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Computer Science


Pupils in an ICT suite

Aims

In Computing we develop innovative future leaders in the digital world who can use computational thinking to solve real world problems. We provide our students with the knowledge and tools to use technology responsibly, safely and ethically. We strive to ensure that the skills and foundations of IT systems help students in their future careers.

Staff and facilities

The department is staffed by two full time teachers and one part time teacher. There are three main computer suites which are part of the school wide network. Each suite has a set of large-screen computers, interactive whiteboard and colour printing facilities. Screen sharing software is used in all suites to ensure pupils can clearly see demonstrations.

Subject time per 10-day cycle

  • First and Second Year – two lessons plus homework
  • Third Year (optional) – three lessons plus homework
  • GCSE (optional) – five lessons plus homework

Class sizes

First and Second Year Computer Science is taught in form groups of around 25 pupils. In the Third Year and GCSE groups are usually kept to the maximum size of approximately 15 pupils.

Computer Science in the Lower School

In the first two years pupils develop a breadth of knowledge and skills across the three main content areas: Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy. They develop their Computer Science skills through units of work that develop programming and computational thinking. They learn about the key fundamentals of Computer Systems, Data Representation, Networking and Cyber Security. They also develop the digital literacy skills and knowledge required to be an effective, safe and discerning user of a range of computer systems. Throughout all units of work pupils develop knowledge and understanding of information technology by re-using digital artifacts to create digital projects and undertaking creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications.

In the Third Year there is more of an emphasis on pure Computer Science and pupils focus on their programming and computational thinking skills. Pupils develop the key fundamental knowledge and skills to understand topics such as Data Representation, Computer systems, Network and Cyber Security and the Impact of Computers. Pupils use a variety of desktop and web-based platforms to create, share and submit pieces of work.

Computer Science further up the school

If pupils choose the GCSE Computer Science they will be involved in developing a comprehensive understanding of how computers and networks operate.

On this course pupils will study how computers work, how to write programs and how data are represented and handled by applications. Pupils will have to design and write programs in the Python programming language.

Pupils will develop analytical and problem-solving skills and gain experience of meeting particular end-user requirements. The content is highly mathematical and requires a high level of logical reasoning.

Pupils learn about the ethics and laws governing computer use as well as cyber security and how binary numbers are used to represent sound and images. Pupils are expected to show their level of ability by completing a series of programming challenges. This helps to demonstrate their skills and resilience as a problem solver.

Can I do my homework at school?

Yes, whenever the Computer suites are open.

Pupils are also encouraged to use online platforms such as Frog or Google Classroom when working from home as it means their work is stored on our servers that are backed up each night. This removes the need for transporting important files on USB pen drives.

When can I use the computer?

Pupils have access to the computers whenever a member of staff is present. This means that break and lunch times can be used for consolidation, catch-up and exam preparation.

Clubs

There a lots of exciting competitions and clubs to attend. Competitions will run at different times in the year and will include Cyber Centurion, Bebra and Pi Wars. There are also clubs including Pygame Game Development, Micro bit and Animation Club.

Games

Our policy is that the network is provided for educational purposes only. Pupils are not allowed to play computer games on the school computers unless it is part of a class activity specified by a teacher.

Resources

Although pupils can access email and the school network via the internet, they are also able to access learning resources via Frog. This provides details of timetables, bulletin messages and homework assignments and forms a one-stop platform that contains useful information and resources. The school has also adopted ClickView which is a means of delivering video and audio content to pupils through the internet.