The core of computing is computer science, in which students are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, students are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that students become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
Overview of Year 7
Students take on a variety of tasks that cover all three strands of the Computer Science Programme of Study: Computer Science, Digital Literacy and Information Technology. Students have the opportunity to:
- Use technology responsibly and learn how to stay safe online, through the recognition of inappropriate content and knowing what to publish and when
- Write algorithms that represent real situations
- Write programs to make things happen
- Communicate and collaborate electronically using contemporary network technologies
- Use decomposition to follow and write algorithms, leading to writing and sharing programs that are useful in the physical world
- Write computer-based models that use abstraction to remove unnecessary detail
- Use logic circuits and notation to describe systems and model computer memory
- Learn how encryption methods keep data private
- Write a website using html and css
- Convert between denary and binary
- Learn data representation techniques including the use of binary data to represent images and sound
- Debug and redesign programs
- Combine software to make sophisticated solutions
- Evaluate the impact of technology to solve real-world problems
Overview of Year 8
In Year 8, students continue to develop and explore within the three strands of the programme of study and have the opportunity to:
- Develop greater efficiency of programming by using subroutines
- Amend images by programming
- Represent sound with binary
- Use search technologies and selecting and ranking results by trustworthiness
- Learn how computer systems communicate, networks and their hardware
- Share resources safely using encryption
- Learn how computer processors work
- Develop machine-code programming
- Learn about operating systems and utility software
- Learn how to program games using constructs and data types
- Understand Big Data - evaluating digital artefacts, collecting, processing and presenting data;
- Learn about cybersecurity, including the ways that digital communication is kept safe
- Design digital devices and systems
Overview of Year 9
In Year 9, students continue to develop and explore to greater depth within the three strands of the programme of study in preparation for GCSE and the use of digital technologies generally, and have the opportunity to:
- Develop more in-depth programming, including the use of decomposition and abstraction to generate algorithm that represent real-world situations and create physical devices
- Develop their use of pseudocode as a means to assist with problem-solving
- Use standard search and sort algorithms to accomplish tasks
- Compare algorithms for efficiency
- Understand the standard ways of using digital office technologies efficiently, including word processing, spreadsheets and presentations
- Consider aspects of safety through the things we post online and digital footprint
- Program physical devices with efficient and concise programs
- Collect data from the real world with devices we have created
- Write a website that updates with live data
- Develop an understanding of rocket telemetry
- Present live data
Additionally, we offer lunchtime and after-school clubs to develop exciting projects in robotics, digital imaging, animation and other aspects of ICT and programming, through the use of various physical devices including micro: bits, Lego and Arduino.
KS4 Core Computing
All KS4 students study a curriculum of computing that will support their digital literacy skills for use both in and out of school.
COMPUTER SCIENCE – GCSE
Examination Board: OCR
The school boasts a modern suite of computers and dedicated full-time IT support. GCSE Computer Science is an optional two-year course for students in Years 10 and 11. There are three components of study:
Paper 1: Computer Systems external 1 hour 30 minute examination, 50% of total mark
This component introduces learners to the Central Processing Unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. Learners will become familiar with the impact of Computer Science in a global context through the study of the ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with Computer Science.
Paper 2: Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming external 1 hour 30 minute examination, 50% of total mark.
This component incorporates and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in Component 1, encouraging learners to apply this knowledge and understanding using computational thinking. Learners will be introduced to algorithms and programming, learning about programming techniques, how to produce robust programs, computational logic, translators and facilities of computing languages and data representation. Learners will become familiar with computing related mathematics.
Additionally, learners must undertake a practical project of 20 hours.
Learners will need to create suitable algorithms, which will provide a solution to the problems identified in the task. They will then code their solutions in a suitable programming language. The solutions must be tested at each stage to ensure they solve the stated problem and learners must use a suitable test plan with appropriate test data. In this component, learners must think computationally to solve a task and while doing so create a report detailing the creation of their solution, explaining what they did and why they did it.
Learners will have the opportunity to demonstrate the key elements of computational thinking, namely:
- Thinking abstractly – removing unnecessary detail
- Thinking ahead – identifying preconditions and inputs and outputs
- Thinking procedurally – identifying components of problems and solutions
- Thinking logically – predicting and analysing problems
- Thinking concurrently – spotting and using similarities
Further information from Mr D Jones