Under School - Years 9-11

The pupil’s initial work introduces some of the basic ideas and building blocks of Physics. Key topics and areas of skill development include:

  • Mathematical background, the scales of the Universe from the very big to the very small and the importance of units in Physics.
  • An introduction to experimental work, recording data, plotting graphs and the art of data analysis.
  • The application of IT to Physics including the use of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for note taking, graphing and data presentation is developed. Research skills involving finding data on the web are also encouraged.

The pupils start to develop these skills while they embark on some of the more straightforward elements of the Edexcel IGCSE syllabus. The Edexcel Physics course provides a single tier assessment appropriate to the technological world in which the pupils will live and provides a sound foundation for more advanced studies of this and related subjects. Its importance in domestic, industrial and environmental contexts is emphasised. At Charterhouse, the IGCSE is taught over three years and this provides the time to explore some areas in greater depth and to cover additional material not normally included. The main topic areas are electricity, waves, energy, solids liquids and gases, electromagnetism and radioactivity and particles and astronomy.

In addition, selected pupils who show a particular flare or enthusiasm for Physics can join the Faraday Society which, jointly with Chemistry, offers a range of additional topics.

Cambridge Pre-U - Specialists (Sixth Form)

GCSE Requirements

Due to the fact that this course builds on the knowledge, understanding and practical skills that are developed in GCSE and IGCSE, it is expected that pupils will have taken Physics at this level. Proficiency in mathematics is also very important and pupils would normally be expected to also be studying Mathematics as a Specialist (in the Sixth Form) .

The course

The Cambridge Pre-U Physics course is designed to be academically rigorous while offering complementary views of the subject emphasizing both mathematical reasoning and the historical and philosophical development of the subject. Choice is partly provided by an independent personal investigation chosen by the pupil in consultation with the teacher. Flexibility is also provided by allowing pupils to opt for questions testing their preferred approach to the subject.

Physics offers much variety; from skilful experimentation to careful mathematical deduction; from studying the atomic nucleus to looking at the structure of the whole Universe; from designing new devices of practical use to inventing new ways of imaging the world; from explaining the simple phenomena of everyday life to making sense of things never seen. The Physics covered will provide opportunities for illustrating its use in areas as diverse as medicine, engineering, space exploration, transport, communications, environmental issues and geology. The mathematical requirements are incorporated into the Physics: areas covered include vectors, computer modelling, logarithms, sinusoidal and exponential functions, differentiation and integration.

Outline of the course

Part A of the course consists of topics including Mechanics, Gravitational Fields, Deformation in Solids, Energy Concepts, Electricity, Waves, Superposition and Atomic and Nuclear Physics. The practical work encourages the skilful use of instruments and design of experiments, and teaches the rewards of deft work. Computing also plays an important and varied role. Key skills in experimental work, data analysis and communication will be monitored via a series of 'can-do' tasks. The candidates have an opportunity to develop their interests and communication skills through researching a topic and delivering a presentation to their fellow pupils.

Part B of the course consists of topics including Rotational Mechanics, Oscillations, Fields, Gravitation, Astronomy, Cosmology, Electromagnetism and Nuclear and Quantum Physics. The pupils will also undertake an individual practical investigation of their own choosing.

Combinations with other subjects

Physics combines well with many subjects, particularly other sciences, including Mathematics, Economics or Geography.

University courses and careers

Physics is much respected at university entrance. It is required for the Physical Sciences and Engineering. It is useful for Medicine, given the extent of technology used in that field. The financial institutions appreciate the clarity of thought and numeracy developed by Physics; lawyers, too, are in need of colleagues with training in science. Physics has much to offer those who want their futures involved with practical ways of helping other people and, equally, those who wish to understand Nature in as fundamental a way as possible. 

Department Staff

Mr Rupert Massey, MPhys – Head of Physics

Mr Massey was educated at the Manchester Grammar School and then studied Physics at Christ Church College, Oxford.  He followed this with a PGCE at the University of Manchester.  He returned to his old school to teach for 6 years before arriving at Charterhouse in September 2015.  Prior to becoming Head of Department he was Head of Year for two years.  He is also Assistant Housemaster of Pageites and outside the classroom he coaches football and hockey, and is involved in the outdoor education program as a DofE expedition trainer and assessor as well as overseeing the Fifths' Pioneers program.  His primary interest outside of school is diving, usually in an overhead environment!

Mr Stephen Hearn, MSc, MInstP, CPhys

Mr Hearn is a former Head of Physics and Science at Charterhouse.  He has thirty years Physics teaching and A-Level curriculum development experience.  In addition, he acts as the IoP teacher network co-ordinator for Surrey, specialising in teacher education.  In 2018 he completed a Physics Education Masters Degree at Oxford, researching explanations made by Physics students.  He is going to lead the Charterhouse Maths and Physics SCITT initiative after retiring as Housemaster of Robinites, a position he held for nine years.

Miss Antonia Jackson, BSc, PGCE 

Miss Jackson joined Charterhouse from Coloma Convent Girls’ School where she taught Physics for six years.  Prior to this she taught at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School. She was educated at St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls, before reading Physics at the University of Exeter.  She went on to study for a PGCE in Secondary Physics at Exeter.  Miss Jackson enjoys travel, tennis, theatre and reading.

Dr David Lancefield, CPhys, MInstP, MIEE, MIEEE, PhD

Dr Lancefield was educated at Bromley College of Technology and the University of Surrey. He was the Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Surrey before joining Charterhouse, where he headed the department for over ten years.  His research was  in electrical / optical characterisation of semiconductors, and the growth and study of high brightness LEDs. Mr Lancefield's interests include squash and golf.

Dr Thomas Marlow, PhD

Dr Marlow was educated at Toot Hill School; University of London, Imperial College (MSci Physics – First Class), and Nottingham (PhD in Mathematical Physics, then PGCE in Secondary Science Education – Distinction).  He has taught Science and Physics at Rushcliffe School in Nottingham and the British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi, UAE.  Dr Thomas is interested in writing short stories, swimming and travelling.

Mr Philip Stimpson, MEng

Mr Stimpson was educated at Charterhouse; St Edmund Hall, Oxford (MEng) and University of Buckingham (PGCE). His interests include basketball, skiing and travelling.  He is also the Assistant Housemaster of Hodgsonites..

Mr Jon Tully, BEng, FICS, FRGS

Mr Tully was educated at King’s College Taunton, University College, London (BEng: Naval Architecture First Class). He was an Engineer Officer for P&O Cruises and a Director at Clarksons PLC (shipbrokers).  His interests include mountaineering, sailing, riding; and Territorial Army (HAC).


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