The Physics Department at
In the UK, as in many other countries in the world, the number of students taking demanding A level courses such as Physics has been decreasing steadily over the last twenty years. The Royal Society has stated that the number of students doing Physics at A level has decreased by 37% since 1991. In the Physics Department at
Considering that this is only my sixth year at Lawrence Sheriff School, I am pleased to say that already in that short time period, not only have the Physics results (at both GCSE and A level) improved significantly, we have also enormously increased the number of students taking A level Physics at the school.
All years from Year 7 to Year 13 study Physics as a separate science, although from September 2011 we will be returning to General Science for Years 7 & 8. At the moment, we are studying GCSE with the Edexcel Specification (Years 9 to 11), for which all of our students are expected to achieve a GCSE in Separate Science Physics. Over the last 3 years, our GCSE results have averaged 70% A* to A, with 100% A* to C.
At A level, we also teach the Edexcel specification. This is partly for the sake of continuity from GCSE, but also partly due to the fact that I am a Team Leader with the Edexcel examination marking team at AS and at A2 level. Over the past three years, we have averaged 70% of A2 pass grades at A* to B, whilst 100% scored A to E grades.
Specifications, past papers and a whole host of other goodies associated with the GCSE and A level courses that we offer are available at www.edexcel.com.
It is often expected that such high grades should be produced by a grammar school, but it is important to note that both at GCSE and A level, we are providing positive value-added. This is particularly impressive at A level, where on average the students have been around 0.5 grades on average above their targets for the last 4 years.
Due to the increasing popularity of the subject at AS, the number of groups at this level has increased from two (in 2006-7) to five (2010-11). Perhaps some of this has been generated by the fact that we provide many alternative methods to satisfy their appetite for the subject, such as lectures, visits, conferences, Physics Olympiad, Advanced Extension Papers, essay competitions and presentations.
We are also fortunate in that we have 5 dedicated Physics teachers in our Department, all of whom teach Sixth Form groups. This allows us to give great variety in teaching style, as most sixth form groups are shared between two teachers. The teachers are:
Dr Stephen Johnson (Head of Physics, Science Faculty Coordinator, Associate Senior Teacher)
Mr David Scarsbrook (Teacher of Physics, Teacher of Design Technology)
Mrs Sheila Poppa (Teacher of Physics, Teacher of Design Technology, Head of Citizenship, Head of Year 7)
Mr David Mayes (Teacher of Physics, Head of Electronics)
Mr James Oggelsby (Teacher of Physics, Teacher of Mathematics)
We also have a wonderful technician (Mrs Jeanette Gardner).
I feel that the Physics Department at Lawrence Sheriff offers an academic and friendly approach to study, with the students always coming first.
Stephen Johnson (Head of Physics) – June 2012.