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Computer Science

Why we teach Computer Science

Computer Science encompasses what we used to teach as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as computational thinking skills and digital literacy.  Also included is the effect of changing technology on society and keeping safe while using technology, especially on-line.

We aim to enable pupils to use technology safely and competently in the workplace, in their daily lives and to assist in their learning.

Skills learned include how to use everyday software packages such as word processing and spreadsheets in an efficient manner to solve problems.  Computational thinking teaches pupils to think logically and to sequence components of a problem in order to solve it.  We teach pupils that these skills can be applied to other problems, both in other school subjects and in real-life.

Knowledge learned includes the history of computing including its relevance to the development of modern society and its contributions to other fields.  Pupils learn about how computer systems work, including hardware and software, and how embedded systems pervade their everyday lives.  This learning helps pupils to see the potential careers for them and how their learning can be applied in the world of work.  Good practice in the use of technology also includes learning about the laws relating to its use.

Understanding how technology can be used, both for good and for bad, enables pupils to critically review their own interactions with technology and other users.  Pupils will be able to take steps to protect their identity on-line and interact with other people in a safe manner, knowing what actions to take if they have concerns about the safety of themselves or others.

In Key Stage 4 pupils choose one of two paths – either to take the study of computer science further as a GCSE subject or to follow our core provision, taught through cross-curricular links and a series of collapsed sessions.

By the end of Key Stage 4 we aim to have enabled all pupils to possess the basic skills that will enable them to function in the modern digital environments they will encounter in life, as well as the capacity to positively engage with future developments we cannot yet foresee.

KS3 Computer Science

Overview of content

Over the course of years 7 and 8 pupils will learn how to safely use new technologies including social media, internet web pages and computer systems. Pupils will improve their coding skills using Scratch and look at the basics of computer systems. They will also learn the basics of some Microsoft office programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Over the course of year 9 pupils will learn how to safely use new technologies including social media, internet web pages and computer systems. Pupils will improve their coding skills using Scratch and extend their programming skills using Python. They will also look at the basics of computer systems and they will learn the basics of some Microsoft office programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Yr 7 Programme of Study

Half term

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

Autumn - 1

Initial assessments

Introduction to algorithms

End of topic online assessment

Autumn - 2

Scratch programming + Bebras Challenge + Hour of code

Review of completed programs

Spring - 1

Safe and efficient use of social media and the internet

End of topic online assessment

Spring - 2

Microsoft Office:

Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, Excel

Review of completed office documents

Summer - 1

Computers – under the hood

Binary

Images and pixels

End of topic online assessment

Summer - 2

Extended Scratch programming project

Review of completed project

Yr 8 Programme of Study

Half term

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

Autumn - 1

Safe and efficient use of social media and the internet

End of topic online assessment

Autumn - 2

Scratch programming + Bebras Challenge + Hour of code

Review of completed programs

Spring - 1

Microsoft Office:

Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, Excel

Review of completed documents

Spring - 2

Internet of things,

binary

Computer hardware

Online assessment

Summer - 1

Introduction to Python

Online assessment

Summer - 2

Python programming project – adventure game

Review of completed project

Yr 9 Programme of Study

Half term

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

Autumn - 1

Safe and efficient use of social media and the internet

Flowcharts and algorithms

End of topic online assessment

Autumn - 2

Scratch programming + Bebras Challenge + Hour of code

Review of completed programs

Spring - 1

Artificial Intelligence

Python programming

Review of completed programs

Spring - 2

Microsoft Office:

Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, Excel

Review of completed documents

Summer - 1

Boolean, binary and searching and sorting algorithms

Online assessment

Summer - 2

Python or Scratch programming project

Review of completed project

KS3 Homework

Homework will be set weekly and may be in the form of an online quiz, some research or work on a coding challenge.

KS3 Learning outside the classroom

There are many fantastic computing websites which pupils could use to improve their understanding of the subject. One excellent site is https://codecombat.com/ which encourages coding through games. Pupils can also practise their Scratch programming at https://scratch.mit.edu/ . Some simple turtle drawing can be found on https://turtleacademy.com.

KS3 Parental support and extension

To extend pupils knowledge of programming in Python parents can download Python from this website https://www.python.org/downloads/. Pupils will then be able to use the included IDLE editor to write and test Python programs.

A visit to the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge (The Centre for Computing History - Computer and Video Game Museum - Cambridge) or the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park are also excellent ways to enhance the pupils’ learning.

KS4 Computer Science

AQA GCSE Computer Science (8525)

Overview of content

In Computer Science we aim to teach pupils an understanding of how computers work, from the functioning of the major hardware components, through computational thinking concepts and into using coding to write programs that perform specific functions.  We also teach about the role of computers and technology in the world of work and in society, including how they have changed our world, and how to ensure that they keep themselves safe.

Programme of Study

Year

Half term

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

10

Autumn - 1

Theory: Data types, binary numbers and addition, real world computing, reliability, environmental issues.

Practical: Introduction to python, maths and string operations, selection, iteration (FOR and WHILE).

Weekly homework tasks, some of which will be coding.  Pupils can download python for free at home (available for PC and Mac).

Quick quizzes in class.

Autumn - 2

Theory: Legal considerations, algorithms, flowcharts, intro to pseudocode.

Practical: consolidation of python through a series of challenges

Weekly homework tasks, some of which will be coding.  Pupils can download python for free at home (available for PC and Mac).

Quick quizzes in class.

Spring - 1

Theory: Structure charts, software development cycle

Practical: use of functions and procedures for efficient coding

Weekly homework tasks, some of which will be coding.  Pupils can download python for free at home (available for PC and Mac).

Quick quizzes in class.

Spring - 2

Theory: More on pseudocode and algorithms, hexadecimal and ASCII

Practical: embedding more complex maths operations, coding of complex solutions using functions and procedures

Weekly homework tasks, some of which will be coding.  Pupils can download python for free at home (available for PC and Mac).

Quick quizzes in class.

Summer - 1

Theory: Sound and image representation, dictionaries

Practical: External codes sources and their uses, databases

Weekly homework tasks, some of which will be coding.  Pupils can download python for free at home (available for PC and Mac).

Quick quizzes in class.

Summer - 2

Theory: Testing, types of testing

Practical: use of text files as data stores (read/write)

Weekly homework tasks, some of which will be coding.  Pupils can download python for free at home (available for PC and Mac).

Quick quizzes in class.

Year 10 exam (date tbc)

11*

Please note this year 11

(2021-22) is different, due to Covid lockdowns.

Autumn - 1

Theory: ordering (sorting) and arrays, validation, error handling, structure charts, flowcharts, pseudocode, revision of topics covered in year 10

Practical: consolidation of programming skills in python

Weekly homework tasks related to the in-class learning.

Quick quizzes in class.

Autumn - 2

Theory: revision of topics covered in year 10

Practical: building larger programs using functions and procedures, text files etc.

All material covered in year 10 and up to this point may be included in the mock GCSE exam in November.

Spring - 1

Theory: Computer structure and components: CPU, memory.  Networks – types and protocols. Client-server relationships.

Weekly homework tasks related to the in-class learning.

Quick quizzes in class.

Spring - 2

Theory: web applications, databases, external code sources, logic gates.

Weekly homework tasks related to the in-class learning.  These are likely to be old exam questions in order to practise answering.

Quick quizzes in class.

Summer - 1

Consolidation of all topics of the syllabus, exam technique

Weekly homework tasks related to the in-class learning.  These are likely to be old exam questions in order to practise answering.

Quick quizzes in class.

Summer - 2

Period of Formal Examinations

 

Homework

We aim to set weekly homework tasks.  These may be in the style of question-answer, or the completion of research prior to a lesson on a specific topic, or a practical programming task.  Our programming (coding) is undertaken in python, a free piece of software available for pupils to download at home: Download Python | Python.org.

While the homework may be an hour of set work, we expect pupils to be exploring the world of coding for themselves as well.  Regular practice of python coding will very strongly assist your child in their learning of computer science; coding can be likened to throwing and catching a ball when younger – we all ‘drop the ball’ (make coding mistakes) but we need to become resilient and try throwing again (find the error and fix it).  The more pupils practise, the better they become at coding.

How it is assessed

Computer Science is assessed by means of two written exams sat at the end of the course.

Each paper is 1 hour and 30 minutes long.

Each paper is worth half of the total marks for the course.

Learning outside the classroom

Pupils learn best by practising their skills; please encourage them to download python and ‘fiddle’ with it.  In this way they learn resilience, as well as lots of skills related to the coding itself.

Parental support and extension

Please encourage your child to complete all their homework, as this is an integral part of the learning.

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