Computing includes 3 strands; Computer Science, ICT and Digital Literacy. Computer Science looks at the way computers work and how to use them in order to solve realistic problems in a computational way. It also includes programming and breaking problems down using flowcharts and algorithms. ICT focuses on how to use the software available and create digital content. Digital Literacy looks at how to use the Internet and how to keep safe on-line.
Key Stage 3
At KS3 students learn practical computing and ICT skills that will help them across the curriculum and prepare them for the world of work.
For example: In Year 7 pupils learn about e-safety and how to stay safe online. They also learn how to search the Internet more effectively, which will also help them save time with their homework for other subjects. They are encouraged to make high-quality publications themed around a particular topic. This teaches them excellent graphics and desktop publishing skills. Later on in the year, they are taught key programming skills using graphical products such as Scratch.
This range of software, programming and hardware knowledge is developed through Years 8 and 9 to further prepare the students either for the workplace or for higher study at Key Stage 4.
Key Stage 4
The school offers two courses at KS4: AQA GCSE Computer Science and the Edexcel Level 2 Certificate in Digital Applications (CiDA).
During the GCSE Computer Science course you will cover the following:
• Computational thinking: this is the process of thinking through a complex problem, taking the time to understand what the problem is and then develop potential solutions for evaluation. These are then presented in a way that a computer, a human, or both, can understand.
• Theoretical content: here you will understand the fundamentals of data representation and computer networks. You will earn about the computer systems that you will create and use and also delve in to the world cyber security and ethical legal and environmental impacts of digital technology.
• Aspects of software development: understand how to implement and test a design to make sure it works effectively. Learn how to complete an overall evaluation to help refine the end product.
The GCSE Computer Science has two written exams which are 1 hour 30 minutes each. Together they contribute to 80% of the overall grade. The non-exam assessment assesses their ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical programming problem. They will follow a systematic approach to problem solving and will be assessed over 20 hours of work, which makes up the final 20% of the assessment. This is completed under controlled conditions in Year 11.
CiDA is ideal for students who want the opportunity to explore and acquire a broad understanding and knowledge of the creative digital industries, and the ability to apply that knowledge in practical contexts.
CiDA consists of 2 units. Unit 1, Developing Web Products, is a mandatory unit which is externally assessed through a practical examination and accounts for 25% of the qualification. One of the following optional coursework units makes up the remaining 75%:
- Unit 2 - Creative Multimedia
- Unit 3 - Artwork and Imaging
- Unit 4 - Game Making
This year we are planning on studying Unit 4: Game Making