Throughout Key stages 3, 4 and 5, it is the aim of the Computer Science Team to develop students’ understanding of current and emerging technologies, understanding of how they work, to apply this knowledge in a range of contexts and, importantly, keep themselves safe. Capability in IT supports students’ work in all other subjects.
The Student Toolkit
From day one in Year 7, students are given the tools they need to enhance their learning across the curriculum. This includes:
- Secure access to any one of the Academy’s 350+ workstations
- 100Mb personal storage space
- Access to network based resources
- Safeguarded access to the internet
- Access to the Academy’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
- Access to the Academy’s web based e-mail service
Computer Science is taught from Year 7 onwards. Students are also encouraged to use IT across all subjects. At Key Stage 4 Computer Science is also offered as an option subject, enabling students to achieve a GCSE in Computing. Students wishing to develop their skills further may take A-level Computer Science in the Sixth Form.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7 & 8)
From 2014/15 Computer Science will be taught as a mandatory subject from Year 7 to Year 9. This is a brand new curriculum and will encourage students to analyse and solve problems logically, as well as giving them a thorough understanding of computers and computing. Topics for Year 7 include:
- Think like a computer scientist
- Drawing and manipulating shapes
- Creating an animation
- The foundations of computing
- Web page creation from the ground up
- Designing for HCI
- Representing images
- Programming a quiz
Students are commonly set homework via the Academy’s virtual learning environment (FROG), which also allows for out-of-class learning and offers resources to extend and challenge students’ learning boundaries.
Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 & 11)
GCSE Computing course offers students a solid grounding in the technical application of computer science. Over the course of two years, students will:
- Acquire and apply a knowledge, some technical skills and an understanding of the use of algorithms in computer programs to solve problems using programming
- Use their knowledge and understanding of computer technology to become independent and discerning users of IT, able to make informed decisions about the use and be aware of the implications of different technologies
- Acquire and apply creative and technical skills, knowledge and understanding of IT in a range of contexts
- Develop computer programs to solve problems
- Develop the skills to work collaboratively
- Evaluate the effectiveness of computer programs/solutions and the impact of, and issues related to, the use of computer technology in society
Key Stage 5 (Years 12 & 13)
A-level Computer Science is offered in the sixth form. There is a focus on programming, building on the skills practised in GCSE Computing and emphasising the importance of computational thinking as a discipline, helping students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence.
Advice for Parents
In this age of social networking it is often assumed that everyone has access to the internet. There is no doubt that students gain immeasurably in their learning if they have access at home, but we are aware that this is not always the case. To accommodate students who are unable to complete homework/coursework at home due to the lack of internet access, IT facilities are often available during lunchtimes and after-school. Lack of a home PC or laptop does not, therefore, need to be a barrier to your child’s learning.
Curriculum Team Leader: Mr May.