Welcome to the Computer Science department
Mr B Hill,
Head of Department: Dr King
How the Curriculum has been adapted following the Covid-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 did less damage to the delivery of Computer Science than it did to other subjects as most lessons utilised Google Classroom platform to prepare the resources for students. The major difference, however, was that when students were working remotely, many did not have the open dialogue and support they needed from the teacher in the room. It also widened the gap in attainment for our disadvantaged students and our SEN students who required different mechanisms to support their learning. We have therefore made some big changes to our delivery. We still use Google Classroom to support learning as this enables lesson material to be readily available to students all the time. We have moved our curriculum to a more hybrid delivery using unplugged resources more readily and enhancing students knowledge transfer from ‘doing computing’ to understanding what they are doing and how and why they need to follow certain patterns when programming.
Welcome to Computing! With our children surrounded by the ever changing and fast paced world of technology, this subject is playing a more important role than ever before. We want our students to understand and play an active role in the digital world that surrounds them, not to be passive users of mysterious technology. An understanding of computing concepts will help them see how to get the best from the systems they use, and how to solve problems when things go wrong. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
At the Bay, we encourage our students to be digitally literate straight away – with their own monitored network area, email, and access to Google classroom, collaborative software and Microsoft programs.
Year 7 students will encounter several programming opportunities – such as game making in Scratch. They will learn languages such as Python, binary (machine language) and HTML through creating chat bots and websites. Your child will be able to explore how the insides of a computer work and how important different types of memory and storage are. They will be able to identify key hardware components and software applications. They will be able to manipulate data in spreadsheets and follow clues to search a database in order to name criminals in our Database Detective unit! We teach ours students to be responsible when it comes to the internet. They will learn how to search responsibly and question the reliability and validity of some of what is published online. In addition to teacher feedback, there are 3 main externally assessed windows that are standardised across the country and is called https://theingots.org/. We take one at the start, middle and end of the academic year to measure computing progress.
Our year 8 curriculum builds on from the last year’s experience and we launch straight into exploring industry standard programming language; Python. This is a free download so available for all at home should be want to hone in on their skills. They will start by creating their own chatbot. We then look at data security and encryption –with a little help from The Simpsons and some cipher wheels. We then look at the elements of computer networks and how this helps our digital age. Building upon this, the students will explore operating systems, software and hardware – getting a chance to participate in a PC autopsy. Students will also look at machine language – binary, ASCII and how various data forms are represented. With their strong spreadsheet and database skills being established in the previous year, students will create and implement an advanced Excel and Access project. Python will be further revisited at the end of the year but with the emphasis on graphical modelling and image creation. We end the year being reflective and looking at technology’s impact on society – our students will have the opportunity to use various software, including from the Adobe suite, to explore and present their findings. The INGOTS assessments will form mid and end of year progression.
Most importantly we will regularly teach and review E safety for all of our phase 2 students. Social media platforms are part of a young person’s life so your child will explore various issues, the dos and don’ts online and where to go for help.
With one lesson a week in the lower years, computing lessons are fun and action packed, with students beginning to consider computer science as a GCSE subject.
Students have 1 lesson a fortnight and move to a project based flipped learning approach. To prepare them for the GCSE, there is an emphasis on programming using Python language. We support students who do not know python by using pseudo code as an alternative. Students have to deliver to a design brief -planning, creating, testing and modifying just as they would for any systems cycle. Spring term sees them exploring the concept of artificial intelligence and exploring the ethics of and impact on society. During the Summer term, students learn further aspects of networks and in particular cryptography. They will construct static webpages using HTML and learn to manipulate some encryption techniques.
Phase 3 (Years 10 and 11)
Computer Science GCSE
Students study the following theory topics: Computational thinking, Programming, Data Representation, Hardware, Networking, Ethics and Software Development. Through these topics students will learn how computers work and can be applied in both personal and business networks. In addition to the theory topics, students also learn the basics of a variety of programming languages which they then use to solve a problem and create a fully working solution
Comp 1: Computer systems—Systems Architecture, Memory, Storage, Wired and wireless networks / Network topologies, protocols and layers, System security / System software, Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns.
Comp 2: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming -Algorithms, Programming techniques, Producing robust programs /Computational logic, Translators and facilities of languages, Data representation.
OCR GCSE (9-1) in Computer Science
Comp 1: 80 marks, 1 hour and 30 minutes, written paper.
Comp 2: 80 marks, 1 hour and 30 minutes, written paper.
This qualification has been designed to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding required to enable progression to qualifications alongside other subject GCSE, Vocational or BTEC as well as Level 3 college courses.
Progression Level 3 courses include ICT or Computing AS/A Level. University pathways: Computer Science, Computer Systems Engineering, Computing, IT & Networking.
Software Developer, Systems Analyst, IT System Technical Architect, Network Engineer, Network Manager, Computer Scientist, Computer Programmer, Software Engineer, Computer Games Programmer, Helpdesk Professional.
How parents can support
Set weekly so please check Google classroom and support learning outside of the lesson, which will include unplugged activities that do not require computer access
New GCSE Computer Science OCR Complete Revision & Practice – Grade 9-1 (with Online Edition) (CGP GCSE Computer Science 9-1 Revision) Paperback ( available on Amazon) or from the School shop!
https://www.senecalearning.com/ (used a lot for revision)