The Royal Belfast Academical Institution


Head of Department: Mr R. P. Griffiths

Members of Department:

Mr J. A. Macafee

Mr J.S. Wilson

Mr C. Harkness

Teaching and Learning:


Year 8

During year 8 the boys are taught aspects of all three sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) by three science teachers. During the year in Physics they cover topics such as Forces, Density, Pressure, Earth in Space as well as developing their experimental, analytical and mathematical skills.

Year 9

As with year 8, in year 9 the classes are once again taught Science by subject specialists. In Physics the boys cover topics such as Energy, Heat transfer, Magnetism and Electromagnets whilst continuing to develop their scientific skills that they have begun to develop in year 8.

Year 10

In Year 10 the boys cover a wide range of concepts including, Light, Sound, Electricity and Lenses. They once again are continuing to develop their scientific and analytical skills that are crucial at GCSE and beyond.

KS4 –

GCSE Physics

At GCSE we follow the CCEA physics specification which is a two year course. The course is divided into two units. Unit 2 being taught in year 11 and unit 1 in year 12.

Unit 2 contains:

  • Waves
  • Light
  • Electricity
  • Magnetism
  • Electromagnetism
  • Space Physics

Unit 1 contains:

  • Motion
  • Force
  • Moments
  • Energy
  • Density
  • Kinetic Theory
  • Radioactivity
  • Nuclear Fission and Fusion

More information on what the course covers can be found at:

GCSE Astronomy

The physics department is proud to be able to offer the boys in year 11 the opportunity to study the EDEXCEL GCSE astronomy course in one year.

The course consists of 4 core areas:

  1. Earth, moon, sun,
  2. Planetary systems,
  3. Stars,
  4. Galaxies and Cosmology.

These are further broken down into Comets, Meteors, Solar system discoveries, Exoplanets

Constellations, Properties of stars and their evolution.

The course also takes into consideration the main activity of astronomers which is observing the night sky.

This is currently a twilight class and is being taught on a Tuesday from 7.30 - 8.30 am.


AS and A-level

As with GCSE at A-level we follow the CCEA specification.

Each year consists of two written papers and one practical exam.

At AS the boys will study:

AS 1: Forces, Energy and Electricity

AS 2: Waves, Photons and Astronomy

AS 3: Practical Techniques and Data Analysis

At A2 Level the boys will study:

A2 1: Deformation of Solids, Thermal Physics, Circular Motion, Oscillations and Atomic and Nuclear Physics

A2 2: Fields, Capacitors and Particle Physics

A2 3: Practical Techniques and Data Analysis

More information on the course can be found at:

Additional information:

Outside of the Classroom

As well as encouraging the boys to participate well in class we also strive to offer the boys opportunities to develop outside of the classroom through a variety of competitions and trips.

We have had two groups enter the ABP Angus Youth Challenge. The first group reached the semifinal of the competition and the second group made it to the final where they won five Aberdeen Angus calves.

In recent years we have had boys participate in the following competitions:

Sentinus R&D scheme

Sentinus engineering futures

British Physics Olympiad Competition

ABP Angus Youth Challenge

IET Lego Challenge

We also offer a regular trip for 6th form to CERN, Geneva to visit the Large Hadron Collider.

SM18 Magnet testing facility


ATLAS Control room


23 2024
Hockey Awards Dinner
24 2024
Rugby/Hockey Outreach to Primary Schools
30 2024
District B Track & Field
02 2024
HPV Vaccines Years 9 & 10
College Square East, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT1 6DL
Tel: 028 90 240461
© 2024 The Royal Belfast Academical Institution