From the structure of matter to how the Earth came to be, these are the types of questions we seek to answer through studying Physics. 

As a species we have a curiosity about the world, and indeed the universe in which we live; this drives us to make new discoveries and through thought and experimentation try to gain a better understanding of nature.  Through supportive and engaging teaching we seek to encourage curiosity and independent learning. Our goal is for pupils to want to understand more about the world around them and enjoy making new discoveries.

Physics is one of the most requested compulsory A levels by courses offered at Russell  Group universities and it is a popular A level choice here at Sutton valence School. Many pupils go on to university to study Engineering, Economics, Medicine and other related degrees. With growing concern over the number of pupils taking up STEM related courses, there has arguably never been a better time to be a scientist or engineer in terms of the opportunities available. Most of our daily lives are in some way touched by scientific endeavour, clever engineering or the ingenious mathematics that keeps the world around us ticking. Studying Physics can take you to the forefront of our ever-advancing technological society.


The Physics department comprises of two full times teachers and a technician. Melissa Halleron heads the department and has been with us since 2007. She is also involved in various aspects of school life; a boarding tutor at Sutton House, an officer in the CCF and a member of the games department coaching various sports teams. She studied at the University of Leeds where she gained her degree in Physics with Astrophysics. She is currently an examiner for both AQA and OCR.  

Dr Marc Brown came to the school in 2008 after spending six years in research working for BP, Proctor and Gambol and Kimberly-Clarke, during which he gained his PhD in Single-sided MRI.  He graduated from The University of Kent with first class joint honours in Chemistry and Physics.  He is Senior Tutor for the Juniors and oversees the Junior Science curriculum.


Physics is taught as a separate subject at junior level with an emphasis on skills and how science works, the topics include: Forces, Energy, Electricity, Sound, Light and Space.   

In Third Form Physics is taught by specialists and we look to ensure students are fully prepared before they embark on their GCSEs. Fundamental subject knowledge and key skills are honed in preparation for KS4; Forces and motion, Electricity, Electromagnetism and Waves are the topics taught.


We follow the AQA syllabus at GCSE for both the combined and separate science awards.  Those who sit Science and Additional Science follow Route 1 of the AQA GCSE and pupils are selected at the end of third form to follow the separate science route.

A Level

At A Llevel we follow the OCR Physics A course. 

The AS units are: 

  • Mechanics (90 marks) 
  • Electrons, waves and photons (150 marks) 
  • Practical Skills 1 (60 marks)   
  • The A2 units are: 
  • The Newtonian World (90 marks) 
  • Fields, particles and frontiers of physics (150 marks) 
  • Practical Skills 2 (60 marks)  

Further opportunities

Within the Physics department we offer a range of enhancement activities.  Engineering projects are available to senior pupils, working in conjunction with manufacturers in industry; pupils design and produce a working solution to a real life problem.  Students in the Sixth Form visit The University of Kent and The University of Sussex for taster days.  This gives pupils the opportunity to experience university life first hand and participate in lab activities.

Miss Melissa Halleron
Head of Department

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