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Physics AS & A2 Level (EDEXCEL) at Crossley Heath School

Course description

Current Board and Specification:    EDEXCEL

Advanced Subsidiary GCE in Physics (8PH01) and Advanced GCE in Physics (9PH01)

(This course is under review but we don’t envisage it changing very much)

The aims of a Physics course at this level are to encourage the students to:

Develop their knowledge and understanding of the subject including its applications and the skills needed to use this in new and changing situations

Develop their understanding of the links between theory and experiment

Appreciate the development of and its importance in practical, social, philosophical, economic and industrial aspects of our society.

Sustain and develop their interest in, and enjoyment of, Physics

Appreciate the quantitative nature of the subject and the use of mathematical expression to describe physical principles


Study how scientific models are developed and the way in which concepts can embrace different areas of the subject.




Course content

The current course follows the Salters Horners’ context-led approach complimented by additional materials and significant staff experience of teaching the more traditional concept-led course.  This approach begins with the consideration of an application that draws on many different areas of physics, and then moves on to the laws, theories and models of physics underlying this application.


Entry requirements

Students entering Year 12 to study Physics should have achieved grades A*, A or B in an  appropriate GCSE course (Dual Award Science or Physics) and A in Mathematics and students who have not reached this level of achievement will only be accepted after full discussion of individual cases.  It is essential that students should have studied for the higher level paper in GCSE Maths. Students who have only achieved a grade B in GCSE Sciences will find this course to be extremely challenging.

Although it is not essential, students will greatly benefit from studying Mathematics at AS level. Only on very rare occasions do we take a student who is not studying AS Maths. Anyone wishing to pursue a physics or engineering related career must also study Mathematics A level.



Students will first be introduced to the context and then study the relevant physics.  This approach allows students to apply physics to everyday situations and gives them an appreciation of its importance in society and relates it to the needs of people.  The course also allows students to study the physics of the latest technological and scientific developments.

Lessons will consist of discussion, problem solving and practical work including a significant amount of data logging.  In order to have a good chance of success in Physics at A level, students should be  confident mathematically and be prepared to take an active interest in the subject, including reading more widely about related topics.

AS Level - Physics on the Go

Content Summary

This unit involves the study of mechanics (rectilinear motion, forces, energy and power) and materials (flow of liquids, viscosity, Stokes’ Law, properties of materials, Young’s modulus and elastic strain energy).

AS level - Physics at Work

This topic is taught using applications that relate to sports.  The other parts of this topic are taught using a case study of the production of sweets and biscuits and the physics associated with spare part surgery for joint replacements and lens implants.

Content Summary

This unit involves the study of waves (including refraction, polarisation, diffraction and standing (stationary) waves), electricity (current and resistance, Ohm’s law and non-ohmic materials, potential dividers, emf and internal resistance of cells, and negative temperature coefficient thermistors) and the wave/particle nature of light.

The contexts used to teach parts of this unit including music, medical physics, technology in space, solar cells and an historical study of the nature of light.

A2 level - Physics on the Move

Content Summary

This unit involves the study of further mechanics (momentum and circular motion). Electric and  magnetic fields, and particle physics. The contexts used to teach this unit include a modern rail transport system, communications and display techniques.  Particle physics is the subject of current research, involving the acceleration and detection of high-energy particles.  The area of the specification is taught by exploring a range of contemporary experiments.

A2 level - Physics from Creation to Collapse

Content Summary

This unit involves the study of thermal energy, nuclear decay, oscillations, astrophysics and cosmology.

The contexts used to teach this unit include space technology, medical physics and the construction of buildings in earthquake zones.  The astrophysics and cosmology section of this specification are taught using the physical interpretation of astronomical observations, the formation and evolution of stars, and the history of future of the universe.

Future opportunities

Physics is a well regarded subject in terms of demonstrating strong numerical, logical and problem solving skills.  In addition to careers directly related to physics and research, it is also a compulsory ‘A’ level for studying Engineering at university.  The subject is also an excellent part of preparation for medical based careers.  For more information see 

Further information

To find out more about this qualification, contact us, ask your Connexions Personal Adviser or school/college careers staff.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Crossley Heath School directly.

Last updated date: 06 November 2014
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 year