Computing Teaching Staff
- Ms K Price: Curriculum Leader
- Mrs Bina Howard
- Mr Matthew Pretty
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.
Both subjects have 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
In Years 7 and 8 students, study Computing as part of their Technology rotation. They will spend between 6-8 weeks developing their Computing Skills. In Year 7, students will develop their skills in basic IT – including Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Office, in particular Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They will also have the opportunity to learn a programming language – Scratch. In Year 8, these skills are further developed alongside an introduction to Databases, Algorithms and programming using Python.
In Year 9, students can opt to take Computing as one of their Technical guided choices. The course is split into two sections. Section 1 teaches the key skills needed for an ICT GCSE qualification and section 2 introduces aspects of Computer Science GCSE. The ICT aspect of the course focuses on e-safety, types of data, computer threats and IT Applications, applying them in a mini project. The Computer science aspect introduce algorithms, programming, data representation and computer systems
Key Stage 4
Students can choose to study two separate qualifications in either Computer Science or IT.
Computer Science is a traditional GCSE subject, the assessment culminating in two exam papers and one non-exam assessment (NEA). Paper one of the GCSE sees students demonstrate their understanding of the practical application of computer code. Paper two assesses students understanding of the theoretical application of Computer Science. Finally, the NEA combines the elements of paper one and paper two, where students have to solve a given software problem over a 20 hour period in controlled exam conditions. The new specification has a new Relational Database and SQL element.
Students can be assessed on their applications of any of the following languages:
Information Technology 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:
GCSE / OCR Specifications
Links to the GCSE specifications for Computer Science and IT can be found below: