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Computer Science

"We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?"

Vision

The world is ever changing due to the constantly advancing creation of new technologies that have the capacity to both improve and harm in equal measure. It is our responsibility to help build confident users of ICT who are not afraid to be innovative, whilst understanding that their digital footprint can have a positive or negative impact on our Shared British Values and their life choices.

Every learner has the capacity to use technology in order to share their own creative mind; our curriculum aims to help develop computational thinking skills and encourage kindness and decency in today’s digital age. We aim to give learners the opportunity to set their own individual ‘digital’ learning goals to help increase their understanding of Computer Science, Creative Media and Cyber Security no matter their starting point.

Through the use of authentic opportunities for both staff and learners to share ideas collaboratively, we aim to celebrate both the creative and algorithmic problem solving skills of all learners and help build the IT professionals of the future.

Finally, our curriculum looks to promote the academic success of every learner by being inclusive and celebrating that we are part of a diverse school community.

Curriculum Intent

Our ICT & Computer Science learning journey follows a building block approach to teaching that incorporates key aims of the Computing National Curriculum, whilst not overlooking important skills that are valued in the creative industries. 

The curriculum looks to build knowledge across our four key areas of learning in order to create confident, innovative and safe users of ICT in an ever changing modern world:

> Problem Solver – The ability to solve computational problems using a range of applications.

> Cyber Safe – The ability to use computers in a safe manner and identify/evaluate possible security issues when required.

> Creative Mind – The ability to demonstrate an innovative mind when approaching a wide range of problems.

> Confident User – The ability to feel confident when using a computer as a learning tool to access, create, store, amend and share documents/work.

Extra-Curricular: We run a popular ‘Society of App Inventors’ club every Tuesday for all year groups, which has its own link on our Learning Hub Google site. Students use the time to develop new programs, graphics or multimedia projects and often work collaboratively in groups.
Inter-house competitions: Since 2015 we have run Programmer of the Year to celebrate the array of coding talent throughout the schools. Participation has increased and we also now include a Graphics Designer of the Year competition for students to develop their creative skills.

KS4 Computer Science

Why should I study this subject?

“Do you have what it takes to be a White Hat Hacker of the future?” Computer Science has become a very high-profile subject over the last few years. The ability to program solutions using both machine and high level programming languages has become a sought after skill in a wide range of industries. Computing is of enormous importance to the economy, and the role of Computer Science as a discipline itself and as an ‘underpinning’ subject across Science and Engineering is growing rapidly.

Computer technology continues to advance rapidly and the way that technology is consumed has also changed at a fast pace over recent years. The growth in the use of mobile devices and web-related technologies has exploded, resulting in new challenges for employers and employees. The government has recently invested heavily in training ‘programmers of the future’ to meet the ever growing demand for people that demonstrate the skills necessary to maintain the UK’s tradition of being a front runner in the industry, whilst placing additional emphasis on cyber security. GCSE Computer Science will help you to build on the knowledge gained in KS3, whilst introducing you to additional concepts that underpin the subject.

What will I learn?

The qualification will take you on a journey from the integral system architecture that make up a computer system, to the world of cyber security and the methods that industry professionals are using to combat crime. You will be given hands-on experience of building a computer system, writing and perfecting your own algorithms/programs and considering the computational logic required for a computer system to work.

How will I be assessed?

Paper 1 – Computer Systems (50%)

Paper 1 focuses on your knowledge and understanding of how different system components work, forms of networks and their security and legal, ethical, cultural and environmental considerations.

Paper 2 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming (50%)

Paper 2 is split into two sections:

Section A – Tests your knowledge and understanding of a range of hands-on topics such as algorithms, binary logic and consideration when building a robust program.

Section B – Tests your ability to write/refine algorithms based on your knowledge of key concepts relating to high level programming languages covered in lesson.

What skills will I develop?

The main aim of the qualification is to open your mind to how the power of computers can be harnessed to help solve a wide range of problems. Building computational thinking skills is essential in today’s society and it is hoped that all learners taking the course will not only learn the theory behind how computer systems work, but will gain a new insight into algorithm and application design that may benefit them in the future.

What equipment will I need?

Access to a computer at home

A subscription to SmartRevise (Please note – Your teacher will provide further details when you start the course)

A OCR GCSE Revision Guide (Please note – Your teacher will provide further details when you start the course)

How will this subject help to develop my character and culture?

Building aspirations is at the forefront of everything that we do in Computer Science with 7/10 of the richest people in the world earning their fortune from ideas relating to the use of computer systems.

We will consider the ethical and moral considerations relating to the use of computer systems, including the impact of e-waste on developing countries. The course will not only aim to build entrepreneurs of the future, but will hopefully help you to become a generation that thinks of the wider impact of the use of technology.

Where can this subject take me in the future?

The Computer Science qualification has an endless list of possibilities including: Computer programming, Software engineering, Website/app design/development, Computer game development, Cybersecurity.

Your teacher will be happy to share knowledge of linked professions with you.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more about the qualification via our ICT and Computing HUB or the OCR qualification website.

What other subjects complement my learning in this qualification?

The Curriculum Team

Mr A Cunningham
Teacher of Computer Science/ICT
Mr J Parry
Associate Assistant Headteacher/Subject Leader of IT
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