Head of Department: Miss R Lees-Radford
In Key Stage 3, all students study Computer science for one lesson a week. The Computing curriculum is new to the school, and incorporates three strands: ICT, Digital Literacy & Computer Science.
During the first term of Year 7, students are introduced to algorithmic thinking and are given the opportunity to explore computer games programming using Scratch, which is an environment many students are familiar with from primary school. Following this, students begin to explore e-safety, specifically how to keep themselves safe online and the impact that cyberbullying can have on people. To present this unit, students are given the opportunity to create a digital video. In Term 2, students complete an extended project on Desktop Publishing, allowing them to create a short magazine incorporating a range of text and image manipulation skills. The summer term sees students complete two shorter units of work; Internet skills and Website Design, and Spreadsheet Skills.
In Year 8, students continue to study computer games programming. They explore the possibilities available in 3D Games Design and, using the Kodu programming environment, create their own, self-designed, built and programmed 3D game. Following this, students study Databases and Data Handling. This is done using a fictitious cinema booking system. In term 2, students begin to look at the history of computer development, exploring the impact of Computer Scientists such as George Boole, Alan Turing and Charles Babbage. The summer term of Year 8 sees students complete their final extended project of the year – a sound editing unit. In this unit, students are required to plan, create and evaluate a 30 second long radio advert. This will require them to utilise skills such as sound editing, planning, scripting, recording and evaluation.
Year 9’s commence the year by studying Computer Hardware and Software. They learn about the internal workings of the different components and how they link together. Students are then required to ‘create’ a fully functional system by purchasing’ various components online. They are given a choice of three possible tasks for this assessment. The second part of the autumn term sees Year 9 students complete their final unit on computer programming. Students will either learn HTML or Python coding. In term 2, students complete a unit on Digital Imaging, where they have to plan and design an A4 advertising image for their local area. The summer term sees students complete their final project, creating a computer game. By this point in their school career, students have studied three separate programming languages. This unit allows them the freedom to select the language of their choice to design, create, test, debug and evaluate a computer game for a primary school child.
Key Stage 4 Computing
At Key Stage 4, students follow the OCR syllabus (overview attached at the end of this document). This includes Computing Fundamentals, Representation of Data, Hardware, Software, Databases, Networking and Programming. Students also study the Python programming language in depth, and complete two pieces of Controlled Assessment based on this programming.
In Year 10 students look at Fundamentals of Computer Systems, Computing Hardware, Computing Software and Representation of Data. This involves looking at the Central Processing Unit, learning how to convert between the Binary, Denary and Hexadecimal number bases, exploring how different pieces of hardware work together and finally, how various pieces of software work.
Alongside this, students also complete a course on Python programming, which culminates in a 20 hour Controlled Assessment taking place after the February half term.
In Year 11, students complete the theory unit from the GCSE course, looking at Databases, Networking, Programming Design and then finally recapping all work covered in Year 10. Specifically, we look at how databases are used to manage large amounts of data and the role which Database Management Systems play in the workplace; how computer networks work and the various topologies available to a network technician when setting up a network; and finally, Program Design with techniques such as Pseudocode and Flow Charting.
Year 11 also sees students complete their final piece of Controlled Assessment, which is an extended research task involving some practical programming.
Examination Board: OCR
The Computer Science GCSE course is a modern course for a modern world. The course will give you an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and a look at what goes on ‘behind the scenes’. As part of this, you will investigate computer programming and develop your understanding of current and emerging technologies.
Unit 1: Computer Systems and Programming
You will develop a mental model of a computer system which comprises hardware and software.
This is an examined unit and is worth 40% of your final grade. You will sit this exam in the summer of Year 11.
Unit 2: Practical Investigation
This unit is designed to provide you with an opportunity to carry out a practical investigation into a computing issue and engage you with computing in the real world.
This unit forms a piece of Controlled Assessment and is worth 30% of your final grade. You will complete this in the first term of Year 11.
Unit 3: Programming Project
For this unit, the exam board will issue a range of assessment tasks each consisting of up to three sub-tasks. The set of tasks within the Controlled Assessment will provide opportunities for you to demonstrate practical ability to use key skills, you will need to create suitable algorithms which will provide a solution to the stated problem, and then code your solution in a suitable programming language. The solutions must be tested at each stage to ensure that you solve the stated problem.
This unit forms a piece of Controlled Assessment and is worth 30% of your final grade. You will complete this in Term 2 of Year 10.
Good prior achievement and progress in both ICT and Maths is required.
As a guide, you should be aiming for Level 6a + in both subjects.
Enrichment and Support Opportunities:
Programming support sessions.
After school coursework catch-up club.
Further Education and Career Opportunities:
A Level Computing, Applied ICT, any other ICT/Computing Level 3 course.
IT Support Analyst