Computing

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 three 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, Safety & Security and Artificial Intelligence.

Year 7

7.1 – The Cloud – You will start Year 7 by getting your school computer & account set up. We will joining the Google Classroom, and checking out your school email account. You will also learn what ‘The Cloud’ is and how we use the cloud within school.

7.2 – Online 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.

7.3 – Hardware & Software – What’s the difference between hardware & software? Do you know what the different PC inputs and output do? What about on a smartphone? You’ll also look at how to troubleshoot basic computing problems and describe what a CPU does.

7.4 – Microbit Programming (Coding & Algorithms) – During our final unit you will learn the fundamentals of programming using tiny computer-like devices called Microbits.

Year 8

8.1 – Cyber Security & Javascript Programming – 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 using Javascript!

8.2 – Digital Editing – How do we make something appeal to a target audience? What interests you when you see an image or video on the internet? We’ll be editing lots of multimedia including sound, animation and images using tools like Photoshop and Premiere.

8.3 – Website Design – During this unit you’ll design and build your own website either in HTML or using WYSIWYG editor.

Year 9

9.1 – AI and the future – In this unit you will learn about AI, Robotics and Drones, Virtual Reality, IoT and how these areas will be important for our future. We will look at current and future jobs and then be able to argue Ethical/Legal/Environmental consequences with new technology.

9.2 – Game Programming – You will use Unity or Minecraft to create your own simple computer game that you can go on to use in your final project.

9.3 – Final Project – 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 NCFE Technical Award in Interactive Media.

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: one piece of coursework and two exam-tested sections:

  1. Computational Thinking and Problem Solving (50%) – 1hr 30 minute exam
  2. Written Assessment on Computer Theory (50%) – 1hr 30 minute exam

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

Creative Computing & Project Management (NCFE Technical Award in Interactive Media)

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.

This course is designed to provide students with the skills, knowledge and understanding of digital media and the creative side of computing. This includes a combination of electronic text, graphics, moving images and sound.

During the course, you will:

  • Identify and experiment with interactive media products, materials, techniques and processes
  • Work to interactive media briefs, developing and selecting ideas
  • Create your own interactive media portfolio
  • Review, evaluate, and present your finished work. The course is split into five sections; one exam tested and the others project based.
    *   Investigating different types of interactive media
    *   Planning how to create an interactive media product
    *   Creating an interactive media product
    *   Presenting and promoting your final product
    *   An external 15-hour practical exam planning, creating and evaluating an interactive media product that meets a brief

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

Key Stage 5

Students at KS5 have Computer Science for 9 hours per fortnight.

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.

Enrichment

Students can take part in extracurricular activities including the Coding & Raspberry Pi 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 6 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

  • Mr Sam Hankin – Head of Department
  • Mr Matt Ankers – Teacher of Computing
  • Mr Neil Parsons – Assistant Headteacher and Teacher of Computing
  • Mr Alex Woolston Teacher of Computing
  • Mr Richard Mayers – Teacher of Computing
  • Scott Whorrod – Teacher of Computing