Computing – Overview
Our intent is to teach computing concepts and skills extremely well. We want our students to develop a strong skill set and passion for computing that will encourage them to be lifelong learners and adopters of technology. The aim is for all our learners to be equipped digitally to compete in their chosen career path and to be able use their skills to support their own development throughout their career.
Year 7 and 8
A high quality provision of Computing Education will inspire a lifelong interest in technology, and a fascination with how technology works and how we make it work for us. The effective teaching of Computing will equip students with the ability to think computationally and creatively. Students will be able to consider impact that technology has on them and the wider world, and the role that they can have in shaping the future. The Computing curriculum in Year 7 and 8 aims to equip students with the necessary skills and confidence with technology to be safe and effective in the workplace and to support co-curricular learning. We also seek to inspire further study in Computer Science to level 2 and beyond and promote employability in technology related industries.
The Computing curriculum is based around three strands; Computer Science, Digital Literacy & Creative Media, and Information Communications Technology. The aim of Computer Science is to teach students how computers work and how we make them work for us, how to take a computational approach to solving problems and develop an algorithmic solution. Students are challenged to put this knowledge to use as they develop the skills required to become an effective computer programmer.
The aim of Digital Literacy & Creative media is to teach students to become confident and skilled users of a number of diverse technology platforms. Students will be taught how to create a wide range of digital content with varying criterion and to be discerning over the type of media chosen. They will be able to do so using a wide range of media, showing creativity, and an ability to meet the needs of the intended target audience. Students will be taught to use technology safely, to a degree that allows them to operate effectively in the workplace and as an active participant in a digital world. They will be able to consider their own and others’ actions and the impact they might have.
The aim of Information Communications Technology is to teach students the principles of dealing with information and how best to communicate this effectively to others. They will learn how to use hardware and software systems that support employability and aid co-curricular study. Students gain skills in most commonly used business applications and are provided with an opportunity to authenticate these skills by means of an externally assessed suite of qualifications.
Year 9 to 11
There are three distinct areas of study that form the GCSE course. Students will have a detailed understanding how computer systems work, how we get them to work for us and how the ethical, legal, cultural and environment landscape is impacted by the advancement of technology. They will become skilled computational thinkers, as well as being able to think logically they will be able to design, interpret and correct algorithms. Students will understand a wide range of programming concepts and techniques and be able use these to analyse, design, implement, test and refine a fairly large scale programming project independently. In addition to the GCSE programme students are able to experience a wider range of Computer Science related topics that broaden and enrich their learning experience.
- Teach students to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation
- For students to be able to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs
- For students to be able to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
- Teach students to understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
- Teach students to understand the impacts of digital technology on the individual and on wider society
- Teach students to apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science
Years 12 & 13
Students have the option to pursue Computer Science as an examination subject at A Level. This course is intended to inspire career choices in related fields and provide a platform for a wide range of further education and employment opportunities. The intention is to provide practical skills underpinned by academic principles that can be applied to real-world systems. The subject encourages creativity, invention and excitement and enables successful students to interpret the world around them through a digital prism. Above all else, A Level Computer Science is relevant to the modern and changing world of computing. The open source ethos of the course allows any programming language that meets the needs of the course to be used. The course values computational thinking, helping learners to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence. Students will develop an ability to analyse, critically evaluate and make decisions.
Students will complete a large scale programming project. The project approach is a vital component of ‘post-school’ life and is of particular relevance to further education, higher education and the workplace. Each learner is able to tailor their project to fit their individual needs, choices and aspirations. The course offers a rigorous assessment structure that ensures the integrity of the project.
The aims of this qualification are to enable learners to develop:
- An understanding of and ability to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science including; abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation
- The ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems including writing programs to do so
- The capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
- The capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science
- Mathematical skills
- The ability to articulate the individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural opportunities and risks of digital technology.
Co-Curriculum and Extracurricular Activities
There are a wide range of clubs offered which enable students to extend their experience of computing and broaden their skills. Students attend regularly scheduled e-safety workshops and these are also provided for parents as evening sessions.
Lunchtime clubs offered in Years 7 and 8 include Raspberry Pi Club (programming the Pi), Build A Computer, 3D Modelling and Python Programming. Students all attend an off-timetable programming day, “Who can pass the Turing test?” which involves the development of an AI simulation with Python. Year 8 visit Bletchley Park to learn about early computing.
GCSE Computing students in Years 9 to 11 have a number of extracurricular opportunities offered at lunchtimes including game development, touch typing, build a computer and hardware projects. These students also have the opportunity to take part in the Cyber Discovery Competition. Co-curricular opportunities offered by the department include an off-timetable computational thinking and programming day, a “Shaping your career through the use of technology” day, visits to Essex University’s Robot Arena and to the Centre for Computing History and a Computer Science activity day at BT’s Adastral Park.
Students from all Year Groups across the school can attend lunchtime extra-curricular opportunities in Retro Gaming and Cyber-security or volunteer to become Digital Leaders. The department also supports students to enter the annual National Cyber Security Centre “CyberFirst Girls” competition.
Opportunities for Further Study and Destinations
The skills and concepts taught in this course will be helpful in many areas of higher education and employment. They will be indirectly applicable to a variety of professions such as medicine, law, engineering and design. The course is designed to be directly applicable to higher education courses and employment sectors that involve the use of ICT and computing such as data science, web systems, business & ICT, data analytics, digital media, animation, network professional, mobile app development, business information systems, game development and digital effects.
Qualifications in Computing and Computer Science are
helpful in many career options, especially as more and more industries are
adopting computing and AI technology. As a result, we are all required to be
digitally literate. Careers that link directly to content taught on this course
include computer programmer, software engineer, IT architect, graphic designer,
computer scientist, electrical engineer, systems analyst, animator, hardware
engineer, communications analyst, automotive engineer and game designer.