We aim to provide our students with a rounded education so they are fully equipped to excel in a world in which computational thinking and creativity alongside ICT skills are increasingly impacting on all aspects of our lives. We aim to ensure that every student has the understanding, awareness and skills to safely, enjoyably and effectively utilise digital tools and devices today and into the future

We aim to:

  • Provide enjoyable and challenging lessons that promote a love of Computer Science and foster a desire to learn more
  • Enrich and extend students as both independent and collaborative learners
  • Encourage the flexibility and openness of mind necessary to adjust to, and take advantage of, advances in technology, whilst understanding the moral, social and ethical implications and consequences for both individuals and society
  • Ensure all students are aware of the dangers as well as the opportunities ICT & Computer Science affords and consequently adopt sensible e-safety practices

Curriculum

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

KS4 (GCSE)

KS5 (AS & A Level Computer Science)

Term 1

Autumn Term 1

Using computers safely & responsibly

  • Intro to school network, Moodle & school email
  • Safe & responsible school network & internet use

Presenting information – word processing software

  • What is application software?
  • What is the purpose & who is the audience?
  • Effective use of page setup, formatting tools, tables, columns, screen shots

Spring Term 1

Programming using Scratch

  • Link with Flowol flow charts
  • Problem solving using Scratch with sequence, selection & iteration
  • Decomposition
  • Writing structured English solutions
  • Use of operators & variables
  • Testing & debugging

Warwick Castle

  • Website research & Warwick Castle visit
  • Creating & editing an MP3 audio file

Summer Term 1

Computer input & output devices

  • Hardware classification including difference between input & output devices
  • Different purposes of range of input devices
  • Different purposes of range of output devices

Term 2

Autumn Term 2

Algorithms – flow charts in Flowol

  • What is purpose of flow charts?
  • Problem solving using flow charts with sequence, selection, iteration, sub-routines
  • Use of operators & variables
  • Testing & debugging

Spring Term 2

Data handling

  • Purpose of databases including their frequent everyday use
  • Interrogate database – query & sort
  • Testing hypotheses using a database
  • Use of databases for storing & analysing data

Summer Term 2

BBC Microbit

  • What is a Microbit?
  • Using the block language to program the Microbit website simulator
  • Testing programs on Microbits in the real world

Term 1

Autumn Term 1

Computer hardware

  • Copyright law
  • Purpose of different devices
  • Advantages & disadvantages of different devices
  • Input – everyday & specialised input devices including for people with specific needs
  • Output – everyday & specialised output devices including for people with specific needs
  • Storage – optical, magnetic, solid state & cloud

Spring Term 1

Data handling

  • Create & Interrogate a database
  • Query, sort, logical operators
  • Data types, primary key, field size
  • Forms & reports
  • Data errors – problems caused & prevention
  • Validation rules – planning, testing using
  • Mailmerge

Summer Term 1

Python programming

  • Variables – creation & use
  • Data types
  • Mathematical operators
  • Concatenation
  • User input to make programs interactive
  • Selection using IF, ELIF, ELSE
  • Writing structured English solutions
  • Testing & debugging

Term 2

Autumn Term 2

HTML

  • Creating website by writing HTML in Notepad
  • Intro to hexadecimal numbering system
  • Website content on computer hardware

Spring Term 2

Problem solving

  • Introduction to programming in an imperative language – Python 3
  • Problem solve drawing simple & complex shapes using the turtle
  • Decomposing problems, writing functions & combining elements to solve more complex problems
  • Testing & debugging

Summer Term 2

E-safety & Python

  • E-safety – rights & responsibilities
  • Computer Misuse Act, phishing, advance fee fraud, viruse
  • Plan & create a quiz in Python on e-safety

 

Term 1

Autumn Term 1

Data representation & binary

  • Why binary?
  • Binary to denary & denary to binary conversion
  • Storage units & relation between them
  • Binary addition
  • Data representation on computers – text & images

Spring Term 1

Problem solving with algorithms

  • Analysing problems
  • Decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction
  • Creating flow charts
  • Writing structured English solutions

Summer Term 1

Programming using Python

  • Variables – creation & use
  • Data types
  • Mathematical operators
  • Concatenation
  • User input to make programs interactive
  • Selection using IF, ELIF, ELSE
  • Testing & debugging

Term 2

Autumn Term 2

Importance of computer systems

  • What is a computer system? Input, output, storage & processor
  • Role of processor
  • Fetch execute cycle & Little Man Computer simulation
  • How computer systems have changed the way we live – Black Country Museum visit

Spring Term 2

Python programming

  • Introduction to programming in an imperative language
  • Problem solve drawing simple & complex shapes using the turtle
  • Decomposing problems, writing functions & combining elements to solve more complex problems
  • Testing & debugging

Summer Term 2

E-safety & Python

  • Safe & responsible computer use
  • Data Protection Act
  • Health & Safety
  • Iteration in Python – while loops
  • Plan & create a quiz in Python on e-safety

Term 1

Paper 1 preparation – Computational Thinking and Problem Solving

Although the Computational Thinking and Problem Solving unit is assessed through a written examination, learning takes place through practical computer work as well as written theory.  Students learn to read and write algorithms, how to develop computer programs, how data is represented in computer systems and the hardware and software computers use. The examination is worth 40% of the overall GCSE.

Unit 3 – Non-exam assessment

This is a practical programming unit. Throughout Year 10 students build upon the Python programming skills they started developing in Key Stage 3 as they learn more advanced programming techniques and develop their ability to write programs for specific purposes. In Year 11 they are given a practical programming problem to solve which is set by the exam board. They have to design, write and test a computer program to solve the problem as well as writing a report explaining how they solved it; both the report and the program itself are marked. All the programming and report writing has to be done during lessons under exam type conditions with 20 hours to complete the project which is worth 20% of the overall GCSE.

Term 2

Unit 2 – Written assessment

This unit is again assessed through a written examination. Students learn more about data representation and computer hardware and software as well as how computer networks, including the internet, work. They also learn what cyber security threats are and how to detect and prevent them as well as the ethical, legal and environmental impacts digital technology has on all of our lives.  This examination is worth 40% of the overall GCSE.

Term 1

Throughout the course students develop both theoretical knowledge of Computer Science and practical programming skills. They learn how to develop complex algorithms and how to implement them. They use Python 3 as their main programming language but also experience other languages whilst studying procedural, object oriented and functional programming techniques. They learn more about computer architecture, communications and networking, fundamentals of data representation and data structures as they develop their understanding of the theory that underpins computer systems.

The content is delivered through both practical and theoretical lessons using text books and electronic resources allowing students to link computing principles to real-life practice.

NEA – Computing Practical Project (A Level only)

Students work independently on a topic that interests them, developing their practical programming skills to develop a solution to a realistic problem or to undertake a computing investigation. They analyse the problem, design, create, test and evaluate a solution with their technical solution being the most important element of this. Below are some examples of the types of problems students choose to undertake:

  • A computer game
  • A control system operated using a device such as a Raspberry Pi
  • A website with dynamic content driven by a database back-end
  • An app for a mobile phone
  • A simulation of a business or scientific nature such as modelling flu epidemics
  • A solution to a data processing problem for an organisation such as a membership system
  • A solution to an optimisation problem such as production of a rota

Term 2

Unit 1. This unit is assessed through an end of year on-screen examination

  1. Fundamentals of programming
  2. Fundamentals of data structures
  3. Systematic approach to problem solving
  4. Theory of computation
  5. Fundamentals of algorithms

Unit 2. This unit is assessed through an end of year traditional examination

  1. Fundamentals of data representation
  2. Fundamentals of computer systems
  3. Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  4. Consequences of uses of computing
  5. Fundamentals of communication and networking
  6. Fundamentals of databases (A Level only)
  7. Big Data (A Level only)
  8. Fundamentals of functional programming (A Level only)

Staff

  • Mrs E Brown (Head of department)
  • Mrs J Thompson
  • Miss N Verma

Additional Information

KS3 (years 7, 8 & 9)

In year 7 students have 3 Computer Science lessons a fortnight followed by 2 lessons a fortnight in years 8 and 9.  All lessons are 1 hour long and take place in a computer suite with a desktop computer for each student.

KS4 (GCSE in years 10 & 11)

GCSE Computer Science is taught in 4 one hour Computer Science lessons a fortnight.

From September 2016 GCSE Computer Science is an optional subject for students in KS4 and students will study the AQA Computer Science GCSE 8520. This is assessed through two examinations (both are 90 minutes long at the end of year 11) worth 40% each and one NEA (non-exam assessment) worth 20%. The NEA is a practical programming project undertaken over 20 hours during year 11 using the programming language Python 3.

Year 11 in September 2016 are the final year group to be completing the OCR Computing GCSE J275. This is assessed through one examination (90 minutes long at end of year 11) worth 40% and two controlled assessment projects (undertaken throughout the course) each worth 30%.  Each controlled assessment project takes a maximum of 20 hours to complete. For the Programming Project controlled assessment students use the programming language Python 3.

All KS4 students use Python 3 which is available to download for free from www.python.org  – where it is possible to do so, students find it very helpful to have Python 3 installed on a computer at home.

Post 16 (A Level)

From September 2016 onwards the AQA Computer Science AS Level (7516D) and A Level (7517D) will be taught in the Sixth Form in 9 one hour lessons a fortnight.

AS Computer Science is assessed through 2 examinations at the end of Year 12 worth 50% each. Paper 1 is an on-screen examination which includes programming tasks and Paper 2 is a traditional written examination. Both examinations last 90 minutes.

A Level Computer Science is assessed through 2 examinations at the end of Year 13 worth 40% each and one NEA (non-exam assessment) worth 20%. Paper 1 is an on-screen examination which includes programming tasks and Paper 2 is a traditional written examination. Both examinations last 2 hours 30 minutes. The NEA is a practical programming project in which students work independently on a topic that interests them.

How can parents help?

Parents should not feel under pressure to provide any specific hardware/software as there is provision at lunchtime to meet pupils’ needs. However, some homework will require internet access and access to a PC, therefore, if this not available at home, students will have to complete such homework at lunchtime.

 

If students have access to a computer to complete homework then having access to office applications is very useful. In school we currently use Microsoft Office 2013 but this is compatible with a range of office software so the version available at home need not be the same. There are also some free to download open source office suites available on the internet. All students have their own school Google account which gives them access to Google docs which can be used for individual and collaborative work.

 

Students all learn computer programming and having software on a computer at home which they can practice on is particularly useful:

  • Scratch is used in years 7 & 8 and is available to download for free from http://scratch.mit.edu/
  • Python 3 is used in years 8 to 13 and is available to download for free from python.org Make sure to download a version of Python 3 such as Python 3.521 (not Python 2) as we use Python 3 in school.

 

All students have access to Moodle, our VLE and if internet access is available at home they should be encouraged to use Moodle to access work and additional resources provided by the teacher.

Students undertaking examination courses in KS4 and KS5 have a course text book but a wide range of additional electronic resources are available to help them via their Computer Science Moodle course – students use these resources in lessons and should be encouraged to use them regularly at home as well. Some of the resources can be downloaded onto computers at home whereas others require access to the internet whilst they are being used.

 

All students have their own school Google account which gives them a school email account which should be used for all school related email communication – students should not be using personal email accounts in school

Where next

The purpose of the current Computer Science provision is to provide a sound basis in both computer literacy and application of ICT to practical situations. This should give students enough grounding to function effectively in the modern day workplace, and to be able to take their studies further should they wish to undertake a degree or follow a specific career in Computer Science.

The applications of Computer Science are enormous, and cover just about every aspect of modern day life both in and out of the workplace.  Most of us now carry a small but powerful computer with us wherever we go (our mobile phone) and also rely on computer systems without thinking about it when going about our everyday lives whether it be…

  • Using the checkout system at the supermarket (a computer system)
  • Relaxing in front of our digital tv (a computer system)
  • Using an ATM to withdraw money from the bank (a computer system)
  • Having an MRI scan at hospital (a computer system)
  • Following directions on our SatNav (a computer system)
  • …the list goes on and on

Understanding more about how these computer systems work and learning to write programs to use and control them is thus clearly beneficial.  However, studying Computer Science is more than this, in particular it develops a range of transferrable skills including problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis.  These are skills needed in many careers including engineering, science, medicine, financial and resource management careers.

Opportunities out of lessons

There are currently 5 computer suites, which are variously available for students to use at lunchtime to complete work.

All students have access to Moodle, our VLE and if internet access is available at home they should be encouraged to use Moodle to access work and additional resources provided by the teacher.

All students have their own school Google account which gives them a school email account which should be used for all school related email communication – students should not be using personal email accounts in school. The Google account also gives access to Google docs which can be used for individual and collaborative work.

We run a Computer Science lunchtime providing a range of opportunities beyond the curriculum including the chance to learn to program Raspberry Pi computers.

Curriculum

Our schemes of learning are designed to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that enables all students to develop into increasingly independent and discerning learners, creators and users of digital systems and content. We aim to offer a Computer Science education that equips all students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world thus our schemes of learning both challenge and support students to promote high achievement for all of them in relation to their ability.  We want our students to gain not only a high level of skills but also the understanding to be able to transfer these skills effectively into all aspects of their lives.