Curriculum Purpose and Impact
The computing curriculum encourages students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems.
The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.
Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content.
Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level that will prepare them for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
The curriculum is designed to enable students to
- understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- be able to evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- be responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology
The curriculum is in three strands: computer science; information technology and digital literacy.
The computer science strand promotes skills in computational thinking and programming, the Information Technology strand teaches students how devices work and how they relate to other technology and the Digital Literacy strand teaches students how to use a combination of software to create a product.
The Foundation Years
In Year 7 students start with a unit which introduces them to the systems we have in school, how to use their network space and Office 365 and most importantly E-safety.
During the course of the year they learn about the inner workings of a computer, how to program use a block language, an introduction to the Internet and web design as well as how computers as used to control physical systems in the real world.
Year 7 Units:
UNIT 7.1 Digital Citizens
UNIT 7.2 CNTRL
UNIT 7.3 Game Development
UNIT 7.4 What are computers?
UNIT 7.5 Web awareness & Html
UNIT 7.6 Using Media: promoting a cause
In Year 8 students start by looking at cryptography and encryption, relating it to the world around them as well as learning about the dangers of cyber crime. Students learn how to handle data as well as program in the text based language Python and deepen their understanding of computational thinking. Students will also learn how computers represent data such as images and sound.
Year 8 Units:
UNIT 8.1 Cryptography
UNIT 8.2 Data
UNIT 8.3 Python Magic
UNIT 8.4 Cyber Crime & Security
UNIT 8.5 Data Representation
UNIT 8.6 Graphics
In Year 9 students learn about computer networks and systems, understanding the difference between Hardware and software. They will also have opportunity to undertake creative projects which will give them an insight into the Creative iMedia course at KS4.
UNIT 9.1 Computational Thinking & Python
UNIT 9.2 Multimedia
UNIT 9.3 Networks
UNIT 9.4 Hardware/Software
UNIT 9.5 Technology for the Future
UNIT 9.6 IT for Life
GCSE COMPUTER SCIENCE
The OCR GCSE in Computer Science is engaging and practical, encouraging creativity and problem solving. It encourages students to develop their understanding and application of the core concepts in computer science. Students also analyse problems in computational terms and devise creative solutions by designing, writing, testing and evaluating programs.
The course is assessed through two exams, both 1 hr 30 in duration and calculators are not permitted, the content is as follows:
Component 01: Computer systems
Introduces students to the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, data representation, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with computer science.
Component 02: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming
Students apply knowledge and understanding gained in component 01. They develop skills and understanding in computational thinking: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic and translators.
Students are to be given the opportunity to undertake a programming task(s) during their course of study which allows them to develop their skills to design, write, test and refine programs using a high-level programming language. Students will be assessed on these skills during the written examinations, in particular component 02 (section B)
There are two mandatory units of pre-production and creating digital graphics which underpin the qualification and reflect key industry skills.
The pre-production skills unit is assessed through an examination and contributes 25% of the marks.
Unit R081: Pre-production skills
This first unit underpins the other learning in this qualification. Students will learn about how to plan pre-production effectively, including understanding of client requirements and reviewing pre-production briefs. They will use this knowledge in the optional units when they develop their own media products. This unit also provides excellent transferable skills such as project planning, which will be useful in a wide variety of contexts.
Unit R082: Creating digital graphics
Digital graphics are a key part of most digital products and this mandatory unit will help support the other optional units in the suite. Students will learn the basics of digital graphics editing for the creative and digital media sector, considering client requirements that they learnt about in R081.
Students need to complete 2 more units, these are internally assessed and externally moderated, from the following:
Unit R084: Storytelling with a comic strip
Unit R085: Creating a multipage website
Unit R086: Creating a digital animation
Unit R087: Creating interactive multimedia products
Unit R088: Creating a digital sound sequence
Unit R089: Creating a digital video
Unit R090: Digital photography
Unit R091: Designing a game concept
Unit R092: Developing digital games
OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma L3
The qualification aims to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills of the principles of IT and Global Information Systems. Students will gain an insight into the IT sector as they investigate the pace of technological change, IT infrastructure, the flow of information on a global scale, and the importance of legal and security considerations.
The qualification was designed in collaboration with experts spanning the breadth of the sector, they focus on the requirements that today’s universities and employers demand.
Students will practically apply their skills and knowledge in preparation for further study, apprenticeship or the workplace. They will also develop professional, personal and social skills through interaction with peers, stakeholders and clients, as well as theoretical knowledge and understanding to underpin these skills. These support the transferable skills required by universities and employers such as communication, problem solving, time management, research and analytical skills.
Students will study the Emerging Digital Technology Practitioner pathway.
This pathway focuses on the use and development of virtual and augmented reality and emerging technologies for application across a range of sectors, to include: mobile technology, digital marketing and the visualisation of Big Data.
Students will study a total of 5 units, with units 1 & 2 being mandatory.
Unit 1 Fundamentals of IT:
A sound understanding of IT technologies and practices is essential for IT professionals.
Information learnt in this unit will create a solid foundation in the fundamentals of hardware, networks, software, the ethical use of computers and how businesses use IT.
After completing this unit, the knowledge, skills and understanding your students have developed will underpin their study for the additional units.
Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare students for relevant industry qualifications such as CompTIA A+, CompTIA Mobility+ and Cisco IT Essentials.
Unit 2 Global Information:
The purpose of this unit is to demonstrate the uses of information in the public domain, globally, in the cloud and across the Internet, by individuals and organisations. Students will discover that good management of both data and information is essential and that it can give any organisation a competitive edge.
This unit will provide students with a greater understanding of how organisations use information sources both internally and externally and the types of information they will encounter. The skills gained by completing this unit will give them knowledge of the functionality of information and how data is stored and processed by organisations.
They will also learn about how individuals use information of various types. This unit will help students to understand the legislation and regulation governing information which flows in to and out of an organisation and the constraints and limitations that apply to it.
They’ll also learn the relationship between data and Information. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare students for relevant industry qualifications such as VM Ware.
Unit 5 Virtual and Augmented Reality:
Virtual Reality is a simulated environment that is intended to replicate the physical experience of being in places in the real or imagined worlds, by giving the user sensory experiences that match those which would be experienced were the user actually in that environment.
Augmented Reality is the process of changing the user’s view of the real world in order to give them an improved, or more detailed view of what they are seeing.
Students will learn about both technologies and how they are used. They will research both technologies and design both a Virtual and an Augmented Reality resource.
Finally, they will use their research skills learnt whilst designing and creating resources to suggest future applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality. This unit is mandatory to the Emerging Digital Technology Practitioner pathway due to its relevance as an emerging digital technology. The unit supports the development of skills, knowledge and understanding relevant to a job role in the areas of 3D modelling, digital transformation and even the film and games industry.
Unit 13 Social Media and Digital Marketing:
The use of social media has increased massively over recent years and is now a world-wide phenomenon. Users of social media are able to share ideas and files, compare opinions and pass comment on the activities of their friends and contacts. In doing so, they are not only generating huge amounts of data about themselves, but also allowing others the opportunity to contact them and monitor some of their online activities. Social media also allows users to collaborate with others across the globe.
Digital marketing is part of the overall process of marketing as is the use of digital media to increase awareness of a product or service. As social media offers such a wealth of data and the ability to contact potential customers in their own homes across a range of media channels, it is only natural that digital marketing seeks to use social media as part of the marketing mix for goods and services.
This unit looks at digital marketing as a concept and then offers your students the opportunity to explore the possible impacts, both positive and negative, that may be generated by the use of social media as a digital marketing tool.
Unit 16 Developing a Smarter Planet:
Changes in technology over the last century now mean that we live in a Smarter Planet. Students will consider how the evolution of technology has impacted on everyday life, and why the Smarter Planet is important for a global society. They will investigate the evolution of the Smarter Planet in a variety of contexts, including the impact it is having on society.
Students will consider potential Smarter Planet developments and put forward a business proposal for a Smarter Planet concept to potential stakeholders, revising the business proposal as necessary following their feedback. The technology used within this unit can have a major impact on the sustainability of the Smarter Planet. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare students for relevant industry qualifications such as Cisco IoE.
The Wider Curriculum:
The computer science department encourages students to pursue their interest and enthusiasm outside of the classroom.
Students use the facilities at lunchtimes with one day a week dedicated to a computer science club, during which students experiment with their programming skills and use real world devices to test their code.
Students have been involved in programming competitions, including a robotics competition at Brunel University.