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Department Curriculum Vision
The Computer Science department aims are to provide our pupils with the skills to produce high quality work and to promote problem solving techniques. We equip pupils with the skills required to deal with different forms of programming languages using computational thinking, control and monitoring, digital Literacy and hardware and software. Our policy is based on the National Curriculum guidelines and programmes of study, with the key aims to provide our pupils to with the necessary skills and business concepts for future learning and employment which are vital for building future learning and employment.
We take responsibility for educating pupils from all diversities and social backgrounds and ensures that our curriculum is accessible for all types of learners.
Aims of Department
· To equip all pupils regardless of background or needs with the digital literacy skills required for them to continue learning at school and beyond
· Promote and use a variety of approaches to engage all pupils, using emerging technologies and traditional teaching methods.
· Continue to build a solid foundation made of relevant knowledge and skills in Computing so pupils are prepared for a future where technology plays a role in all aspects of life.
· To promote Life-long learning and skills encouraging good global citizenship through online safety.
· To set high ambitions so pupils can look beyond the classroom and experience all aspects of the subjects including extra-curricular clubs both in and out of school.
· To use the National Curriculum as a basis of curriculum with attention to Literacy, Numeracy, PSHE in our teaching where applicable.
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 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, two forms of block-based programming are practised this includes a unit on Kodu Coding and LightBot. 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.
Skills, routines and exposure to various technologies in previous years 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, Photoshop, 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
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 clear links with other subjects. Pupils study a Business unit where they understand the needs of data collection, analysis and the use technology to build a brand. Pupils use their previously learnt knowledge and apply their skills in understanding a different subject producing various digital artefacts. Pupils re-use and re-purpose artefacts for a given audience whilst understanding the legal implications of Copyright and Data Protection.
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 curriculum features has two distinct pathways. These pathways give pupils an opportunity to study either AQA GCSE Computer Science course or Edexcel BTEC Digital 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
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
BTEC Digital Information Technology Level 2
The BTEC Tech Award allows learners to draw on the knowledge and skills acquired from other GCSE subjects such as Maths and English, giving them the opportunity to apply their academic knowledge to everyday and work contexts. The course covers four areas:
1. Development of key skills in digital information technology, such as project planning, designing and creating user interfaces, creating dashboards to present and interpret data
2. Effective ways of working in digital information technology, such as project planning, the iterative design process, cyber security, virtual teams, legal and ethical codes of conduct
3. Attitudes that are considered most important in digital information technology, including personal management and communication
4. Knowledge of how different user interfaces meet user needs, how organisations collect and use data to make decisions, virtual workplaces, cyber security and legal and ethical issues.
The BTEC complements the learning in GCSE programmes such as GCSE in Computer Science by broadening experience and skills participation in different type of performance activities with the opportunity to practically apply knowledge and skills, through project work such as developing ideas and performing for specific audiences. This includes project planning, data analysis and effective digital working practices.
For further details, please contact Ms Ali, Head of IT & Computer Science