The Computing department aims to promote the creative use of digital applications and ability to use programming languages to create solutions to IT problems. We equip learners with the skills they need to live, learn and earn in the 21st century by developing their ability to organise themselves and their work and by encouraging them to reflect critically on their own and others’ use of Computing.
As the use of IT in the workplace and in college/university courses change, the curriculum changes to respond to the future needs of the students. We have a strong Computer Science and IT curriculum at all Key Stages, with some students obtaining successful places at university on completion of Key Stage 5. At all Key Stages we also provide key skills for not only the courses in the next Key Stage, but for students to successfully use IT in a range of subjects and contexts.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 students follow a curriculum combining ICT and Computer Science.
In Year 7 Students are introduced to the SharePoint environment, and are given a range of online accounts to include Microsoft Teams, where they can access resources and submit work. They are also provided with an Office 365 account, which gives access to online and offline software used in the school. Each student is given a OneDrive account, where they access and store their own work at school and at home.
Students start with learning Key Skills, where we bridge the gap in learning the key IT skills needed for a range of subjects and contexts, which includes using Teams, OneDrive and Office 365.
The first unit provides a comprehensive understanding of Internet safety, where we ensure that students protect themselves against risks involved with online activity and mobile phone use. The remaining units cover a range of Computer Science and ICT topics, to ensure that students gain the required skills and knowledge to provide a foundation for the following years.
Year 8 Computer Science units include topics such as Flowcharts and Python programming, where programming concepts become deeper and students learn how to type code with no visual aids, identifying syntax and logic errors as they go. The emphasis this year is to develop independence and problem-solving skills. ICT units include a range of topics where students learn about design and selection of the most appropriate tools for a specific purpose. This could include Spreadsheets, Databases and Multimedia.
Year 9 Computer Science focuses on developing programming concepts using algorithms and computational thinking further and using Python to train students into being independent and confident coders, ready for the GCSE Computer Science course. ICT units develop both the design and IT branches of the subject. Traditional IT topics such as Databases and Spreadsheets are covered along with relevant key skills in business.
Key Stage 4
There are two optional pathways for Key Stage 4, where students can continue to follow the Computer Science or ICT route, or both.
The GCSE Computer Science course develops theory of Computer Science topics and practical programming. There are two examination units that separate into Computer Systems and Computational thinking. The Computer Systems unit includes topics such as computer hardware, networking, systems software and security and ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns. The Computational thinking unit covers the programming theory such as algorithms, programming concepts, logic and languages and data representation. Coding knowledge will be assessed in the Unit 2 exam.
The Cambridge Nationals in IT course is an exciting vocational course that allows students to get hands on with project based real life solutions. The course includes one examination unit and one coursework unit. The coursework unit is structured as a project and includes project stages such as planning, design, development, testing and evaluation. A range of software is used depending on the scenario, such as Database, Spreadsheet, Web authoring, Desk-top publishing and presentation software. The examination unit tests knowledge on the following:
- Tools and techniques that can be used to initiate and plan solutions
- How Data and Information can be collected, stored and used
- The factors to be considered when collecting and processing data and storing data/information
- The different methods of processing data and presenting information
Students that have successfully completed one of the Key Stage 4 courses can develop further in Key Stage 5.
The linear GCE in Computer Science comprises of two examination units and one coursework unit. The Computer Systems examination unit comprises of topics such as computer hardware, software, exchanging data, data types and structures and legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues. The Algorithms and programming examination unit comprises of topics such as elements of computational thinking, problem solving and programming and algorithms. The examination units include in-depth knowledge of the topics and the application of this knowledge on a new context.
The third unit involves students following the development lifecycle to plan, design, develop, test and evaluate a solution to a programming problem. Students are able to choose a programming problem of their choice, ranging from games to data solutions and can choose from a range of programming languages to code the solution. Students gain an in-depth understanding and experience of the range of product development documentation and learning from the iterative approach to product development.
The Cambridge Technicals in IT vocational course builds on the hands-on approach learnt in Key Stage 4. The course comprises of 5 units, two are exam units and the other 3 units are coursework.
In unit 6 and 9 students learn about prototyping, the iterative development model and further client involvement with a specific client brief to create a Database solution using specialised software. Students gain an in-depth understanding and practice of development testing and acceptance testing using a focus group.
The unit 1 exam provides a strong understanding of IT technologies and practices that are essential for IT professionals. Content includes hardware, networks, software, data representation, ethical use of computers and how business uses IT.
In the unit 2 exam unit students learn about the uses of information in the public domain and globally by individuals and organisations. This includes learning about the good management of data and information, and how it is used internally and externally to give an organisation a competitive edge. Students will gain a greater understanding of the legislation and regulation governing information and the constraints and limitations that apply to all organisations.
How I can support my child?
Parents can support their child/children in Computing in the following ways:
- Regularly check their child’s planner to ensure that they are writing homework in clearly, and completing it on time
- Be aware of any emails from the teacher, with notice of tests and coursework deadlines. Support their child in revision and completing coursework by the deadline.
- Provide a quiet environment for homework where distractions are kept to a minimum
- Support their child with their homework and remind them of resources that they can use
- Identify the use of IT in everyday life
- Ask questions about what they are learning and encourage them to show you their work and assessments, so they take pride in their work