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Devonport High School for Girls

Head of Department

Mr C Moore, BSc (Hons), MSc, PGCE

Statement of Intent 

The science curriculum at DHSG is designed to support our learners in their development to become scientifically literate citizens of the 21st century. We aim to engage their curiosity; to help them learn how to ask the right questions about the world around them and the society we live in. We will support them in developing the skills and knowledge required to investigate their questions and then to interpret and critically evaluated the answers they find. We achieve this through the study of the three traditional scientific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, all of which are underpinned by practical principles and investigation and will include learning about how scientists work. 

We ensure that students have a firm scientific knowledge and skill base to progress with confidence through the Key Stages and finally progress into the wider world with the scientific tools required to pursue their individually chosen further study and future career pathways. We will teach our students how to use mathematics in science and not assume the transference of maths skills whilst ensuring our curriculum is assessable to all. 

Physics is the study of the universe and all things in it from the unimaginably small to the unfathomably large. We aim to inspire students with the wonder of Physics through the teaching of five key areas, Waves, Energy, Electricity, Matter and Forces, all of which are revisited throughout key stages 3 to 5. 

Practical Science: 

We have designed our practical science curriculum with eight fundamental principles on mind: 

  • to develop scientific enquiry;
  • to develop knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts;
  • to develop practical competencies;
  • to prepare students to answer examination questions related to practical work with confidence;
  • to develop teamwork and collaborative skills;
  • to excite, inspire and develop student curiosity and ideas, so that they will rationalise and question further the world in which they live;
  • to prepare students for life in an increasingly scientific and technological world; 
  • to raise awareness of STEM careers, provide visible role models and engage with external agencies where possible to create/be involved in STEM enrichment activities, e.g. links with Plymouth University etc. 

A Level Course Outline

To develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the principles of Physics, gain hands-on practical skills and data analysis skills and appreciate how science works and its relevance beyond the laboratory.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

A Level Physics enables students to continue with the subject at University, or to study Physics related courses such as Engineering, Astronomy, Computing, Medicine or Architecture. The transferable skills developed are problem solving, logical thinking and the ability to communicate complex ideas.

Course Content

Examination Board


Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the AQA Website

AS and A Level Physics (7407 - 7408)

The AS content is also covered in the A Level content and allows for co-teaching.

AS Level

Unit 1

Measurement and their errors, Particles and Radiation, Waves, Particles, Mechanics and Materials, Electricity (core content) 50%


Unit 2

Assessment as above as a synoptic paper and assessment of practical and data handling skills. 50%

A Level

Unit 1

Measurements and their errors, Particles and Radiation, Waves, Mechanics, Electricity, Periodic Motion 34%


Unit 2

Further Mechanics and Thermal Physics, Fields and their Consequences, Nuclear Physics. 34 % A level to include assumed knowledge from Unit 1 A level


Unit 3

Assessment of Practical skills and data analysis and the optional topic. 32% A level. Optional topics are one of: - Astrophysics, Medical Physics, Engineering Physics, Turning points in Physics, Electronics.

Curriculum Programmes of Study 


Cycle Content

Year 12

Cycle 1

Constituents of the Atom
Stable and Unstable Nuclei
Particles, antiparticles and      photons
Particle Interactions
Classification of Particles
Quarks and antiquarks
Application of Conservation Laws
The Photoelectric effect
Collisions of Electrons with Atoms
Energy levels and Photon Emission
Wave-Particle Duality

Introduction to A Level Skills and Measurements
Progressive Waves
Longitudinal and Transverse Waves
Principle of superposition and formation of stationary waves

    CPAC 1
    CPAC 2
    Refraction at a plane surface

Cycle 2

Basics of electricity
Current-Voltage Characteristics
Potential Dividers
EMF and Internal Resistance

Scalars and Vectors
Motion along a straight line

Cycle 3

The Bulk properties of                materials
The Young Modulus
Work Energy Power
Conservation of Energy

  Projectile Motion
  Newton's Laws of Motion

Year 13


Cycle 1

 Circular Motion
Simple Harmonic Motion
Simple Harmonic Systems
Forces Vibrations and Resonance
Thermal energy Transfer
Ideal Gases
Molecular Kinetic Theory
Rutherford Scattering
Alpha, Beta and Gamma            Radiation
 Radioactive Decay
 Nuclear Instability

Newton’s Law of Gravitational      Attraction
Gravitational Field Strength
Gravitational Potential
Orbits of planets and satellites
Coulomb’s Law
Electric Field Strength
Electric Potential
Parallel plate capacitor
Energy stored in a capacitor
Capacitor Charge and Discharge

Cycle 2

Nuclear Radius
Mass and Energy
Induced Fission
Safety Aspects
Option Topic

Magnetic flux density
Moving charges in a magnetic field
Magnetic flux and flux linkage
EM Induction
Alternating Currents
The operation of a transformer
Option Topic

Cycle 3

 Option Topic
 Structured revision programme


  Option Topic
  Structured revision programme