Members of Staff

  • Dr C Robinson (HOD)
  • Dr C McLaughlin
  • Mr C Devlin
  • Mr D Fox (Technician)

Physics is a rewarding and challenging subject, particularly suited to pupils who enjoy problem solving. It involves creative thinking and application of knowledge in unfamiliar situations. It explains the behaviour of everything in our Universe. It underpins the processes in Chemical and Biological systems. It stimulates curiosity about how things behave from the particles in an atom to the stars in a galaxy.

Physics lessons encourage pupils to learn the laws of Physics by observing the world around them. These laws are usually mathematical so pupils have the opportunity to use their skills in Mathematics when solving Physics problems. During lessons there is great emphasis on experimental work and the principles behind the Scientific Method.

The topics covered are wide ranging and allow pupils to understand the behaviour of many systems in their everyday lives including recent developments in technology.

The Physics department at Fortwilliam regularly participates in events such as ‘Horizons in Physics’ at QUB and the Larmor and Faraday lectures.
These events are enjoyable and informative and help pupils to see the relevance of Physics in many diverse situations.
In October this year a group of A2 pupils took part a careers event ‘Civilisation Belfast’ organised by the school of engineering at QUB.


All qualifications studied are with the CCEA examination board. The CCEA Physics microsite allows access to useful examination materials such as past papers and the specification.

GCSE Physics at Fortwilliam is studied either through Double Award Physics, as part of the GCSE Double Award in Science, or through ‘Triple’ Physics.
Both Double Award and Triple Award pupils are prepared to study AS or A2 Physics.

The topics covered are similar in both courses.

Unit 1 (examination taken Summer Year 11)
Forces and Motion, Energy, Moments and Radioactivity

Unit 2 (examination taken Summer Year 12)
Waves, sound and Light, Electricity and the Earth and Universe

GCSE pupils also carry out a practical task, the Controlled Assessment. This is done in class under the teacher’s supervision.

Summary of Examinations

  Unit 1  
   Examination  Nature of Assessment   Percentage of Award 
 DA Physics   Summer Year 11   1 hour paper   11% 
 Triple Physics   Summer Year 11   1 hour 30 mins paper   35% 


  Unit 2  
   Examination  Nature of Assessment   Percentage of Award 
 DA Physics   Year 12  1 hour 15 mins paper   14% 
 Triple Physics   Year 12  1 hour 45 mins paper   40% 


The Physics Controlled Assessment is usually carried out in Year 12 after Christmas.

Triple pupils carry out a single Controlled Assessment task.
DA pupils carry out two Controlled Assessment tasks in either Biology, Chemistry or Physics. Each of their Controlled Assessment tasks accounts for 12.5% of the award.

The Controlled Assessment accounts for a total of 25% of the award in both cases.

AS & A2 Physics

All qualifications studied are with the CCEA examination board. The CCEA Physics microsite allows access to useful examination materials such as past papers and the specification.
The recommended criteria to study AS or A2 are:

Grade B in GCSE Physics or
Grade AA in GCSE Double Award Science.

In addition at least a Grade A in GCSE Mathematics (T4/T6 Option) is recommend to ensure adequate mathematical skills.

There are six modules leading to the A2 qualification.

AS modules are covered in Lower Sixth and lead to the AS qualification.
A2 modules are covered in Upper Sixth completing the qualification to A2 standard.

The topics covered in the modules are given below:

AS 1 – Forces, Energy and Electricity
AS 2 – Waves and Photons and Medical Physics.
AS 3 – Practical Techniques

A2 1 – Momentum, Thermal Physics, Circular Motion, Oscillations and Nuclear Physics.
A2 2 – Fields and their applications.
A2 3 – Practical Techniques

Summary of Examinations

 Module  Nature of Assessment  Duration  Assessment Weighting (%)
       AS  A Level
 AS 1  Written Test  1 hour 30 mins  37%  18.5%
 AS 2   Written Test  1 hour 30 mins  37%  18.5%
 AS 3  Practical Test  1 hour 30 mins  26%  13.0%
 A2 1  Written Test  1 hour 30 mins  -  18.5%
 A2 2  Written Test  1 hour 30 mins  -  18.5%
 A2 3  Practical Test   1 hour 30 mins  -   13.0%

Physics at AS/A2 satisfies the entrance requirements for many courses including Engineering, Optometry, Medicine, Architecture and many other courses in Science and Technology.

Graduates in Physics are often recruited by organisations in I.T., Engineering, Research, Financial Services and other areas for their valuable problem solving skills.
Further information on careers can be found on the IOP website.

The Physics Clinic

The Physics Clinic is a mentoring service to help GCSE pupils with difficulties in Physics. These may be pupils who have come across a difficult topic in class or who have been absent from lessons.
During the clinic Sixth Year pupils help GCSE pupils to understand the topics they have found difficult and practise questions with them.
It runs during Senior lunch once a week.
Pupils may come after lunch in the Siena Restaurant or they may bring their packed lunch with them.
Anyone who wishes to attend needs to get a lunch pass from Dr C Robinson.



38 Fortwilliam Park,

Belfast, County Antrim

BT15 4AQ

028 9037 0298