Energy in the National Curriculum, 2014

KS3 Physics

Pupils should be taught about:


Calculation of fuel uses and costs in the domestic context

  • comparing energy values of different foods (from labels) (kJ)
  • comparing power ratings of appliances in watts (W, kW)
  • comparing amounts of energy transferred (J, kJ, kW hour)
  • domestic fuel bills, fuel use and costs
  • fuels and energy resources.

Energy changes and transfers

  • simple machines give bigger force but at the expense of smaller movement (and vice versa): product of force and displacement unchanged
  • heating and thermal equilibrium: temperature difference between two objects leading to energy transfer from the hotter to the cooler one, through contact (conduction) or radiation; such transfers tending to reduce the temperature difference: use of insulators
  • other processes that involve energy transfer: changing motion, dropping an object, completing an electrical circuit, stretching a spring, metabolism of food, burning fuels.

Changes in systems

  • energy as a quantity that can be quantified and calculated; the total energy has the same value before and after a change
  • comparing the starting with the final conditions of a system and describing increases and decreases in the amounts of energy associated with movements, temperatures, changes in positions in a field, in elastic distortions and in chemical compositions
  • using physical processes and mechanisms, rather than energy, to explain the intermediate steps that bring about such changes.


Energy in matter

  • changes with temperature in motion and spacing of particles
  • internal energy stored in materials.

KS4 Physics


  • energy changes in a system involving heating, doing work using forces, or doing work using an electric current: calculating the stored energies and energy changes involved
  • power as the rate of transfer of energy
  • conservation of energy in a closed system, dissipation
  • calculating energy efficiency for any energy transfers
  • renewable and non-renewable energy sources used on Earth, changes in how these are used.

The structure of matter

  • calculating energy changes involved on heating, using specific heat capacity; and those involved in changes of state, using specific latent heat


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