Students cover a wide-ranging programme of study in Year 7, 8 and 9 which further develops skills learnt at primary school as well as introducing a range of new ones. Students will develop knowledge and understanding of website development, spreadsheets, graphics and animation, use of the internet, the fundamentals of computing, and a range of office applications. The department had introduced a range of computing activities such as Scratch even before the government introduced this formally. Students will be introduced to programming languages, seeing the process through from design to implementation and evaluation. This curriculum is continually evolving as new technologies become available. In addition to the taught curriculum, students enjoy using their programming skills in the Lego Robots club. Students will develop practical ICT and computing skills as well as team-work, communication, problem-solving, presentation skills and the ability to reflect on and evaluate their own work and that of others.
GCSE Computer Science
Students will follow the OCR Computer Science specification; they have the chance to develop knowledge and understanding of a wide range of computing and programming. They will learn how to text based programming languages, build algorithms and develop different functionality to meet design criteria. Understanding of computer hardware and software will be taught in addition to wired and wireless networks. There is also a focus on developing students' computational thinking and ability to develop algorithms and applying the knowledge they have learned by developing a solution to a real world problem.
Component 1 – Computer Systems: (Examination unit – combination of short and long answer style questions, some of which require the writing of code); 1 hour 30 minutes; 80 marks; 50% of qualification.
In this examined unit students will explore the fundamentals of computer systems. They will study computer architecture, computer hardware and its components. Students will look into how software is used to perform functions for user interfaces and explore custom written and off-the-shelf software. This component will also give students a detailed knowledge of the inner working of wired and wireless networks alongside the importance of systems security.
Component 2 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Progamming: (Examination unit – combination of short and long answer style questions, some of which require the writing of code); 1 hour 30 minutes; 80 marks; 50% of qualification.
This component is another written exam, focused on computational thinking and algorithms. Students will be tested on the elements of computational thinking and logic. The main focus of the assessment is to test students' ability to write, correct and improve algorithms.
Component 3 – Programming Project: 20 hours; 40 marks; 20% of qualification
This is a practical unit where students will be asked to design and create suitable algorithms to provide a solution to a given problem and then develop the solution using a suitable programming language. They will then need to test and evaluate their solution to provide evidence of a programming solution and to build on techniques they have learnt. This no longer counts towards the final GCSE but Ofqual still expects it to be taught and assessed.