Physicists aim to understand the origins and workings of the Universe by formulating physical laws that describe everyday observations. At Kimbolton we adopt a traditional approach to the subject based on thought-provoking practical work with the emphasis on academic rigour. We teach Physics as a separate science throughout the Senior School.
Head of Physics
First to Third Forms – compulsory for all pupils
In the First and Second Forms we provide an introduction to the main areas of Physics with no topic lasting more than six weeks.
In the Third Form we commence GCSE work with some of the easier topics being covered. Practical work becomes more demanding. Pupils choose whether to study the GCSE Core and Additional SciencesEdexcel IGCSE Dual Award or separate Cambridge International Examinations Board International IGCSE Physics during the course of this year.
Fourth and Fifth Forms – optional GCSE Subject
In the Fourth and Fifth Form, students opt to study either IGCSE Double Award Science (please see our separate page on Science at GCSE Level to find out more about this option) or three IGCSEs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). In each case, the three sciences are taught by subject specialists rather than by general science teachers.
We offer the Cambridge IGCSE Physics which consists of three written papers:
- multiple-choice (30%)
- structured questions (50%)
- a practical skills paper (20%).
There is no controlled assessment of practical skills.
Lower and Upper Sixth Form – A Level optional subject
At Kimbolton, we follow the AQA course for A-level Physics, Specification code 7408, over two years.
Paper 1 – Physics topics: Measurement, Errors, Particles, Radiation, Waves, Mechanics, Materials, Electricity (2 hour exam - 34%)
Paper 2 – Physics topics: Thermal Physics, Fields, Nuclear Physics and Paper 1 topics (2 hour exam - 34%)
Paper 3 – Practical skills, data analysis and Astrophysics (2 hour exam - 32%)
The L6th Physics course, looks at the very exciting area of Particle Physics and Quantum Phenomena which is an area of study that is right on the frontier of our knowledge of the Universe. The course also builds on other aspects of GCSE Physics and studies topics including Electricity, Mechanics, Materials and Waves. Through the A-level course, the skills of practical measurement and treatment of uncertainties are developed and assessed.
In the U6th there are topics on Further Mechanics and Fields which are fundamental to all areas of Physics, alongside Nuclear Physics, Thermal Physics and an optional topic, which at Kimbolton is Astrophysics, comprising 17% of the final Assessment. The Astrophysics Society, Kimbolton Astrophysoc, which meets each week throughout the year, is an opportunity to develop these skills further, as well as pursuing Astronomy GCSE in the L6th extension courses.
In each year in the Sixth Form there are six compulsory practicals as part of the course with a host of supplementary practicals.
Kimbolton 7th Period Super Curriculum: This extra hour gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of Physics by using techniques such as electron diffraction to probe crystals and find the distances between their atoms. We extend the scope of our work to perform experiments in Particle Physics beyond the A-level curriculum. We study the major paradigm shifts in Physics which produced the world shaking theories of Quantum Mechanics and Einstein’s Relativity. Competing in the British Physics Olympiad Competitions, provides extra challenge and rigour to the work we do in Physics. We also produce a research project based on experimental or theoretical work and compete to participate in the Cambridge Science Fair.
At Kimbolton, in the Sixth Form, we also extend the curriculum with a course in Astronomy for both Physicists and Non-Physicists.
View our Sixth Form Prospectus
The Kimbolton Astrophysoc meets each week throughout the year and having been awarded a grant by the Kimbolton Parent’s Association we are equipped with a telescope and camera to observe the heavens. We observed the transit of Mercury earlier in the year.
Regular Trips, Visitors and Competitions
The highlight of trips for the Sixth Form is the biennial trip to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. This allows both Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth to travel to Geneva in Switzerland for a 3-5 day residential and fully experience the largest man-made structure, discovering the secrets of the Universe.
The Department regularly attend the annual Physics at Work exhibition at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge and is a subscriber to the Cambridge Physics Centre’s evening lecture programme. Recently, we also visited the Royal Greenwich Observatory with the Second Form and the University of London Observatory with the Sixth Form.
We invite guest speakers and also participate in competitions such as the British Physics Olympiad competitions and the Beamline Competition at CERN.