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Computing Department

Department Curriculum Vision

Curriculum map

Computing KS3 overview.

The curriculum builds upon key National Curriculum principles and concepts of computer science, including computational thinking, abstraction, logic, algorithms, data representation, hardware and software and Internet safety. Pupils are given an opportunity to analyse and solve computing problems using algorithms and the high-level programming language of Python.  Studying Computing will help students appreciate current and emerging computing technologies, understand the benefit of their use and recognise their potential risk.   Another key aim of the curriculum is to ensure pupils develop life-long skills and are therefore responsible in their use of technology whilst being creative and confident.

KS3 Computing has a great emphasis on substantive knowledge and sets a foundation in basic Computing Skills and Online Safety.  The assessment approach is systematic and frequent.  Each unit of study has two summative assessments the first being a very low stakes quiz which has the key purpose of identifying any key underperformers whilst giving pupils an opportunity to understand their own progress.   With the final assessment is at the end of each unit.   Assessment data is combined with class or graded project work to give overall detailed feedback to each pupil.  The whole process is efficient and provides pupils with tailored feedback.  Gap tasks are an essential part of the process and all year groups 7 – 11 have been issued with exercise books this year for pupil work, results, gap tasks and final targeted assessment sheets.

Year 7

 Year 7 pupils are familiarised with working practises within the Department and across school.   Pupils are exposed to various technologies, clearly distinguishing their use in school and in the wider context.  Key life-long skills are practised through Office 365 in Year 7 giving pupils the skills to use technology responsibly and productively at home and in the future.  One of the first units studied by pupils is E-Safety. Pupils learn to understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns

Pupils are taught about Computer Systems – hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.  This unit allows pupil to understand how instructions are stored and executed within a system.  To further develop Computer Science, a form of block-based programming is practised over two units.  This includes two units on Scratch.  These units serve a good primer for more advance text-based programming in the later years.  Various software and technologies are introduced and practised throughout all the units studied.

Year 8

 Skills, routines and exposure to various technologies in the previous year allows Year 8 pupils to become more creative whilst taking further steps in programming and solving problems via text-based languages.  Creative projects involve the use of various technologies with challenging goals including analysing data and meeting the needs of users.  Pupils create and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience whilst paying attention to trustworthiness, design and usability.  Pupils are expected to use a variety of software throughout the year.

Units of work include, Media Vector Graphics using Inkscape, Python Programming, Web Design, HTML and Networks.  Many of the skills that are acquired during studying these units can be applied cross curricular and in the wider context developing and building life-long learners

Year 9

 Pupils continue to build upon and learn new skills with specific units of work designed to expose pupils to a balanced curriculum.  Year 9 starts with exposure to other career pathways and makes it clear links with other subjects.  Pupils study a unit in Data Science where they understand the needs of data collection, analysis and the use technology to put context around data.   Last year we had PWC deliver lessons on Data Science to our Year 9 classes.  Pupils use their previously learnt knowledge and apply their skills in understanding how data carries meaning.  Pupils interrogate data provided to understand what makes a country rank high and think about what the most important aspects are when considering migration.

Year 9 Pupils are exposed to more in depth Computer Science and emerging technologies these include. Advance Computer Systems and Data Representation where Pupils are taught to understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits.   Pupils are then exposed to emerging technologies including Artificial Intelligence and are taught the Ethical Implications of the use of technology in the real world. With this unit pupils can evaluate the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems.

KS4 Overview

KS4 curriculum features has two distinct pathways.  These pathways give pupils an opportunity to study either AQA GCSE Computer Science course or OCR Cambridge National Information Technology to sufficient depths, allowing them to build a solid foundation to progress to higher levels of study or to a professional career.

GCSE Computer Science 

The course helps develop an interest in computing and gain confidence in computational thinking which is a transferable skill.  There are two written exams at the end of Year 11.  It is a solid foundation for students to progress on to Computer Science at A-Level and for those who are considering studying computing subjects at university.  Topics that covered in the curriculum include:

  1. Fundamentals of algorithms
  2. Programming
  3. Fundamentals of data representation
  4. Computer systems
  5. Fundamentals of computer networks
  6. Fundamentals of cyber security
  7. Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology, including issues of privacy
  8. Aspects of software development
  9. Programming project

Cambridge Nationals IT Level 1/ Level 2 J836

 The Cambridge National in IT qualification will inspire and equip learners with the confidence to use skills that are relevant to the IT sector and more widely. It covers the use of IT in the digital world, Internet of Everything, data manipulation, human-computer interface (HCI) and augmented reality.

The qualification will also help learners to develop skills that can be used in other life and work situations, such as:

  • Planning and designing IT solutions and products for a given purpose
  • Selecting the best tools and techniques to solve a problem
  • Solving problems by exploring different software application tools and techniques
  • Creating IT solutions and digital products
  • Use of planning techniques to complete tasks in an organised and timely way
  • Finding imaginative ways to solve IT problems.

This qualification will complement other learning that you are completing for GCSEs or vocational qualifications at Key Stage 4 and help to prepare you for further study.

For further details, please contact Ms Ali, Head of IT & Computer Science