Within computer science we aim to give students the necessary skills and knowledge to help them thrive in the real world. Over the past few years the Computer Science department has overhauled the curriculum to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to be successful in this new discipline. Embedding the ASPIRE skills in our schemes of learning, we ensure that students develop their creative problem solving, self-discipline and collaboration skills whilst taking risks in their learning.
Students have a one hour lesson of computer science per week and are taught in tutor groups. From Year 7, students will study Cryptography, Data Representation, Digital Citizenship, E-Safety and Python Programming. These skills continue to be developed in Year 8 and 9, with each subsequent year offering new material and enabling students of all abilities to be stretched and challenged in an engaging and enriching environment.
GCSE Computer Science
The new AQA GCSE Computer Science specification recognises the well-established methodologies of computing, alongside the technological advances which make it such a dynamic subject. The new addition of a computational thinking exam provides an academically challenging programme of study for students of all ability levels. Students will complete this course equipped with the logical and computational skills necessary to succeed at A Level, the workplace or beyond, fully preparing students for the 21st Century.
Throughout the two years, students will draw upon the knowledge and skills gained in Key Stage 3 and further their study in areas such as Algorithms, Programming, Computer Systems, Cyber Security and Ethical and Legal issues. Students are assessed through two written examinations and a programming project in Python.
This course of study enables students to:
- build on their knowledge, understanding and skills established through the computer science elements of the programme of study for computing at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4
- enable students to progress into further learning and/or employment
- understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation
- analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs
- think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
- understand the components that make up digital systems and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
- understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society
- apply mathematical skills relevant to computer science.
At Sixth Form we offer two courses, OCR A Level in Computer Science and BTEC in Information Technology.
OCR A Level
The A Level Computer Science qualification helps students understand the core academic principles of computer science. Classroom learning is transferred into creating real-world systems through the creation of an independent programming project. The A Level will develop the student’s technical understanding and their ability to analyse and solve problems using computational thinking.
Students will take part in three components of the OCR A Level in Computer Science.
Two parts are assessed through written examinations. The first is in Computer systems, which focuses on the internal workings of the Central Processing Unit, data exchange, software development, data types and legal and ethical issues; the second is in algorithms and programming which focuses on using computational thinking to solve problems; the third component is the programming project. Students will be expected to analyse a problem, design, develop and test their solution and evaluate it. Previous projects have included arcade games, Physics simulations and Educational Learning tools.
BTEC in Information Technology
The Extended Certificate in Information Technology consists of four units. Units 1 and 2 are examination units and Unit 3 and Unit 6* are coursework based.
The BTEC in Information Technology is an exciting, enriching and engaging course and through the carefully tailored curriculum, learners build their vocational skills that will enable them to transition directly into the work place.
Previous students from both the A Level and BTEC courses have successfully secured degree apprenticeships in Fortune 500 companies.
*Unit 5 and 6 are optional units and we opt to do the Website Development unit. Unit 4 is not part of the Extended Certificate.