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Computer Science

IT

Welcome to the ICT and Computer Science Department.

Our aim is to teach the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.

Computer Science is learning about the internal parts of a computer and how they work together to make your computer run, the different types of software that helps you to use a computer, how to keep your computer safe from cyber-threats, the ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impacts of computers, problem solving using computers, how data is represented within a computer and Programming techniques and languages. Learning to program builds characteristics such as collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking and resilience

Throughout the Key Stages we continue to build on this knowledge and understanding so that our students are equipped to use Information Technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. They should also 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.

KS3

Computer Science/ICT is now taught as a core subject in Years 7, 8 and 9.

The aim is to give the students a range of experiences, knowledge and skills for their options choices (Computing is offered at GCSE and A Level and IT at BTEC Levels 2 and 3) and support their skills in other subjects and for their life ahead.

Topics include:

In Year 7:

  • Using computers safely, effectively and responsibly / E-Safety
  • Computer Basics – Hardware & Software
  • Spreadsheets
  • Introduction to coding through Kodu (3D games development)
  • Computational Thinking

In Year 8:

  • E-Safety
  • Games Programming in Scratch (2D games development)
  • Introduction to Programming in Python
  • Understanding Computers (including Binary & Storage Devices)

And in Year 9:

  • E-Safety
  • Python – programming review and next steps
  • Revisiting Kodu & Scratch to link programming ideas learnt
  • Further Office Skills, to support subjects & life skills:
    • Presentations
    • Word Processing
    • Spreadsheets

KS4

Overview

The GCSE Computer Science course is designed to help students think about how technology is created and how people work together with computers to develop world-changing programs like Facebook, Spotify and eBay.  This course will enable them to develop the skills that colleges, universities and employers are looking for. 

The course consists of two components:

Component 1: Computer Systems

Introduces students to systems architecture; memory, storage and data representation, including binary; computer networks, connections and protocols; network security and system software. It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with computer science.
How it's assessed: Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes, 80 marks, 50% of GCSE

Component 2: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

Students learn about specific algorithms and how to create them in general; programming fundamentals; how to produce robust programs; Boolean logic and programming languages and integrated development environments (IDE).
How it's assessed: Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes, 80 marks, 50% of GCSE

There is no longer a non-exam assessment. Students are given the opportunity to undertake a programming task(s), either to a specification or to solve a problem (or problems), during their course of study. Students may draw on some of the content in both components when engaged in Practical Programming. They then code their solutions in a suitable programming language and check its functionality.

Expectations

Students are expected to work independently to develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills. So this qualification particularly meets the needs of those who lean towards maths and science and who want to be challenged in a more technical way.

Extra-Curricular Activities / Independent Learning Opportunities

This course will require independent study for example, when working on their choice of assignments, but students will also be expected to practice their programming skills outside of lesson as well.

Career Pathways

The progression routes available to students taking GCSE Computer Science vary according to their interest and ability. Some could go the technical route, with the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) qualification – or indeed any manufacturer’s qualifications – or they could take the academic route and study A-Level Computing.

Student Testimonials

“I like Computer Science because it is challenging and engaging. I find it fun, especially when we are programming, which I really enjoy. I think that it promotes creative thinking as we learn how to solve problems. Computer Science helps to equip me for the future as I’ve learnt to think outside the box”

KS5

GCE A Level Computer Science

The A-level Computer Science qualification is relevant to the modern and changing world of computing and the higher education community. Like the GCSE, the course is practical; students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It is a creative subject that combines invention and excitement and the qualifications will value computational thinking, help students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.

This course also consists of three components:

Paper 1, Programming Theory and Skills, 2 hours 30 mins. Worth 40%.

  • Fundamentals of programming
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Fundamentals of algorithms
  • Theory of computation

Paper 2, Computing Theory, 2 hours 30 mins. Worth 40%.

  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  • Consequences of uses of computing
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking
  • Fundamentals of databases
  • Big Data
  • Fundamentals of functional programming

In addition to these units, students will be required to complete a programming project which is worth 20% of the final mark. In this practical unit, students will need to analyse a problem and then design, develop and evaluate a solution.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in IT

Today’s BTEC Nationals are demanding, as you would expect of any applied learning qualification in the UK. You will have to complete a range of units, be organised, take assessments that the exam board will set and mark, and keep a portfolio of your assignments. Level 3 BTEC is not an easy option!

This qualification is designed for learners who are interested in an introduction into the study of creating IT systems to manage and share information alongside other fields of study, with a view to progressing to a wide range of higher education courses, not necessarily in IT.

Learners will develop a common core of IT knowledge and study areas such as the relationship between hardware and software that form an IT system, managing and processing data to support business and using IT to communicate and share information. They will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in IT systems, systems management and social media in business. This will enable learners to progress to further study in the IT sector or other sectors.

Learners will study four units:

Unit 1: Information Technology Systems

  • External exam, written Paper (not on-line), worth 1/3 of the entire course
  • Digital Devices
  • Data Transmission
  • Operating Online
  • Protecting Data
  • Impact of IT Systems

Unit 2: Creating Systems to Manage Information

  • Controlled assessment, worth ¼ of the entire course
  • Focusses on the creation of a Database System using Microsoft Access

Unit 3: Using Social Media in Business

  • Internally assessed coursework, worth 1/4 of the entire course
  • Explore the impact of social media on the ways in which businesses promote their products and services
  • Develop a plan to use social media in a business to meet requirements
  • Implement the use of social media in a business.

Unit 6: Website Development

  • Internally assessed coursework, worth 1/6 of the entire course
  • Selection of written coursework tasks as well as designing and building a website for a client.
  • Use of Adobe Dreamweaver and Photoshop to build, as well as developing coding skills in HTML and CSS.

 

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