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Computer Science

Intent:

A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. 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 programmes, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils 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.

Knowledge

A high-quality computing education equips students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. 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, 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.

Strength

Students learn to code to a standard where they are confident to build algorithms, read from and write to files and to understand the use of subroutines, functions and parameters. We teach students to code in Python. Students also learn how to manipulate data using spreadsheets and databases. Independent work is supported by class notebook in Teams where students complete a range of independent study tasks for both of these courses.

Ambition

The ambition is to ensure that:

  • There is a clear pathway to university for computer science and IT
  • Students are able to take on digital apprenticeships
  • Students leave with a deep understanding of how changes in technology will impact the workplace

Aims:

The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:

  •  Can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  •  Can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programmes in order to solve such problems
  •  Can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • Are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology

Implementation:

In key stage 4 students can opt to study GCSE Computer Science.  This course is assessed 100% by examination but students need to learn to code in a high level language to a standard where they are confident to build algorithms, read from and write to files and to understand the use of subroutines, functions and parameters.

Practical work is supported by Office 365 where students complete a range of independent study tasks.

Units 1 and 2 are taught in parallel throughout the course.  Students learn about how a computer uses binary representation for numbers, text, images and sound.  They need to learn to convert between binary, denary and hexadecimal; the use of ASCII and UNICODE; and the storage implications associated with these.

Students will learn about the origins of computer science from the Von-Neumann model to current computing architectures.  They will learn the core principles of networks, network protocols, as well as appreciating the threats to networks.  Ethical, legal and environmental issues are also covered in year 1.

By term 4 of year 1 students are ready to take on the exam board assignment.  This is a compulsory part of the course but it is not used for assessment for their final GCSE grade.

In year 2 we take a closer look at algorithms. Specifically, these are the linear search, binary search, bubble sort, insertion sort and the merge sort.  Students look at data structures such as arrays and 2 dimensional arrays.

Each student is supported with a revision guide, an online guide and independent tasks on Office365 assigned to them by their class teacher.

ICT at KS4

The ICT Cambridge National qualification is offered at KS4.  It is a qualification designed to develop the application of ICT skills through their practical use.  Our course provides students with essential knowledge and transferrable skills to enhance their employability when they leave education, as well as contributing to their personal development and future economic well-being.

Topics covered are:

  • The information age
  • Databases
  • Spreadsheets and budgeting
  • ICT projects and planning