Computing

008

Like it or not we are living in it – this is the Digital Age! Computer programs have all but infiltrated every aspect of our lives. Everything from mobile phones, televisions, traffic lights, theme parks, agriculture to sport, depends on computers and their programmes. Soon cars will drive themselves, our fridges will be able to order their own replacement groceries, and computers will have the same processing power as our brains. The future is coming quickly and the digital age needs the next computer scientist.

From the beginning of Year 7, we prepare our students to live in a changing digital world, teaching a range of skills and tools which they will use every day and into their future. At GCSE and A Level, we offer a selection of courses to suit all students who wish to continue their studies in Computer Science or Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Curriculum

Key Stage 3

Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 have two lessons a fortnight, in a class set the same as Maths. We cover 6 streams each year with increasing levels of complexity: Coding, Algorithms, Hardware, Software, Multimedia Design and Safety & Security.

Year 7

  • Getting started – You will start Year 7 by getting your school computing account set up. We will be creating your Student Portfolio, joining your first Google Classroom, and testing out your school email account.
  • Basic Hardware – Do you know how your PC, smart phones and any other technical devices actually work? We will be looking at the insides of PCs & other devices and investigate what the different parts do.
  • Internet Safety – How safe are you online? How much information do you share? By the end of this unit you will be able to ensure that you; your family; and friends are using the internet safely.
  • Photoshop – How can we manipulate images to start presenting our work to an excellent standard? We will also look at how we can remove backgrounds from images and create new graphics from a blank canvas.
  • Microbit Programming – During our final unit you will learn the fundamentals of programming using tiny computer-like devices called Microbits and their block or Javascript editor.

Year 8

  • Web & HTML – How are websites built? What is HTML? What makes a good website design? We’ll create our own basic websites from scratch as we learn about the World Wide Web.
  • Cyber Security – How can we keep our data safe? What do hackers do? How dangerous is malware? We’ll investigate how hackers think and what we can do stay safe from them. We’ll also try cracking some cipher codes!
  • Networking – What is the ‘Internet’? How do computers communicate with each other? We’ll look at how data is sent across the internet, what the different broadband numbers mean and how you can personalise your home Wifi connection.
  • Visual Basic/Javascript Programming – During our final unit you will learn a textual based programming language recapping the fundamentals of programming while we build a game.

Year 9

  • Visual Basic/Javascript Programming – You will continue to learn more programming techniques to create various applications and develop your programming skills.
  • Cyber Attacks – What is encryption? How does encryption work? Why is it important? Are biometrics reliable? We will examine the impacts of cyberattacks on large business and countries, and reflect on what can be done to prevent similar attacks in the future.
  • The Future – What will the future of Computing look like? You will be researching a technology area of your choice and will then use some different multimedia presentation tools to present your findings to the class.
  • Game Design – During our final unit you will be in a team working on creating, building, and promoting your own game. In each team, you will have at least one person that codes the game (in a programming language of their choice) and other people who will design posters, game boxes, background music, t-shirts, websites and more!

Key Stage 4

Students at KS4 can opt to continue with Computing in either Computer Science or ICT for 5 hours per fortnight. We offer two options: AQA GCSE Computer Science or Edexcel Level 2 Digital Applications (CiDA).

AQA GCSE Computer Science

The course is designed to challenge students to approach software and technology from a new perspective; with an appreciation and understanding of how common apps and programs have been created. In Year 10 we will start with the fundamentals of programming ensuring everyone has a basic understanding of the key techniques. We currently use Visual Studio and learn programming languages VB and C#, and there is flexibility to learn other programming languages such as Python if a student already has good programming skills.

As well as learning how to write code, students will additionally learn about:

  • Algorithms & Data Representation
  • Computer Hardware & Networking
  • Cyber Security & Ethical Hacking

The course is split into three sections; two exam tested sections and a piece of coursework.

Computational Thinking and Problem Solving (40%) – 1 hr 30 minute exam

Written Assessment on Computer Theory (40%) – 1hr 30 minute exam

Coursework (20%) – students will complete a scenario set by AQA in which they have to create a computer program which is designed, written, and tested by the student to solve a problem.

This course is ideal for students who enjoy the problem solving, coding, and mathematical part of Computing.

Edexcel Level 2 Digital Applications (CiDA)

The UK is a world leader in the creative digital industries, such as in the creation of visual effects for films and computer games. However, there is growing recognition that we need to build on and improve the UK’s capability and capacity for technical innovation and creativity in this area.

The Certificate in Digital Applications has been designed to engage and enthuse students with an interest in creative computing, for example digital graphics and animations, interactive multimedia products and computer games.

The course is split into two sections; one exam tested and the other a summative project.

Developing Web Products (25%) – 2hr 30 minute exam to create a web product and evaluate.

Coursework Unit (75%) – design, develop and review your own multimedia product

This course is ideal for students who enjoy the practical and digital media part of Computing.

Key Stage 5

Students at KS5 can opt to either Computer Science or ICT for 9 hours per fortnight. We offer two options: AQA A Level Computer Science or OCR National ICT Technical Level 3.

AQA A Level Computer Science

This course brings together an exciting mix of practical and theoretical Computing which will appeal to students interested in problem solving and the science of how computers work.

In Year 12, we cover algorithms, data structures, theory of computation and data representation. Students will further develop their programming skills in languages such as Python, VB and C#, exploring the difference between procedural code and Object Orientated Programming (OOP).

In Year 13, students study theory components on how computer systems work, and how they make possible the things that we all do with them. Additionally, in Year 13 there is a substantial programming project, which can be done in any language or platform. Students work with a client and their stakeholders to make iPhone Apps, interactive websites and educational games, to name a few ideas.

This course is ideal for students who achieve a 6 or above in their Computer Science and Maths GCSEs, and who may be looking to study Computer Science at University.

OCR National ICT Technical Level 3 (Introductory Diploma in IT)

This vocational course is a mixture of coursework and exams, and has the equivalent UCAS points to one A Level.

There are 5 units that are assessed in a variety of ways:

  • Fundamentals of IT – exam based mandatory unit assessed at the end of Year 12
  • Global Information – exam based mandatory unit assessed at the end of Year 12
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality – assignment based
  • Internet of Everything – assignment based
  • Computer Systems software – assignment based.

During the course, students will learn about how computers work; the fundamentals of hardware, networks, software; the ethical use of computers; and how business use IT. In addition, they will study; the uses of information by individuals and organisations; the issues of information security; and the solutions that can be used to prevent or deal with cyber security incidents. Students will also examine the internet of things (IoT) and how virtual reality may impact our future.

We are extremely lucky to be able to work with GlaxoSmithKline to bring the skills and topics we study into real world experiences.

This course is ideal for students looking to progress their Computing skills to move onto an apprenticeship or career in ICT, or study ICT at University.

Enrichment

Students can take part in extracurricular activities including the Raspberry Pi club, the Microbit club, and the Year 9 Computer Science club. The computing rooms are open to students in all years during various lunchtimes throughout the week to allow them to complete homework and improve their Computing skills.

Equipment & Resources

We have 4 fully equipped Computing rooms with 32 Windows 10 computers in each room meaning students use their own individual machine in their Computing lessons.

Students have free access to a range of software in school and at home, including the Office 365 package, the Google G Suite, Visual Studio Pro, and Adobe CS6 (in school only).

Members of staff in the Computing department are working towards or have recently achieved their Google Certified Educator Level 1/2.

Careers

Computing is a subject that everyone needs to function effectively in modern society. It is vital for students to enable them to make choices across a wide range of careers. Most employers are looking for people with Computing skills and qualifications. The Computing industry is constantly evolving and changing, but careers for which employees need Computing skills include everything from artists, game designers and advertising executives to web designers, programmers, technicians and network engineers – plus many more.

Staff

  • Miss Rachel Loo – Head of Department
  • Mr Sam Hankin – Deputy Head of Department
  • Mr Matt Ankers – Teacher of Computing
  • Miss Anne Moody – Teacher of Computing
  • Mr Neil Parsons – Assistant Headteacher and Teacher of Computing