Welcome to the Physics Department

Physics is the fundamental science which involves the search for new knowledge and understanding about the universe.

Physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. Physics is concerned with fundamental questions relating to motion, heat, light, radiations, sound, electricity, magnetism and nuclear power to name a few.

Physicists’ discoveries are to be found in everyday life. From the latest smart phone and tablet to the giant telescopes which allow us to see to the edge of our universe, physics has played a part.

It’s not just rocket science!

It’s not just rocket science: physics is the route to so many careers, from predicting climate change to designing computer games. A qualification in physics opens doors to a wide range of careers. Physics applications are involved in our everyday lives and there is a vast range of jobs and careers open to those who have studied physics at any level; great career opportunities exist both inside and outside the lab. By studying physics at school you’re opening the door to a wide variety of rewarding careers.

As well as learning about how the universe works, by studying physics you’ll get a broad training in skills that all employers value – an ability to grasp concepts quickly, a determination to find coherent answers, not to mention problem-solving skills.

Physics Department Staff

  • Mr L Charnley
  • Miss L Painter
  • Miss J Bremner


Physics in S3

In S3 students are offered the opportunity to build on the key Physics principals first introduced through the S1 and S2 Science course.

The S3 course provides progression to National 4 and National 5 Physics in S4. The course is fundamentally knowledge based with a key focus on practical activities which demonstrate course concepts. Investigative and problem solving skills are developed to ensure that students are prepared for progressing to National 4 and 5.

Senior Phase

Senior Phase – National 4/National 5

There are a number of learning pathways students can take in Physics during their senior phase based on their personal interests and requirements for further education.

National 4/National 5

In fourth year students can opt to achieve at either National 4 or National 5 level. The course covers all of the major areas of Physics. Students also develop an understanding of physics role in scientific issues and relevant applications of physics in society. Key topics include Electromagnetic Waves, Nuclear Physics, Space Exploration, Moving Bodies, Electronic Circuits and Energy.

National 4 develops key knowledge and skills required to progress to National 5 level in fifth year or sixth year. At National 4, students are required to pass three unit assessments and complete an Added Value Unit on a research topic, all of which is internally assessed.

National 5 students are required to study three units and sit an external element. The external element is split into two sections: a written scientific assignment and an external exam at the end of the year. It is recommended that an A/B pass is achieved in the external element to allow progress to Higher level in fifth year.

More information on the course structure can be found on the SQA website.

Senior Phase – Higher/Advanced Higher

In their fifth and sixth year students can choose to further develop and deepen their knowledge of physics by studying initially at Higher level and then at Advanced Higher level.

Higher Physics Course develops learners’ curiosity, interest and enthusiasm for physics in a range of contexts. The skills of scientific inquiry and investigation are developed throughout the Course, and the relevance of physics is highlighted by the study of the applications of physics in everyday contexts.

Advanced Higher Physics Course enables learners to build on the knowledge and skills developed in the Higher Physics Course and to use their mathematical knowledge and skills to analyse and solve problems in real-life contexts. Through a deeper insight into the structure of the subject, the Course reinforces and extends knowledge and understanding of the concepts of physics and develops skills in investigative practical work.

At Higher level, students will need to study four units and complete an external element. The external element is split into two sections: a written scientific assignment and an external exam at the end of the year.  It is recommended students achieve an A/B pass at Higher level to allow progress to Advanced Higher level in their sixth year.

At Advanced Higher level students will study three units, sit an external exam and complete a scientific project.

More information on the course structure can be found on the SQA website.

Extra Curricular

Supported Study is offered throughout the year. Please ask your class teacher for further details.