Computing

Computers are now part of everyday life. For most of us, technology is essential to our lives, at home and at work. Logical, computational thinking are transferable skills and are at the heart of this subject as is the desire to encourage our pupils to become independent learners so that they are ready for the future workplace and able to participate effectively in this digital world.

The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils 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, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use computers safely, express themselves and develop their ideas by using communication technology. The Computing curriculum is divided into the following themes:

  • Understanding Computers: E-safety, digital citizenship, hardware and software
  • Business Computing: Databases, spreadsheets, word processing, email
  • Creative Computing: Web authoring, Presentations, graphics, Publishing
  • Computer Programming: Computer control, scratch and python programming

Year 7 

In Year 7, pupils will be able to consolidate prior learning and will be introduced to the core themes of computer science through an innovative new curriculum.

The work to be undertaken includes:

  • Understanding online threats and learning to be safe in a connected world.

  • Developing a core understanding of how computers operate.

  • Create 3D computer games using Kodu in order to foster interest in programming and learn the basics of computational thinking and problem solving.

  • Create and present game concepts to develop teamwork and confidence in public speaking.

  • Create games, animations and control situations using Scratch in order to develop logical thinking and develop the ability to construct more complex algorithms.

Year 8

In Year 8, pupils will delve deeper into the techniques used in computer science and will build the foundations for being able to program a computer to work for them in the years to come.

The work to be undertaken includes:

  • Learning procedural programming using Python.

  • Inventing text based games and solving logical challenges using programming skills.

  • Learning how to program in an event-driven language

  • Developing practical application software with a graphical user interface using Visual Basic.

  • Learning the concepts of Object Oriented Programming using Game Maker Studio and applying all leaned skills to create a fully working computer game.

Year 9

In Year 9, pupils will have the opportunity to gain a qualification in omputer science. Pupils will undertake the OCR Entry Level Certificate in Computer Science so that if they choose not to study Computing at Key Stage 4, they will still have a secure and recognised computing qualification.

The course consists of:

  • Three modules of work, covering:

    • Computer Systems

    • Algorithms, Logic and Programming Techniques

    • Programming Project

  • Modules One and Two (Computer Systems and Algorithms, Logic and Programming Techniques) will form 80% of the total marks for this qualification (40% each). Each module will have 2 X 30 minute tests at the end of them to determine pupil grades.

  • The programming project will make up 20% of a pupil’s final grade and will consist of a simple programming problem to solve, in which pupils must design, develop, test and evaluate the solution.

Assessment

At Key Stage 3 work is assessed using a common system of assessment which makes use of a skill and capability profile that pupils actively maintain and develop. Pupils assess the skills they have against this profile which enables them to see the progress they are making enabling them to identify how to progress to the next level.

Homework

Pupils are encouraged to download software at home to support their learning in the classroom. The programs we use are Scratch and Python both of which are free programs and can be used on most computer platforms. In addition the school provides pupils with user accounts for a number of 3rd party programming sites, such as www.code.org and www.codecdemy.com. These sites are used to encourage independent learning but in addition some homework tasks are also set so that pupils can take advantage of the self-paced learning material and the video based tutorials available. These sites and the homework that is set are monitored and controlled by the teacher. Further homework is set, when it is appropriate, on the Virtual Learning Environment. Such homework is set as an on-line assignment and is submitted onto the Vle where it is marked and entered into an on-line mark book which pupils access to see their mark and progress.

Key Stage 4

Course Content

You will learn how computers work on this course and how and why data is stored in binary. In addition to learning practical programming skills, you will also study computer hardware, software, Operating Systems, Algorithms and logic as well as looking at why encryption is so important in computing and how databases and graphics programs are used. You will also have the opportunity to build a computer and configure it, as well as seeing how to connect it to a network. You will discover why networks are so important in modern computing be it the simple peer to peer network or the largest network in the world, the Internet.

Assessment

During the course you will produce a project that is worth 20% of your overall mark. You will be given a scenario and undertake the analysis of the problem you have selected before designing a system, writing the solution in Python and then testing and implementing it.

In addition to this you will take two written exams at the end of the course, each worth 40% of your GCSE grade:

  • Principles of Computer Science
  • Application of Computational Thinking


Progression

In a world that is increasingly dependent upon computer technology, there is a significant demand for those with computing knowledge, skills and expertise, and a shortage of supply of those who possess them. This course provides you with a skill set that is essential and desirable in many professions and jobs today. It opens doors directly into industry or into further study and specialism at A level and university, and then onwards into a rich and diverse range of careers.