Computing

Curriculum rationale:

In Computer Science we aim to foster a love of learning and ignite an interest in computer science.  The curriculum is designed to challenge students to become more resourceful and resilient through developing their problem solving skills using a computational thinking framework.

The Computer Science curriculum has been designed and developed around the national curriculum and the six strands: Algorithms, Communication and Networks, Data and Data Representation, Hardware and Processing, Information Technology and Programming and Development.  The curriculum content has be adapted to make the content appealing to an audience of girls.  Each half term students learn the theory and practical skills that culminates in a creative project.  Each project introduces a new key concept or skill or builds upon prior knowledge and learning, for example, Year 8 programming loops in a text based programming language builds on Year 7 programming loops in a block based language.

Adaptations to the curriculum also include general information technology skills which are necessary for student’s future learning and employability.  We also include two digital art projects to encourage creativity, teach industry standard skills in Photoshop and Illustrator and to encourage students to reflect on alternative career opportunities in multimedia.

In addition to the projects, there are many opportunities for the students to test their knowledge through retrieval activities and end of topic key word tests.  These ‘low stakes’ tests give the students the opportunity to reflect on their knowledge and understanding of the topic and to identify gaps in their learning.  Prior knowledge and experience in Computer Science is very varied from primary school so all students start their three or five year computer science ‘journey’ at the same point.  The curriculum has been designed to then stretch the students, and for all students in computing there is an opportunity to advance their skills and build on their knowledge through independent study activities.

The KS3 curriculum is intended to adequately prepare student for and feed into the OCR Computer Science at KS4. Many key concepts from the GCSE specification are incorporated in the KS3 curriculum, for example Algorithms, which starts in Year 7 and is reiterated and expanding on throughout the five years so that students understand this critical element to the computational thinking process. 

 

Curriculum Design:

Our curriculum is carefully designed to take a structured approach to revisiting key skills and weaving in new learning with vocabulary from previous topics. Each unit has its own key knowledge organiser with the relevant vocabulary highlighted. This is modelled by teachers within daily diet of a lesson, tested in vocabulary tests and integrated into all activities.

 

Curriculum Plan:

 

RS 5 year curriculum plan

Half Term

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10 GCSE

Year 11

1

Fundamentals of computing

Cryptography

How computers work

Boolean Logic, data storage, designing and creating algorithms

Architecture of the CPU, compressions, embedded systems and secondary storage

2

E-Safety

Design a website in html

More Python Programming

Data types, computational thinking, programming fundamentals

Networks and topologies

3

BBC Micro:bits

Introduction to Python and the Raspberry Pi

Databases

Programming fundamentals, programming techniques

Wired and wireless networks, protocols and layers

4

Algorithms and Maze Game

Scratch game from Scratch - Planning

Networks and Communications

Ethical, logical and cultural impact, defensive design

Trial exam and theory revision

5

Maze Game

Scratch game from Scratch – Design

Photoshop

Testing, languages, IDE and searching and sorting algorithms

 

6

Women in Computing

Magazine Project

Design a website II

Practical programming skills

 

 

Curriculum Assessment:

In Key Stage Three students are assessed through half termly project work with a variety of evidence.  In addition to the projects, students have end of topic key word tests that enables individuals to reflect on and record gaps in their knowledge.

In Key Stage Four students complete end of topic tests derived from past paper questions.  In addition to the trial exam students will experience an additional trial exam through a modelled, teacher led paper.  Students also develop their coding skills through iterative projects, ensuring that all aspects of coding is covered.

Extra-curricular opportunities: 

We have several clubs that run after school – often suggested by the students themselves. These include:

Programming club – This is primarily for learning more about programming languages and from here we have entered several competitions for product design and robotics (We even have a rather nice Lego Trophy).

Cyber Security Champions – where we learn about Cyber Security and are in the process of creating ways of getting pupils to be more Cyber Secure. So far this has been by championing women in Cyber Security

We are always open to new suggestions too – a Micro:bit club would be good!