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Curriculum Intent

Physics is taught at Holcombe Grammar School across all three Key Stages. At KS3 it is taught as part of the Science curriculum, whilst at KS4 students have the choice of studying Physics as either a standalone GCSE or as part of the Combined Science course.

Physics is also offered as an A-level option at KS5. The fundamental approach taken across all three key stages is designed to provide students with a robust, knowledge rich curriculum whilst providing them with a multitude of opportunities to apply and evaluate their understanding. Students are encouraged and supported to take a central role in their learning, utilising the thinking toolkit and with particular emphasis on Reflection, Retrieval and Interleaving of Knowledge.

Key Stage 3

Science is taught with a hands-on approach here at Holcombe Grammar School. The Science curriculum is made up of topics in Biology, Physics and Chemistry. We build upon the students’ experience of Science in primary school and provide fantastic foundations for further learning at GCSE. We strive to spark our students’ curiosity in the world around them so that they can understand the scientific implications that impact on their own lives. We aim to build knowledge, understanding and investigative skills. Students have six lessons of Science per fortnight. Students are assessed on their knowledge during each topic, as well as undergoing constant assessment on how well they apply their scientific knowledge and practical skills.

Year 7

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
 Forces – Speed and Gravity Electromagnets - voltage
Electromagnets - Resistance and current
 Energy – Costs and Transfer



Year 8

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Waves - Sound and LightWaves - Sound and Light
Force - contact force and pressure
Force - contact force and pressure


Electromagnets - magnetism and electromagnetism 



Year 9

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Waves - Effects and Properties Kinematics and StaticsKinematics and StaticsEnergyEnergy

KS3 Learning Journey

Please see attached Key Stage 3 Learning Journey for Physics.

Key Stage 4

Course Title

Combined Science – two GCSEs

Or Triple Science – three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Examination Board


Examination and Coursework Details

Each GCSE will have a terminal examination worth 100% of the overall mark.

Course Outline

All students will study for a minimum of two science GCSEs (Combined Science covers all three Science subjects -Biology, Chemistry and Physics and is worth two GCSEs). In all three subjects the specifications place an emphasis on ‘working scientifically’, teaching science through contemporary issues and communication of scientific ideas. ‘Working scientifically’ involves students looking at how scientific developments progress, the need to use data to support or disprove ideas and why data may not be reliable. The aim is to give the students the ability to analyse complex problems and to decide for themselves what solutions are appropriate using the available data.

The Biology course offers pupils the opportunity to examine how the body responds to the environment, keeping healthy, drugs and their implications, the body’s responses to infectious disease, factors affecting a species distribution and genetic inheritance, endangered species and how humans affect the environment, the effect of enzymes, micro-organisms and internal body systems and control.

The Chemistry course allows pupils to understand atomic structure, structure and bonding, calculations, chemical reactions, electrolysis, energy in reactions, rates of reaction, carbon compounds, the atmosphere and the use of resources.

The Physics course allows pupils to investigate thermal changes, efficiency of energy transfer and loss, electrical devices and circuits, generation of electricity using alternative sources, radiation and its uses and dangers, origins of the universe, how objects speed up or slow down, static electricity, current electricity, turning effects, mirrors and lenses as well as transformers.

Cross-Curricular Links

Students will develop their mathematical skills in practical situations. They will have the opportunity to discuss scientific ideas and controversies and present information using a range of technologies.

Sixth Form and Career Opportunities

The course provides a firm foundation for students who intend to study an A-level science. It develops critical thinking as well as problem solving skills allowing pupils to make informed evaluations of current scientific developments. Providing for jobs in health care, pharmaceuticals and bio-chemistry sectors as well as bio-medical research, engineering and construction.


Year 10

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6

Combined/Triple - Energy

Combined/Triple - Particle ModelCombined/Triple - Atomic StructureCombined/Triple - Describing Motion along the line; Forces and their InteractionsCombined/Triple - Work Done and Energy Transfer; Forces, Accelerations and Newton's Law of Motion

Combined - Forces and Braking; Momentum; Forces and Elasticity

Triple - Forces and Braking; Moments; Momentum; Forces and Elasticity; Pressure

Year 10 and 11 students who study triple science also cover the combined science topics as stated in the table.


Year 11

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Combined/Triple - Waves in Air, Fluids and SolidsCombined/Triple - Electromagnetic WavesCombined/Triple - Electricity

Combined/Triple - Magnetism and Electromagnetism

Triple - Space Physics

GCSE ExamsGCSE Exams

Year 10 and 11 students who study triple science also cover the combined science topics as stated in the table.

KS4 Learning Journey

Please see attached Key Stage 4 Learning Journey for Physics.

Years 12 and 13

Physics attempts to describe how our universe works using the language of mathematics. It is the most fundamental of all the natural sciences and its theories attempt to describe the nature and explain the behaviour of matter, light, and all other phenomena. Studying physics offers the opportunity to develop the knowledge, practical and mathematical skills to solve problems ranging from the very large, with stars, planets and galaxies, to the very smallest building blocks of matter in the standard model of particle physics.

Year 12

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Topic  1 Measurement and Errors
Topic 3 Waves : Progressive and Stationary waves
Topic 3 Waves : Refraction, diffraction and interferenceTopic 4 Mechanics: Statics and KinematicsTopic 4 Mechanics: Kinematics and DynamicsTopic 4 Materials; DynamicsRevision
Topic 2: Particles and Radiation: ParticlesTopic 2: Particles and Radiation: Radiation and quantum physicsTopic 5 Electricity: Current ElectricityTopic 5 Electricity: Current ElectricityTopic 5 Electricity: CircuitsRevision



Year 13

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6

Topic 6: Further Mechanics

Topic 7 Fields: Gravitational Fields

Topic 7 Fields: Electric Fields; CapacitorsTopic 7 Fields: Electromagnetic Induction; Magnetic Fields

Topic 7: Electromagnetic Induction



Topic 6: Thermal physics

Topic 8: Nuclear

Topic 8: NuclearTopic 9: AstrophysicsRevision

KS5 Learning Journey

Please see attached Key Stage 5 Learning Journey for Physics.

Online Learning Support


A level physics is a facilitating subject, which many universities require students to have in order to be accepted onto a diverse variety of courses, providing you with the scope to pursue many different career paths. In particular, it is essential for courses in engineering and physics. However, the numeracy, practical, logic and problem solving skills developed studying physics are useful in a wide range of careers as well as engineering and the natural sciences including financial services, architecture, computing, medicine, human resources, the law, education and research along with many others.

British Values

Through studying physics, students will be given the opportunity to understand how Physics informs and relates to British values.

Democracy – showing how physics influences decision-making through the democratic process by providing the scientific evidence for issues such as methods of energy production

Rule of Law – Understanding the importance of safety rules when working scientifically

Tolerance of different Cultures and Religions – Teaching how discoveries are made, tested and accepted through the scientific process, with contributions from scientists from different cultures around the world.

Mutual Respect – Students take part in group practical work and group activities, working as a team during practical work, discussing findings to pool results to consider the reproducibility of data and offering support and advice to others.

Individual Liberty – Learning about the contributions to Physics of individual British scientists and engineers like Newton, Faraday and Dirac.