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Computer Science and ICT at Oak Academy Computer Science is now a key subject within the curriculum

Computing Teaching Staff

  • Ms K Price: Curriculum Leader
  • Mr P Allen

Why Computing is important

In today’s technologically dependent culture, Computer Science is now a key subject within the curriculum.  Our school-leavers need to be familiar with computing principles if the economy is to be competitive over the long term. As an educator, there is nothing better to see than the face of a student light up when they have solved a problem using Python, be it fixing an error in their code or simply printing the desired output.

The most important aspect of Computer Science focuses on how computer systems work and why they work, because although the technology is changing constantly, the principles that future technologies are built on do not. Furthermore, it is an essential skill for life. Students study the core principles of Computational thinking, creating, designing and writing Algorithms with the intention of Programming. As computers solve problems to serve people, there is a significant human side to computer science as well and exploring aspects of Emerging technologies and Artificial Intelligence in the curriculum.

Computers appear in almost every aspect of our society, and are still increasing in popularity. Students are given an insight how embedded systems work and how they are used from shopping and communicating to driving our cars, controlling our homes and making decisions for us – there’s very little a computer can’t do. And if a computer can’t do it, chances are someone’s trying to make it do it. The number of jobs will increase rapidly as people realise its importance, as well as our dependence upon it. If we do not teach young people to be digitally literate, and prepared for the future, then society will suffer.

 

Teaching and Learning in Computing

Computing teachers use a wide range of teaching and learning approaches to engage students and stimulate their interest. Students will work individually and in pairs to share ideas and respond to different programming and IT related problems. Students can further enhance their eLearning experience using Microsoft Teams and continue to work collaboratively with their peers.  Communication skills are continually built up as we look to help students understand their place in the world and how they can express this articulately.

The subject has a balance between practical application of theoretical principles in order to test students’ knowledge and understanding of systems. Students are asked to test their computational thinking skills through regular problem solving tasks ensuring the practice of lateral thinking is embedded throughout the subject.

A key attribute for success for success is the ability to plan solutions from inception to implementation – working through problems and the ability to adapt to solutions are essential skills.

Key Stage 3

Students study Computing as part of their Technology rotation. In Year 7, after learning key skills on how to stay safe on the internet, students will develop their skills in basic IT – including Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Office, alongside opportunities to understand computer systems and graphics software. They will also have the opportunity to learn a block-based programming language In Year 8, these  basic skills are further developed alongside an introduction to Databases, Algorithms, programming using Python and digital audio. In Year 9 these concepts are again taken to the next level in particular understanding Algorithms and programming using Python.

 

Key Stage 4

Our current Year 11, had the choice to study two separate qualifications in either Computer Science or IT. Our Year 10s had the options of Computer Science or I-Media

Computer Science:

This GCSE gives students who an interest in programming and the way in which computers work to develop their understanding of both themes. They learn how the different components in a computer work, as well as gaining knowledge about networking and software such as operating systems. They will also get to develop their knowledge of programming and computational thinking looking at extended programming tasks. The knowledge for the course is split across 2 different papers

  • Paper 1 – Computer systems
  • Paper 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

I-Media:

This GCSE gives students who have an interest in digital graphics and any form of creative media to develop their skills. They have the opportunity to look at a range of planning techniques that are used through the industry and how just like in the real work you will be working from a brief that is set for you by a client and work to produce a given product that meets these criteria. The course id currently made up of 4 units

  • R081 – Planning pre-production skills – Examined unit
  • R082 – Creating digital graphics – Set assignment
  • R087 – Interactive multimedia products – Set assignment
  • R088 – Creating a Digital sound sequence – Set assignment

 

Information Technology:

This is a vocational subject and therefore the assessment is predominantly ongoing. However, students are asked to complete an exam that they are able to take multiple times. The ongoing assessment allows students to showcase their practical application of skills associated with Office based software. Students are asked to build up an informal portfolio of skills against multiple software applications.

The applications students will be assessed on are:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • Access
  • PowerPoint
  • Publisher

 

 

KS4 Specifications

Links to the GCSE specifications for Computer Science, I-Media and IT can be found below:

Computer Science

Information Technology

I-Media