Expectation & Excellence
established 1546

Mr Harris: Head of History


Physics is the study of energy. It allows us to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of many aspects of the world we live in: Why is the sky blue? How can a nuclear power station produce so much energy from something that is 2000 million times smaller than the width of a human hair? What is out there in the Universe and how did it all begin?

A range of physics topics is taught in Years 7 and 8, within general science lessons. In Year 9 and above Physics is taught as a separate science. We aim to make our lessons fun, thought provoking, informative and to pass on our hopefully infectious curiosity about the world around us.

- Dr Usher, Head of Physics


Dr Usher Head of Physics
I love my subject. Ever since I can remember I have always been keen on science and physics, so there was never any doubt that Physics was the subject I would study at University. I did my degree at Exeter University and then stayed on to do a PhD in semiconductor Physics using ultra-fast lasers. I have taught at Colyton since 1995, but had a brief two-year break in 2000, when I worked as a Product Development Engineer for a telecoms company. I really enjoy sharing my passion and enthusiasm for physics in the classroom.

Mrs Fitzhenry Physics Teacher / Head of Key Stage 4
I have always loved science and maths and never had a doubt that my career would involve them in some way. After studying Physics at Bath University for two years, I moved to Lancaster and as a result have studied all three sciences to at least first year university level. Particle Physics is by far my favourite topic! However, as much as I love science I love being a teacher a whole lot more! I have been at Colyton Grammar School since 2004, and feel very lucky to be able to work in such a fabulous place.

Mr Lynch Physics Teacher
Growing up under the flight path of Heathrow airport, I was fascinated with how the gigantic metal machines were able to cruise so gracefully through the sky. It was at Air Cadets that I first got the chance to teach the physics of flight. I enjoyed this so much that I decided to study Physics at Imperial College. During my degree I found a new fascination for the small end of the physical world and studied the laser fusion of plasma for my Masters project. Knowing how much I had enjoyed teaching Physics previously, I went on to do a PGCE at King’s College. I have not looked back since – I love the variety of teaching – no two days are the same, I also love those penny drop moments when students think that a concept is difficult then all of a sudden – ping!

Mrs Hawkes Physics and Science Technician
I was delighted to join Colyton Grammar as a Science Technician in December 2011, after moving down to the Westcountry from Surrey with my family. After obtaining my Geology degree from Imperial College, I spent the first part of my career working in the oil industry, where I was lucky enough to travel widely and experience life offshore in the North Sea. I enjoy being part of the technician team, supporting science teaching throughout the school and particularly the fantastic range of practical work that is done in the Physics department. I especially enjoy preparing for experiments involving food (biscuits, M&Ms and marshmallows!) and helping with the fun and exciting activities for outreach events encouraging involvement with science.


At GCSE, students study units about energy, waves, forces, electricity, radioactivity, electromagnetism and medical applications of physics. This works towards a Physics GCSE qualification from the AQA exam board.

At A-Level we follow the OCR B (Advancing Physics) course. This covers a number of topics including imaging, sensing circuits, quantum physics, space, gravity and particle physics.

The department spearheads the Science Outreach programme. Over the past four years, ninety visits have been made to primary schools in our learning community. Science sessions include: 'Terrific Temperature', 'Mysterious Materials', 'Crazy Colour' and 'Science is Magic'.

The outreach programme also runs 'hands on' science activities at the Norman Lockyer Observatory’s Family Day and at the Sidmouth Science Festival. All of these activities are supported by a team of wonderful Sixth Form helpers.

The department participates in a number of competitions. Sixth Form students are given the opportunity to participate in the British Physics Olympiad. Lower school students have entered the Faraday Challenge (we were the South West regional winner in 2011/12) and the Big Bang Science Fair at Exeter University. There have also been a number of inter-House themed science challenges.