Electronics

Find out more about studying Electronics at Westminster

Electronics

  • About
  • Curriculum
  • Enrichment
  • Staff
  • After Westminster
  • About

    Electronic engineers work at the forefront of practical technology, improving the devices and systems we use every day. From solar-energy systems to mobile phones, they innovate to meet society’s communication, tech and energy needs. Within Electronics at Westminster, we encourage pupils to think in inventive ways and to challenge existing practices within a very well-equipped, dedicated Electronics Department with two teaching rooms, each with distinct theory and practical areas. Each pupil has their own practical workstation, equipped with a power supply, networked desktop computer, oscilloscope, signal generator, and other bespoke test equipment. The department is well provisioned with all standard components; CMOS digital IC’s, operational amplifiers, Genie microcontrollers, PIC microcontrollers, and a wide range of passive and active components, and has the hardware for pupils to programme either in assembler or via the Genie graphic interface. The primary subject-specific software used is the suite of programs from New Wave Solutions including Circuit Wizard and Genie for designing, simulating, and programming electronic systems.

    Department Contact Mr Michael Collier
    michael.collier@westminster.org.uk
  • Curriculum
    Lower School

    The Fifth Form (Year 9) course aims to allow pupils to develop and sustain their own innovation, creativity, and Electronics capability.  

    The programme of study contains three main focus tasks, undertaken in each of the three termly subject rotations during the course of the year. These include a major soldering project, where pupils will ‘take home’ a physical, working electronic circuit. They learn to design electronic circuits using Circuit Wizard software, which allows them to simulate, test, fault find and evaluate practical circuits. Finally, they learn to build circuits on prototype breadboards, where they can see their designs fully realised.  

    The GCSE course is designed to provide pupils with a curriculum that is not only concerned with the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake but also relates the theories and concepts to everyday experiences. Thus, Electronics is made personal to the individual, its relevance is highlighted and a sense of responsibility to the world around them is developed. 

    Above all our aim is to make Electronics as satisfying and enjoyable as possible and to promote a sense of wonder in the subject. 

    In the Lower Shell (Year 10), all pupils follow a structured course of practical work, exploring the specification topics, through carefully written project sheets. These sheets also detail the theoretical knowledge required for the end-of-course assessments. They are supported by departmentally developed videos to address any gaps in understanding or future revision requirements.  

    In the Upper Shell (Year 11), assessment is through two written examinations (Discovering Electronics and Application of Electronics) and one major coursework piece, an extended system design and realisation task to assess electronics skills.

    Electronics course topics include: electronic systems and sub-systems; circuit concepts; resistive components in circuits; switching circuits; applications of diodes; combinational logic systems; operational amplifiers; timing circuits; sequential systems; interfacing digital to analogue circuits; and control circuits. 

    Syllabus & Code
    Eduqas GCSE C490QS Electronics
    Upper School

    The Eduqas A Level in Electronics provides a broad, coherent, satisfying, and worthwhile course of study. It encourages pupils to develop confidence in, and a positive attitude towards, Electronics and to recognise its importance in their own lives and in today’s technological society. The course is designed to ensure that pupils have the electronic and mathematical knowledge, and the electronic engineering skills to solve problems. Pupils will learn to appreciate how many challenges in society can be tackled by the application of scientific ideas in the field of Electronics, using engineering processes. The practical work enables learners to appreciate the theoretical knowledge required within the specification through a hands-on context. 

    At both AS Level and A Level, the course is a mix of theory and practical application sessions, although there is a strong emphasis on understanding the theory by the building of practical circuits. Assessment at AS Level requires each pupil to complete three coursework projects in programming, digital systems and analogue systems, as well as a written exam (principles of Electronics) at the end of the Sixth Form (Year 12). AS Electronics is taken as a fifth subject in the School’s Options Programme and any pupil who wishes may take the course. Commitment is initially to the AS course, which is completed in the Sixth Form, although many pupils choose to continue to study the A2 course in the Remove (Year 13). 

    In the Remove, assessment is through two written examinations (principles of Electronics and application of Electronics) and two coursework tasks (an integrated design and realisation task and a design and program task to create a microcontroller system).  

    Electronics course topics include: electronic system synthesis;  DC electrical circuits; input and output subsystems; energy and power; semiconductor components; logic systems; operational amplifiers; timing circuits; sequential logic systems; microcontrollers; mains power supply systems; signal conversion; AC circuits and passive filters; communications systems; wireless transmission; instrumentation systems; optical communication; high power switching systems; and audio systems. 

    Syllabus & Code
    Eduqas AS Level B490QS Electronics / Eduqas A Level A490QS Electronics
    Sixth Form Entry
    Subject requirements for the course
    The course builds on the knowledge, understanding, and skills established at GCSE. Prior knowledge of Electronics is not, however, a pre-requisite for undertaking the course although a strong grasp of Mathematics is recommended. As such, there is no entrance examination requirement.

    Entrance Examination

    There is no entrance examination for Electronics at A Level, as it is a fifth subject that pupils can choose as part of the General Options Programme.

  • Enrichment

    Numerous pupils use the labs and expertise of the staff to work on personal projects during their own time. This may include John Locke project work (a school-specific Science competition), and EPQ and Physics practicals. 

  • Staff

    * denotes Head of Department
    † denotes Housemaster

    Dr Ransford Agyare-Kwabi (RAK)  †
    Mr Michael Collier (MJC) — Head of Electronics  *
    Mrs Lydia Timpson (LXT) — Head of International Universities
  • After Westminster

    Many pupils go on to study Engineering at university, and their experiences of studying Electronics at Westminster provides a framework for this. There is now a wealth of diverse and interesting courses on offer at university, which complement the study of Electronics, including: Aerospace Engineering; Automotive Engineering; Bioengineering; Communications / Telecoms / Network Engineering; Manufacturing Engineering; Marine Technology / Naval Architecture / Ship Science; Computer Systems Engineering; and Robotics.

"Electronics lessons are very engaging and dynamic; you get opportunities to do practical coursework unlike any other A Level and each lesson is a chance to build and learn something new. I enjoy it because it is so different to my other A Levels and is a chance to take a more relaxed approach to learning, whilst still providing an enriching and immensely fun experience.”

— Anisha, Year 12 pupil

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