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Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Computer Science provide students with insight and practical experience of the use of computers in modern society. Students are increasingly expected to have transferable skills and our departmental philosophy is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to explore, question and creatively utilise ICT in many different contexts.

We follow the recommendations of the new computer science curriculum that states that students:

  • understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problem
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology

We aim to develop knowledge and understanding through ensuring that assessment instils a culture of continuous improvement and students are encouraged to evaluate next steps to guide progress and achievement. Students are introduced to a range of different software applications using both Windows PC’s and Apple Macs.

ICT is also an integral part of other subjects and computer rooms are an essential resource for research, revision, experimentation and multimedia. Many departments use the ICT rooms to support learning and enrich their curricula.

Key Stage 3
At Key stage 3 we follow a scheme of work tailored to meet the needs of students and have embedded elements of computer science theory into our units of work. We aim to give students skills that may be applied to real life situations and provide tasks of project based nature. We encourage independent learning through investigation and creativity. As a department we also ensure that students are educated in the area of e-safety and we run a number of lessons each year to ensure students become sensible and responsible users of ICT.

Year 7
Covers the following range of topics:

  • password protection and computer room safety
  • using email effectively
  • video conferencing
  • misuse of ICT and e-safety
  • word processing and presentation skills
  • desktop publishing
  • image manipulation using a combination of software such as Publisher, Fireworks and Photoshop
  • spreadsheet basics and modelling
  • webpage creation using html
  • effective search techniques
  • practical programming using Scratch and BBC Microbits
  • history of computing
  • music creation

Year 8
Covers the following range of topics:

  • desktop publishing
  • creating ID cards
  • e-safety
  • hardware and software
  • network topologies
  • operating systems including Raspberry Pi (linux)
  • spreadsheet financial modelling
  • sorting and filtering
  • webpage creation using html and CSS
  • programming fundamentals using Python (algorithms that make use of variables, procedures, conditions, lists, loops and recursion)
  • game making using Scratch
  • Adobe Fireworks/Photoshop creative project

Year 9
Covers the following range of topics:

  • databases
  • data structure and data types
  • e-safety using multiple applications
  • spreadsheet including financial modelling
  • IF statements
  • conditional formatting and navigation
  • creative use of ICT (Photoshop)
  • processors
  • Moore’s law
  • app generation
  • binary representation
  • programming using Python

Assessment
We have a ‘life without levels’ assessment scheme that is constantly being tweaked and updated to meet our students’ needs. All students are assessed at regular intervals with a variety of methods including verbal feedback, formal online testing, peer assessment, practical assessment tasks and evaluative self-assessment. Students’ work is marked following the school assessment policy and students are encouraged to set their own targets for improvement.

Key Stage 4
Students have the chance to further their learning and are able to opt in to taking GCSE ICT and Computer Science at the end of Key Stage 3. Our Year 11s will be the last cohort to complete the Edexcel GCSE ICT course and our new Year 10s have opted for OCR Computer Science. Details of each course can be found below:

GCSE ICT
Consists of two major modules undertaken in Years 10 and 11: “Living in a digital world” and “Using digital tools”.

The first module is a theory based module that is assessed in a 1 hour 30 minute exam at the end of the course, it is worth 40 per cent of the whole qualification. The modules covered are as follows:

Module 1: My Phone (features, specialist phones, networks and coverage, responsible use, privacy, use of communications devices for business)

Module 2: Online shopping and e-commerce (online vs high street, protection, customer data and data protection, eco-friendly service, online banking and online auctions)

Module 3: My time (networks, entertainment systems, technology on demand, gaming, staying safe and legal)

Module 4: My space (wikis, blogs, forums, impact of change, e-safety, cloud technology)

Module 5: Anytime anywhere (digital presence, impact of always being ‘online’)

The second unit is a 40 hour controlled assessment which takes place during lessons. This is a practical unit with a scenario set by the exam board. Students work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts. They learn to reflect critically on their own and others’ use of ICT and to adopt safe, secure and responsible practice.

Both modules aim to provide pupils with real life contexts and scenarios and promote autonomous problem solving skills. Students have the opportunity to continuously improve their work and feedback on progress is regularly given to ensure students have a sense of direction but can also take responsibility for their achievements.

GCSE Computer Science
Consisting of two papers, one focusing on the theory of Computer Science and one with a focus on programming and algorithms. Both papers have identical weighting and mark allocations. There is also a Non-Exam-Assessment (NEA) which must be taken in Year 11. This is a practical project set by the exam board and assessed internally.

Component 1: This component will introduce learners to the Central Processing Unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It is expected that learners will become familiar with the impact of Computer Science in a global context through the study of the ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with Computer Science.

Component 2: This component incorporates and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in Component 1, encouraging learners to apply this knowledge and understanding using computational thinking. Learners will be introduced to algorithms and programming, learning about programming techniques, how to produce robust programs, computational logic, translators and facilities of computing languages and data representation. Learners will become familiar with computing related mathematics.

Component 3: Learners will need to create suitable algorithms which will provide a solution to the problems identified in the task. They will then code their solutions in a suitable programming language. The solutions must be tested at each stage to ensure they solve the stated problem and learners must use a suitable test plan with appropriate test data. In Component 3 learners must think computationally to solve a task and while doing so create a report detailing the creation of their solution, explaining what they did and why they did it.

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