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Computer Science

Curriculum Overview from September 2017

Department Overview

Computers, ICT and technology play an important role in a student’s life, both in and out of the classroom. Ashlyns School prides itself in offering an open approach to using technology in a thoughtful and progressive manner. We give students the opportunity to use technology in all aspects of the curriculum which will equip them for an increasingly online world.

Through their work in the Computer Science department, students are encouraged to develop informed, intelligent and confident attitudes to computers and technology, so that they will develop abilities which, as well as being of value in school, prepare them for their further education and careers. Cross-curricular links with Computing are strongly encouraged and many lessons in other subjects either take place in our shared Computing suites or in the departments themselves. The CS department has suites in different buildings and there are clusters of computers in the School. This arrangement enables departments throughout the school to share centralised resources, including the storage of students’ work, access to material prepared by staff, a wide range of software, access to the Internet and Study Site.

Key Stage 3

The CS department has developed a programme of study, which reflects the transition to computing in the new National Curriculum. The scheme of work is modern, challenging and takes into account recent developments and current affairs in the subject. It also provides a firm foundation for further study at GCSE and beyond in computing, allowing students to develop an understanding in the design and implementation of computer systems, and understanding the principles underlying these designs.

New topics, such as programming, give students the opportunity to express their creativity and test their problem-solving skills, as well as extend their learning independently by taking their work beyond the level of what is taught in the classroom.

Each year in Key Stage 3 students will study a number of distinct modules covering a variety of topics which will develop their technical understanding of computing. Students cover a wide-ranging programme of study, which further develops skills learned at primary school as well as introducing a range of new ones. Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of website development, spreadsheets, animation, the fundamentals of computing and a range of Office applications. Students will also be educated in the wider social aspects of the subject, including how to use the internet safely. The curriculum is continually evolving as new technologies become available.

Throughout Key Stage 3, students will develop practical ICT and computing skills as well as team-work, communication, problem-solving, presentation skills and the ability to reflect on and evaluate their own work and that of others.

In Year 7, students will study:

  • Introduction to Computer Science and Digital Literacy Skills
  • Programming Fundamentals I using Scratch
  • Fundamentals of Computer Technology
  • Programming Fundamentals II BBC Microbits
  • Introduction to Graphic Design and Creative Computing

Year 8 builds on the work in Year 7 and students will learn the following:

  • Flowchart and Algorithm Design
  • Website Development
  • Computer Systems

In Year 9, pupils are prepared for the Year 10 GCSE course by completing a set of projects which will allow them to acquire a range of skills and develop concepts including:

  • Biometrics and Security Aspects of Computing
  • Computer Algorithms and Programming Techniques
  • Programming Project (In Python 3)

Key Stage 4

During Year 9 the prior knowledge gained throughout Key Stage 3 is enhanced, further preparing students for the KS4 courses.

Students can choose one of the following courses based on their skills and interest:

  • OCR GCSE Computer Science
  • BCS Level 2 ECDL Certificate in IT Application Skills

KS4 Course 

Computing is of enormous importance to the economy, and the role of Computer Science as a discipline itself is growing rapidly. This qualification focuses on how a computer works and provides students with the opportunity to write computer programs to control the computer hardware. The qualification features two examined units and a controlled assessment unit focusing on programming skills.

Students are monitored and tracked to ensure progression and preparation to embark upon the GCSE course. There is a good balance of both practical and theory lessons taught.

Board and Exam
OCR GCSE Computer Science

The Course
Students will complete three units of work.

Paper 1 – Computer Systems
This unit covers the body of knowledge about computer systems on which one of the exams will be based. 

Paper 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programming
This second unit is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop their computational thinking, algorithms and programming skills and prepares them for their second exam unit.

Programming Project
The final unit will require students to create suitable algorithms which will provide a solution to a stated problem then code their solutions in a suitable programming language.

What skills students will develop
Students will develop their understanding of current and emerging technologies, understanding of how they work and apply this knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts.

How students are assessed
Students will be assessed in three units.  They will complete one non-exam assessments worth 20% of the overall qualification and 2 exams each worth the remaining 40%.

Homework
Homework is set once every week to consolidate the learning that occurs in the classroom and provides an opportunity for students to develop their independent skills.

Where does the course lead?
A student who studies computer science can go onto a career in programming, system development, software testing/engineering, computing, medicine, business, law, politics or any type of Science. The emphasis on this course is placed on computational thinking; this is the type of reasoning used by both humans and machines.

KS4 Course Option 2 (Available from September 2017)

The ‘BCS Level 2 ECDL Certificate in IT Application Skills’ qualification prepares students for a technological world in which ICT touches every part of our daily lives. This course is designed for young people who are looking to gain knowledge and skills of IT software applications to progress their learning in IT, or any subject where basic IT skills are required. This course will develop students’ practical ICT skills and extend their knowledge and understanding of ICT systems.
 
Students are monitored and tracked to ensure progression and preparation to embark upon the GCSE course. This course is mostly hands on and practical.

Board and Exam
BCS Level 2 ECDL Certificate in IT Application Skills

The Course
Students will complete four units of work, each worth 25% of the overall qualification including:

  • Word Processing Software
  • Spreadsheet Software
  • Presentation Software
  • Improving Productivity using IT

How students are assessed
Students will be assessed in five units using computer task-based Controlled Assessment for each unit. Students must pass all four mandatory units to be awarded the qualification.

Where does the course lead?
A student who studies BCS Level 2 ECDL Certificate in IT Application Skills can go onto more advanced study at AS/A Level, further and Higher Education courses in IT such as BSc Level 3 ECDL and most other subjects.  It also leads into work-based training or modern apprenticeship in office or similar environments, immediate employment at entry level in most sectors and careers such as Office Manager, Data Analyst, IT Helpdesk, Recruitment Officer and many more.

Key Stage 5 (From September 2017)

Students can choose one of the following courses based on their skills and interest at KS5:

  • OCR A-level Computer Science
  • BCS Level 3 Certificate in IT User Skills (ECDL Advanced)- ITQ

KS5 Course Option 

Board and Exam
OCR A-level Computer Science

The Course

The A-level Computer Science qualification is designed to allow students to demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental principles of computer science including abstraction, decomposition, encapsulation, polymorphism, algorithms and data representation.

This course will allow students to apply these principles whilst developing problem-solving abilities in a computing context, using an algorithmic and mathematical approach. Students will gain opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of programming, through a problem-solving scenario and to develop an understanding of the hardware and software of a computer.

This is designed to allow students to demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental principles of the subject whilst developing problem-solving abilities in a computing context, using an algorithmic approach. Students will gain opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of programming, through a problem-solving scenario, and to develop an understanding of the hardware and software of a computer. The qualification features two examined units and a non-exam assessment focusing on programming skills.

KS5 Course Option 2

Board and Exam
BCS Level 3 Certificate in IT User Skills (ECDL Advanced) – ITQ

The Course
BCS Level 3 Certificate in IT User Skills qualification is delivered over two years. The qualification has a broad appeal and develops students’ advanced IT user knowledge and skills they need to work productively in a managerial job role that requires the expert use of common IT software applications.

The course comprises five mandatory units which are assessed as practical exams. These exams are flexible and can take place on completion of each of the following units:

  • Word Processing Software
  • Spreadsheet Software
  • Presentation Software
  • Database Software
  • Improving Productivity Using IT

This course attracts 24 UCAS points and is suitable for anyone who wishes to gain an advanced level of understanding and capability in the use of IT applications in a broader range of tools, or a good underpinning of ICT skills to support other courses such as: Maths, Physics, Business, PE.  It is especially good for students who wish to pursue a career in IT/ICT. This qualification could also lead to managerial job roles including:  Office Manager, Data Analyst, IT Helpdesk Co-ordinator, Operations Manager, Printing Supervisor, Recruitment Officer, HR Support Analyst, Sales Executive and Security Consultant.

Extra-Curricular activities

We offer a variety of extra-curricular clubs to support students in their studies and to develop their computing and ICT skills, including homework club, computing and programming club and revision sessions.

Useful Links

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zvc9q6f
https://www.python.org/
http://www.learnpython.org/
http://www.codecademy.com/
http://www.w3schools.com/
http://code.org/learn
http://www.teach-ict.com
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zqmtsbk
http://www.homeworkelephant.co.uk/

For more course information and resource details, please visit the Portal/Classes/Computer Science area.