Computing Curriculum plan

COMPUTING

The Computing department is committed to preparing students for the technological requirements of a range of career paths.  As can be seen in the above diagram Computing can be split into three strands: Digital Literacy; Information Technology and Computer Science.  Throughout KS3 students are taught a blended Computing curriculum which incorporates all three strands.  During KS4 and KS5 students can specialise in Computer Science and/or Information Technology.

Digital Literacy – Like the ability to read and perform basic arithmetic, the ability to use a computer at a basic level is an essential life skill. Digital Literacy is the ability to use computer systems for basic uses such as use of ‘office applications’ such as word processing, presentations and spreadsheets and the safe use of the Internet.  Digital Literacy is taught within computing lessons but also across other areas of the curriculum.

Information Technology – Here the focus is on how to best use existing programs creatively, usually for business needs. Information Technology students need to know about existing applications, how they interact, how they are best used and how to troubleshoot problems between them.  Information Technology is well paired with studies in Business.

Computer Science – In Computer Science students are taught how to create new computer systems.  To enable them to do this they develop a deeper understanding of computers through study of computational thinking, algorithms, programming languages and theory.  Students who choose to study Computer Science are usually strong in Mathematics and Science.

KEY STAGE 3

Computing is taught across all year groups in Key Stage 3 with one period per week.  During key stage 3 pupils will engage in modules which will develop skills in the following areas:

  • Programming
  • Website design
  • Basic use of Office Applications
  • E-Safety
  • Basic Data Representation
  • Algorithmic thinking

KEY STAGE 4

Computing is offered in two options at key stage 4: Computer Science and Information Technology; both of which are designed to identify the emerging skills of the individual and offer a path best suited for their success.

GCSE Computer Science

The Computer Science is a GCSE 1-9 which is comprised of the following three units:

Computer Systems

Examined component set and externally moderated by the exam board.

The focus of this component is on computer systems covering the physical elements of computer science and the associated theory.

Short answer questions and essay type questions

1.5 hours

50% of total GCSE

Computational Thinking, Algorithms and programming

Examined unit set and externally moderated by the exam board.

The focus of this component is on the core theory of computer science and the application of computer science principles.

Short answer questions and essay type questions

1.5 hours

50% of total GCSE

Programming project

20 hours

Exam board set task internally marked and externally moderated

This component is the non-exam assessment where pupils will be challenged by a range of exciting and engaging tasks to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned.

BTEC Digital Information Technology

Course structure:

Component 1: Exploring User Interface Design Principles and Project Planning Techniques; Component 2: Collecting, Presenting and Interpreting Data; and Component 3: Effective Digital Working Practices.  The first two units are coursework based and are worked upon predominantly in Year 10.  Component three is a written exam assessed during Year 11 with one opportunity to re-sit. Assessment is awarded to PASS, MERIT, DISTINCTION or DISTINCTION* criteria. For some pupils, a level 1 award is also possible.

What does the qualification cover?

The Award gives learners the opportunity to develop sector-specific knowledge and skills in a practical learning environment. The main focus is on four areas:

  • Development of key skills that prove your aptitude in digital information technology, such as project planning, designing and creating user interfaces, creating dashboards to present and interpret data.
  • Process that underpins effective ways of working in digital information technology, such as project planning, the iterative design process, cyber security, virtual teams, legal and ethical codes of conduct.
  • Attitudes that are considered most important in digital information technology, including personal management and communication.
  • Knowledge that underpins effective use of skills, process and attitudes in the sector such as how different user interfaces meet user needs, how organisations collect and use data to make decisions, virtual workplaces, cyber security and legal and ethical issues.

KEY STAGE 5

At Key Stage 5 level we aim to facilitate students who wish to take a vocational or academic route.  Depending on uptake we can offer either a Cambridge Technical Level 3 Introductory Diploma in IT or an OCR A Level in Computer Science.