Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest


Academic Year 2016/2017

Head of Department:
Mrs M Close

Teaching Staff:
Mrs K Brolly

Ms K Mitchel

What is Physics?
Physics is the part of science and technology which deals with how and why things behave as they do. It sets out to give an understanding of all physical phenomena, from the smallest specks of matter to the universe as a whole, encompassing elementary particles, nuclei, atoms, molecules, everyday objects, oceans, atmospheres, the Earth, planets, stars and galaxies.

Studying physics develops a wide range of skills such as problem solving, communicating ideas, working with numbers and ICT. At all levels it includes topics such as electricity, heat, magnetism, moments, waves and motion.

An example of some of the more cutting edge research undertaken by physicists is evident in the creation of and detection of particles in high energy collisions, at the CERN research laboratory in Switzerland, which allows physicists to understand the evolution of the Universe after the Big Bang.

At Loreto College, we have two well equipped Physics labs and share another one with Junior Science. We are very fortunate to have a wide range of modern laboratory equipment which along with an excellent technician ensures that apparatus is on hand and ready for each class giving students lots of opportunities to develop their practical skills.

Both physics labs have interactive whiteboards and teachers are well advanced in their use as a teaching aid. As part of Specialist schools we now have access to a third fully equipped computer room located opposite the physics department. In addition we have shared access to a number of Dataharvester data loggers  with which we will be able to carry out a much wider range of experiments.

Our access to departmental computer facilities, data-logging and software along with access to the schools three ICT suites ensures that the Information Technology demands of the Curriculum can be delivered. Each lab has blackout facilities and wall mounted screens. We use a large selection of video clips to introduce concepts and illustrate industrial applications of the topics studied.

Courses and Content
Key Stage 3
Physics is taught to all Y8 & Y9 pupils as part of an integrated science course, using specially prepared LORNOTES along with ‘Science Pathways’, text book. Physics then emerges as a single subject at Y10 when the remaining Physics topics of Key Stage 3 are addressed through the use of teaching modules prepared by the department. In Y10 we study Waves, Sound, Light and Earth and Space. Each student has 6 periods of Physics per week for a five/six week module, which is the rotated with chemistry and biology on a 4-6 week cycle.

Key Stage 4
At Y11 students can choose to study physics for GCSE or opt for the Double or Single Award Science course, of which Physics comprises one third of the qualification.
At Key Stage 4, the Physics content is delivered through the use of 'Duncan - GCSE Physics' as well as a variety of handouts prepared by the department. Topics include Light, Waves, Sound, Mechanics, Electricity, Electromagnetism, Radioactivity and the Earth in Space. Topics introduced earlier are revisited and developed further. Our students perform very well at GCSE.
Year 11 and Year 12 students now study the new unitised GCSE qualification from CCEA and sit examinations at the end of year 11 and year 12. Instead of coursework they now complete at least one controlled assessment during the two years.

AS & A2 Level Physics
At AS & A Level Physics we follow the CCEA revised specification with modular examinations. Both AS and A2 modular exams are sat in June.