Our Computing curriculum is designed to develop both the skills and knowledge in Computer Science and Digital Media which will prepare them for a world where the use of computer technology is fully embodied. Whether our students want to learn the science behind computers and be able to write algorithms and develop programs, or to design and produce creative digital content for users to see, we aim for them to have an understanding that goes far deeper than the interface that’s in front of them.
We aim to build up and gradually develop our students’ problem solving skills, in order that they may be able to use computer technology confidently, safely, effectively and efficiently in a range of situations and circumstances. The curriculum content in each year has been carefully designed in order to build on skills carefully and allow students to apply their learning to a range of contexts and using a variety of software.
Students begin their study of Computing with a transition unit which covers a range of essential Computing skills such as File management, keyboard shortcuts, using Email and Acceptable Use of the Internet. After this they study the unit ‘Understanding Computers’ which covers aspects of Hardware such as input, output and storage devices. Students also learn how data is represented as binary numbers and will link this to their understanding of storage. We then move onto learning about Algorithms and how they are used in control systems. Students learn to write their own algorithms using Flowcharts which requires them to use decomposition and boolean logic in their problem solving. Both essential skills for any Computer Scientist.
We also teach a range of software skills during Year 7 interleaved with the Theoretical content. Skills such as presentations, research and evaluation are woven throughout each unit. Finally in Year 7 students will study the properties of different Graphics files as well as learn how to create Vector and bitmap graphics using Photoshop and Serif Drawplus.
Students continue their study of Computing in year 8 by creating a game using Scratch. This introduces the idea of sequence, selection and iteration within algorithms, all used within their game. It enables them to develop their problem solving skills and also to embed some of the graphics skills they learnt in Year 7.
After this they will learn Python which is a high level programming language. They will apply their knowledge of variables, and the three programming constructs in a text based language to develop their computational thinking skills much further. They conclude by creating their own Chatbot program which accepts input from a user and provides much scope for higher level thinking and extending their ideas and understanding of programming.
Students then move onto using graphics packages to create a digital advertising campaign for their Chatbot. Their multimedia skills will be developed in a range of applications including vector design software and Photoshop. They will consider the audience and purpose when designing their products.
Finally in Year 8 students will complete the unit ‘Cyber Crime and Security’ where they will learn about a range of Legislation relevant to Computer Science, as well as security threats to data such as Malware and Phishing. They will learn a number of methods to keep computer networks and data safe, as well as their own personal data.
During Year 9 Students studying Computer Science will continue to learn Python and lessons will involve some programming every week in order to develop and retain knowledge of the language. They will also develop their knowledge of writing pseudocode and understanding more complex algorithms.
Alongside developing their programming skills they will study a range of theory topics in Year 9. They begin with how data is represented by computer systems. This builds on their knowledge of binary numbers, but now they will go further by looking at how characters, images and sound are also represented.
After this they study how primary memory works, including the purpose of ROM and RAM. They then move onto secondary memory and the different types of storage devices along with their properties. The final theory topic they study is Wired and Wireless Networks where they learn about how data is transferred.
GCSE Computer Science (OCR)
Computer Science is both engaging and practical, encouraging creativity and problem solving. It encourages you to develop your understanding and application of the core concepts in computer science. You will also analyse problems in computational terms and devise creative solutions by designing, writing, testing and evaluating programs. The course is assessed via two written exams which are divided as follows:
Component 01: Computer systems
Introduces you to the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, data representation, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with computer science.
Component 02: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming
You apply knowledge and understanding gained in component 01. You will develop skills and understanding in computational thinking: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic and translators.
Studying Computer Science can help develop transferable skills that can be applied to a vast range of different career paths. Click here for examples of some of the employability skills Computer Science can provide.
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