Bolton School Senior Girls


Years 7-8 (KS3) are as outlined under "Science".

In Years 9-11 (KS4), we follow the AQA GCSE Physics specification (4403). There are four modules each worth 25%. Module P4 is the Controlled Assessment, which assesses the student’s scientific investigative skills via the ISA. Each ISA consists of two formal examinations and a practical investigation into a specified aspect of physics.

Module P1 is common to the Science A course. The topics covered include:

  • transfer of energy by heating processes
  • heating and insulating buildings
  • energy and efficiency
  • electrical energy transfers and generating electricity
  • waves and wave properties
  • cosmology, galactic red-shifts and the Big Bang theory

Module P2 is common to the Additional Science course. The topics covered include:

  • forces, motion and terminal velocity
  • work, kinetic energy and momentum
  • static electricity
  • electrical circuits, current electricity and mains electricity
  • atomic structure and radioactivity
  • nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
  • fusion synthesis of elements in stars and stellar life cycles

Module P3 is unique to the Physics GCSE course. The topics covered include:

  • medical applications of physics, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, lasers, endoscopy
  • lenses, the eye and correcting defects of vision
  • centre of mass, stability, moments, hydraulics, circular motion and the pendulum
  • electromagnets, the motor effect, motors, electromagnetic induction, transformers

Advanced Level


To learn how and why the Universe behaves in the way it does.
To understand how Physics is applied to a multitude of situations in everyday life.
To develop a fascination for the scope of Physics, ranging from the extremely large (the Universe) to the incredibly small (the structure of matter).

What will I study?

In A Level Physics, all students will have the opportunity to take an AS Level qualification at the end of Year 12, although this may not be necessary for those intending to proceed to the full A-Level.

The OCR Physics A Course combines a blend of practical and theoretical Physics and is an excellent foundation for a wide range of university courses. At AS level topics covered include: Forces, Motion, Electrons, Waves, Photons, Electrical Circuits and Quantum Physics. In addition, the full A Level topics include: Thermodynamics, Oscillations, Gravitational Fields, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Capacitors, Electric Fields, Electromagnetism, Nuclear and Particle Physics and Medical Imaging

How will I be assessed?

By two 2¼ hour papers and one 1½ hour paper at the end of Year 13, covering all the content studied in both Year 12 and Year 13. Compulsory practical content will be integrated into both years of the course and the content of these tasks will be examined in the three written papers. There will be a practical skills endorsement as part of the A level. At AS level there will be two 1½ hour papers at the end of Year 12 covering all the topics studied in Year 12 including practical work.

Desirable requirements

If you have an enquiring mind, are keen to discover how things work and enjoy challenges, then Physics is for you. A minimum of either Grade 7 in Physics at GCSE, or a Grade 7/7 in Combined Science plus at least a Grade 7 in Mathematics GCSE is required to access A level material in Physics. In order to achieve a good or very good grade at AS/A level, however, it is likely that a candidate will have 8 - 9 grades at GCSE. You do not need to take Advanced Level Mathematics. However, A level Physics requires students to be confident at applying Mathematics to areas of Physics and an A level in Mathematics (Mechanics) does significantly enhance their Physics studies.

How will I study?

You will receive a specific textbook to support your studies and have access to many additional resources.  Group sizes vary but are around 12 students.  Most lessons involve discussion since Physics problems are best solved by sharing ideas.  You will also be expected to work independently, use the library and internet to find current scientific articles and use additional textbooks.  Homework will be related to and extend the work done in class, giving you practice in tackling a wide variety of problems. Your practical skills will be developed as you progress and will consolidate your coursework at AS level and A level.  You will design experiments, use data-logging and devise your own models.  You will learn to work individually and in groups.

Where will it lead?

Physics is incredibly versatile. There is exciting work in Astronomy, Electronics, Meteorology, Power Generation, Telecommunications, Scientific Journalism and the Aerospace industry. It is useful as a qualification for Architecture, Business, Dentistry, Engineering, Geophysics, Health Studies, Material Science, Medical Physics and Pharmacy, to  name but a few.


“This year I have been studying Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and French. I am passionate about continuing with Physics at university thanks to the enthusiastic teachers who give varied and excited lessons, and go out of their way if you need any help or want to know more. Physics doesn't only compliment Science subjects, as it can be a very useful contrast to essay-based subjects. My favourite topic this year has been Quantum Physics which we hadn't done at GCSE.  This is all about wave-particle duality.  We also got to study some GCSE topics in greater depth such as Forces and Electricity. Studying Physics gives you lots of skills such as problem-solving and planning skills, which are valued greatly by employers and universities.”


Girls Division Physics lab students

Physics is brought to life through practical demonstrations and experiments

Girls Division Physics student

Year 7 pupils enjoying a practical demonstration