops for local schools.
Speakers on physics-based topics are also occasionally welcomed to the School, including previously such dignitaries as the late Professor Stephen Hawking, the late Nobel Laureate Professor Antony Hewish, Chief Data Scientist at Science and Technology Facilities Council, Tony Hey, and former Chief Scientist to HM Govt., Sir David King. Younger researchers also pay us visits to discuss their work, thanks to our membership of the Cambridge Society for the Application of Research.
Outside of the University, we are fortunate to be able to engage 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 has sent successful Sixth Form delegations to the National Science Showcase and to the Institute of Physics regional and national competitions. We also encourage students to participate in the various Physics Olympiads, and have had several winners and runners-up in the Institute of Physics annual Environmental Physics essay competition.
The AQA GCSE Physics course was examined for the first time in summer 2018, being taught from Year 9. 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, pupils complete 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, are also examined. Questions draw on the knowledge and understanding pupils have gained and count for at least 15% of the overall qualification marks.
The AQA Physics course is rigorous and accessible, traditional yet exciting and is relatively straightforward to progress onto from any GCSE course; doing so from a stand-alone GCSE Physics course is beneficial.
Core content includes the following sections:
There are three assessed components (a 2 hour exam for each) and vital practical assessments too. There are specified practicals (“required practicals”) through which the CPAC (Common Practical Assessment Criteria) are assessed. By the end of the course, pupils must consistently and routinely meet various competencies and if successful will receive an endorsement on their A Level certificate. Many universities require the practical endorsement as part of their admissions criteria for a wide range of courses.
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 are usually 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.