Curriculum Overview from September 2018 onwards
Computers, ICT and technology play an important role in a student’s life, both in and out of the classroom. Ashlyns school prides itself on offering an open approach to using technology in a thoughtful and progressive manner. Through offering students the ability to use technology in all aspects of the curriculum, we aim to equip students for an increasingly online world.
Through their work in the Computer Science (CS) 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 around the building and there are clusters of computers elsewhere 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, etc.
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:
- E-safety and Using Computers Safely and Responsibly
- Introduction to Computer Science and Digital Literacy Skills
- Computer Hardware Fundamentals
- Programming Fundamentals using Python 3
- Computer Crime and Cyber Security
Year 8 builds on the work in Year 7 and students will learn the following:
- Web Design Technology
- Database Development
- Flowchart and Algorithm Design
- 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
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.
Board and Exam
OCR GCSE Computer Science
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.
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 and how they work, and will then 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 assessment worth 20% of the overall qualification and 2 exams each worth 40%.
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.
Key Stage 5
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 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.
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.
For more course information and resource details, please visit the RMUnify and Computer Science Class area.