Wellington College

Wellington College Belfast

Co-Educational Grammar School

Engage | Educate | Empower

Physics

Physics
Visit to Kilroot Power Station

Key Staff

  • Mr. D. Cardwell (HOD)
  • Mr. M. Girvin (VP)
  • Mrs. A. Weir (Technician)

In the Physics department at Wellington we strive to develop the next generation of physicists and engineers through the vibrant and forward looking GCSE and A Level courses that we offer.

Physicists ask really big questions like:

  • Why do objects fall down?
  • How will the universe change in the future?
  • How does the Sun keep on shining?
  • What are the basic building blocks of matter?

If you think these questions are fascinating, then physics is the subject for you.  In 2012 over 70% of the Year 14s went on to study Physics or Engineering courses at third level education. We follow the CCEA GCSE Physics syllabus and the Edexcel A-Level course. Outside the classroom our students have a range of opportunities to get involved, such as:

  • Nuffield Science Bursary
  • Visit to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland
  • Particle Physics Master classes at Queens University Belfast
  • Horizons in Physics
  • Astronomy Club
  • BT Young Scientists
  • Range of other STEM activities

Pupils follow the CCEA course for Physics, which provides with an in-depth study of this subject area.  The course aims to interest all pupils in Physics, and equip them with the knowledge and skills required to understand life in a technologically-based world.

Topics covered include:

Year 11

  • Forces
  • Motion
  • Energy and Radioactivity

Year 12

  • Waves
  • Electricity
  • Astronomy

GCSE Physics is an excellent preparation for AS and A Level Science courses, but please note that pupils wishing to take a Science subject at AS Level will be expected to have obtained a B grade or better at GCSE.

It is also strongly recommended that those who wish to study Physics at Advanced level should study GCSE Additional Mathematics.

Controlled Assessment

Controlled Assessment accounts for 25% of the total marks for GCSE Physics.  It takes the form of two tasks carried out during class time, each involving the planning of an experiment, carrying it out and analysing the results.

 Examinations

Paper Duration of Written Exam % Mark for each written paper
Year 11 Physics 1hr 30mins 35%
Year 12 Physics 1hr 45mins 40%

Oversubscribed Criteria

In the event that the GCSE Physics class is over-subscribed, preference will be given to those pupils who performed highly in the Y9 Summer and Y10 Winter Science examinations.

A Level Physics courses in Wellington College follow the Edexcel Physics syllabus for a course that combines the essential traditional basics of the subject with new and exciting developments right up to the latest developments in astrophysics and particle accelerators.

Board: Edexcel

Y13 AS Level Physics

The AS Course is divided into 3 Modules:

Module 1 (40%)

  • Motion, forces and projectiles
  • Fluids: liquids (like tomato sauce, slime or syrup) and how they flow; air resistance and streamlines
  • Materials: how do the uses of materials relate to their properties? 

Module 2 (40%)

  • Electricity and circuits
  • Light waves: what they are and how they behave
  • Quantum Physics: the weird and wonderful effects that happen inside atoms, and what use this is in your daily life

Module 3 (20%)

  • This is a Coursework Module. This includes a Study Visit to a place where Physics is in use, followed by planning, carrying out and analysing a related experiment.

Y14 A Level Physics

The A2 Course is also divided into 3 Modules:

Module 4 (40%)

  • Momentum, energy and circular motion
  • Electric and magnetic fields
  • Accelerators and particle physics

Module 5 (40%)

  • Gases and Kinetic theory
  • Nuclear decay and energy
  • Oscillations and Simple Harmonic Motion
  • Astrophysics and Cosmology

Module 6 (20%)

  • Again this is a Coursework Module involving planning, carrying out and analysing a complex experiment.

A physics degree sets you up well for research-based roles and positions in other sciences; it is also useful for careers in business, finance, IT and engineering...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  • Geophysicist/field seismologist
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Metallurgist
  • Radiation protection practitioner
  • Research scientist (physical sciences)
  • Seismic interpreter
  • Secondary school teacher

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  • Investment analyst
  • Meteorologist
  • Operational researcher
  • Patent attorney
  • Systems developer

The Physics Department encourages every pupil to think about the huge range of careers relating to Physics, from sound engineering to astronomy, from the latest hospital scanners to nanotechnology, and from designing the latest in smart materials for fashion to laser fusion research.

Many of our A level Physics students go on to study either Physics or Engineering based courses at University.  Among the leavers from Y14 in August 2012, one has gone to Queen’s to study Physics and another to Astrophysics, and one to Heriot-Watt (Edinburgh) for Physics.  One leaver has gone to University of Ulster for Engineering, and yet another has commenced an apprenticeship at Bombardier.

Among students who left several years ago, we know of three who are currently undertaking studies at PhD level in Physics at Universities around the UK.

Finding out about Careers with Physics

The best web-site for Careers related to Physics is the Institute of Physics:

www.physics.org/careers

This covers Communications, Environment, Medicine, Space, Transport, Engineering, Education and many more.

The page www.physics.org/careerlinks gives links to many other web-sites.

A fun way of looking at Science Careers is provided at www.futuremorph.org

Useful Websites