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Physics - Where this college Ranks

The Optoelectronics College's (OEC) series of lessons on colour, vision and display technology is being credited with a sharp increase in pupils choosing physics at the S3 options stage.

The Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre is among the organisations which has helped the college create three sets of activities to make S2 classroom science more appealing, including materials on solar cells and illumination and communication. The Institute of Physics, the Association for Science Education and equipment designers have also been involved.

Funding for resources comes largely from a charity, the Rank Prize Funds, which was established by the late Lord J Arthur Rank in 1972. There are two funds, the Nutrition Fund and the Optoelectronics Fund, encompassing the two sciences that reflect his business interests - flour-milling, and cinema and electronics.

Teachers attending OEC events come away with class sets of free equipment, enabling them to carry out experiments and investigations as soon as they return to school, of which more than 100 have benefited.

The Optoelectronics College was founded by Professor Ian Shanks, a developer of the liquid crystal display, and Professor Wilson Sibbett of the Rank Prize Funds.

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