Computing & ICT

The Computing/ICT Department recognises that practical application and understanding of Computing and ICT skills are essential to the development of our Pupils’ education as this subject stretches beyond the scope of school learning, bridging into their further studies academically and future careers practically, as there is a world out there just bursting with invention and creative opportunities.

In today’s world all individuals need technological and information literacy skills. It is recognised that Computing and ICT skills are essential alongside the traditional skills of numeracy and literacy because whatever our Pupils’ decide to do in their chosen academic or career path they will find that they need to use computers. Therefore honing good skills and having an understanding of their application in problem solving are essential, as they will be able to integrate these experiences into their daily routines, enabling them to become more productive users when accomplishing real life tasks.

Studying Computer Science (known as the fourth science subject) will enable them to get inside one of the single most powerful tools the world has seen. It is important that our Pupils learn to understand and appreciate the fundamentals of computing, as computers figure in all avenues of our lives, within science, technology, manufacturing, research, medicine, etc. Computing, therefore, influences and affects everything we do in society today.

The courses we provide are designed to make our Pupils’ proficient, creative and independent users of a wide range of computer applications and languages, underpinned by developing ‘real world’ tasks that will encourage independence, initiative, team work and time management skills. 

Lower School

The Department teaches practical application (programming) and computing theory in years 6, 8 and 9, with every lesson containing an element of practicality centred work on a given task or project. The task/project may involve the use of one or more application or computing methodology which should stretch the abilities of each Pupil. The context of the work should be familiar and relevant to the Pupils, so that they may concentrate on making good use of the computers. The teaching staff will ensure that all Pupils in a given class complete the work set and produce verifiable results, which in most cases will be a final hard copy or presentation. Where Pupils work at a faster rate, still maintaining the required quality, the teaching staff will introduce skills to extra features within the software or language studied, on an individual basis, or ask the Pupil to produce an extra piece of academic work. All work produced should conform to the standard rules of English and be accurate outcomes.

Year 6

Programme of study in year 6:

  • File Management
  • Internet/Electronic Communication (e-safety, plagiarism and netiquette)
  • Word-processing
  • Scratch Programming  (Animation and Game Design)
  • Presentation Graphics
  • Spreadsheet including Graphs and Charts
  • Web Page Creation (HTML)
  • Systems and Control

Year 8

Programme of study in Year 8:

  • Spreadsheet (functions/formulae)
  • Graphs and Charts
  • Web Page Creation (HTML/CSS)
  • Fundamentals of Computer Science
  • Systems and Control (NXT Lego MindStorm, Yenka)
  • Python Programming

Pupils are expected to take notes, conduct research, complete practical tasks and written exercises. There will be homework requirements for this course too, so revision of theory and skills will be very important for the end of year exam.

Year 9

Pupils have the option to pursue Computer Science in Year 9. The Department offers an academically challenging and practically based computational thinking and programming course, which will naturally lead into the GCSE Computer Science Course.

It is a well subscribed course, nearly all our Year 8 Pupils opt to do this in Year 9. Pupils spend one double lesson per week developing and honing their skills and knowledge in the following modules:

  • Python
  • Database Design
  • Visual Basic
  • Computing Theory

Pupils are expected to take notes, complete practical tasks and written exercises.  There will be homework requirements for this course too, so revision of theory and skills will be very important for the end of module assessments and end of year exam.

It is essential for those Pupils considering GCSE Computer Science to complete this course, as it provides Pupils with the core practical skills and knowledge required for progression.

GCSE - AQA Computer Science

The department encourages Students with an interest in the latest technology, programming, ICT and electronics, coupled with strong skills and understanding in Mathematics and Physics to consider studying GCSE Computer Science as a subject.

It is widely known that there is a shortage of programmers in the UK.  The software design industry is growing, with the gaming industry becoming bigger because of the rise in mobile technology.  Programmers are highly sought after for their unique mix of logical reasoning, creativity and practical problem-solving skills.  It has been said that all scientists, mathematicians and engineers will at some point have to produce a piece of coding as part of their studies.

The GCSE Computer Science specification explores the principles of computing and a way of working that's called 'computational thinking', with coding at the core of the course.

The new AQA GCSE Computer Science specification is up-to-date and has been designed for pupils who have a keen interest in delving deeper into the fundamentals of computing.  The course will equip pupils to think logically, to assess and analyse problems, to critically evaluate possible solutions in order to arrive at robust solutions.  It requires pupils to be innovative and as well creative.

Among the many benefits, this new AQA specification is designed to enable pupils to:

  • 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

This specification has been created to get pupils working with real-world programming and provides a good understanding of the fundamental principles of computing.  It is an academically challenging specification for all our Pupils.

Subject content consists of the following areas of study:

  1. Fundamentals of algorithms
  2. Programming
  3. Fundamentals of data representation
  4. Computer systems
  5. Fundamentals of computer networks
  6. Fundamentals of cyber security
  7. Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
  8. Aspects of software development
  9. Non-exam assessment

Assessment:

Paper 1: This paper will test the pupil’s computational thinking and problem solving abilities.  It will involve learning and understanding computational thinking, problem solving, code tracing and applied computing as well as theoretical knowledge of computer science from subject content 1–4 above.

Written exam: A set in practically based scenarios.  A mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing a student’s practical problem solving and computational thinking skills: 1 hour 30 minutes / 80 marks / 40% of GCSE

Paper 2: This paper will test the pupil’s theoretical knowledge from subject content 3–7 above.

Written exam:  A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing a student’s theoretical knowledge: 1 hour 30 minutes / 80 marks / 40% of GCSE

Non-exam assessment: The non-exam assessment (NEA) assesses a student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical programming problem.  Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving, consistent with system development life cycles.

NEA Task: This will involve the development of a computer program along with the computer programming code itself which has been designed, written and tested by a student to solve a problem.  Students will produce an original report outlining this development.  Assessment will be through the production of a report: totalling 20 hours of work / 80 marks / 20% of GCSE

Further information about this course can be found on the AQA GCSE Computer Science website.

It is important for students to be diligent and organised as this will help them to deliver class and homework punctually.  There will be elements of self-learning which will require discipline and motivation.  It is suggested that students taking this course attend the Python Programming Club to extend their knowledge and experiences within programming, and participate in the annual UK Bebras Challenge. The BCS Challenge IT and the UK CyberSecurity competitions are also other opportunities that students could potentially be involved in.

A level - AQA Computer Science

The A Level Computer Science course specification has been designed for students who wish to pursue higher education courses or employment where knowledge of Computing would be beneficial. Pupils can study Computer Science and go on to a career in Medicine, Law, Business, Engineering or any other type of Science related field.

The term 'computing' covers every kind of digital technology that we use to create, store, communicate, exchange and use information. As such, it is the foundation for small and large businesses to build their strategies and grow. It is also the key to making our personal lives easier and more fun: mobile phones, online shopping, MP3s... we owe them all, and a lot more besides, to computer science.

There has been a conscious shift towards the direction of Computer Science and Computation in the world of education and work. These are exciting times for those Pupils who have an affinity with technology, are creative, lateral thinkers and self-disciplined. The department has introduced the new A Level specification which is up-to-date for those Pupils who have a passion for this science.

Pupils following this specification need to have prior knowledge of Computing or ICT, especially programming, as it will be beneficial to their studies.

This course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for further study.

Among the many benefits, this AQA specification is designed to encourage Pupils to develop:

  • the capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • an understanding of the organisation of computer systems including software, hardware, data,
  • communications and people
  • the ability to apply skills, knowledge and understanding of computing, including programming, in a range of contexts to solve problems
  • project and time management skills the capacity to see relationships between different aspects of the subject and perceive their field of study in a broader perspective
  • an understanding of the consequences of uses of computing, including social, legal, ethical and other issues
  • an awareness of emerging technologies and an appreciation of their potential impact on society

The A Level has 13 areas of study plus coursework (the computing practical project).  The specification covers the following areas of study:

  • Fundamentals of Programming
  1. Fundamentals of Data Structures
  2. Fundamentals of Algorithms
  3. Theory of Computation
  4. Fundamentals of Data Representation
  5. Fundamentals of Computer Systems
  6. Fundamentals of Computer Organisation and Architecture
  7. Consequences of Uses of Computing
  8. Fundamentals of Communication and Networking
  9. Fundamentals of Databases
  10. Big Data
  11. Fundamentals of Functional Programming
  12. Systematic approach to Problem Solving
  13. Non-exam Assessment – the Computing Practical Project

Assessment:

Paper 1: This paper tests a Pupil’s ability to program; to put into practice the computing language they have been studying to solve problems. This on-screen examination allows Pupils to demonstrate their knowledge of the fundamental principles of Computing, focusing on programming through a problem-solving scenario using the pre-release (Skeleton Program) material supplied by AQA.  Alongside, Pupils will be examined on their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science from the above areas of study, 1 – 4.  Pupils are expected to answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend programs.

On-Screen exam:  2hour 30 minutes / 100 marks / 40% of A Level

Paper 2: In this paper, Pupils will be examined on their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science from the above areas of study, 5 – 12 and are expected to write a series of short and extended–answers to the questions posed.

Written exam:  2 hour 30 minutes / 100 marks / 40% of A Level

Non-exam Assessment Coursework: The Computing Practical Project. This component is an internally assessed unit. It assesses the Pupil’s ability to use their knowledge and skills gained from the course to solve or investigate a practical problem. Pupils are expected to complete a report on a computer-based programmed solution to a problem-solving exercise of their choice, following the systematic approach to problem-solving (13).

Report: 75 Marks / 20% of A Level

Further information about this course can be found on the AQA GCE Computer Science website.

It is important for Pupils to be organised and deliver class and homework punctually. Feedback is provided so that Pupils can be given further guidance and are aware of their progress. Late work will be marked, but as a consequence may incur a 10% penalty. This encourages Pupils to take ownership of their work.

Extra-curricular

Advent Term 2017

Club Day Time Location Year Group Staff i/c
BCS Challenge IT Competition* Monday Lunch: 1:20 - 1:50 pm Rm A4 Year 9 - UVI MS
Learn to code in Python* Tuesday Lunch: 1:15 - 1:50 pm Rm A4 Years 10 - LVI MS
Animation Club* Wednesday Lunch: 1:10 - 1:35 pm Rm A5 Year 6 LEC
UK Bebras Challenge 2017-18* Thursday Lunch: 1:20 - 1:50 pm Rm A4 Year 9 - UVI MS
Scratch Club* Friday Lunch: 1:20 - 1:50 pm Rm A4 Year 7 & 8 MS

Lent Term 2018

Club Day Time Location Year Group Staff i/c
BCS Challenge IT Competition* Monday Lunch: 1:20 - 1:50 pm Rm A4 Year 9 - UVI MS
Learn to code in Visual Basic* Tuesday Lunch: 1:15 - 1:50 pm Rm A4 Years 10 - LVI MS
Animation Club* Wednesday Lunch: 1:10 - 1:35 pm Rm A5 Year 6 LEC
Scratch Club* Friday Lunch: 1:20 - 1:50 pm Rm A4 Year 7 & 8 MS

Trinity Term 2018

Club Day Time Location Year Group Staff i/c
Learn to code in Visual Basic* Tuesday Lunch: 1:15 - 1:50 pm Rm A4 Years 10 - UVI MS

The Scratch Animation club is set-up in partnership with Manchester University’s annual computer animation competition. Pupils are encouraged to develop a short animation(1 minute in duration) based on any aspect of the school’s curriculum.

The Visual Basic Programming club offers pupils time to explore and experience the techniques required to program games. It also enables the Pupils to nurture and foster technical, logical and creative skills in a programming language, in preparation for GCSE and A Level Computer Science.

The UK Bebras Competition is aimed at raising awareness of Computer Science, in a fun and rewarding way. The competition invokes solving problems using computational thinking skills. The contest is conducted online during a particular week in November. Pupils are required to participate online for approximately 45mins and are involved in completing 15 multiple-choice questions. During the club sessions Pupils will discuss methodologies and practice examples in readiness for participating in the national competition.

Trips

  • Joint trip with Economics dept' to Jaguar Land Rover
  • The National Museum of Computing (Bletchley Park)
  • Any trip pertaining to competitions entered

Other

The department has links with: