Head of Department
Computing takes an in-depth look at how computers work, as well as focusing on how to make them work for us. The course covers a variety of topics including hardware and software, data representation and binary and programming. We use a variety of programming languages, with a focus on Python in the upper years.
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 3 Overview:
Key Stage 3 is taught in a carousel with drama and dance. Students study each subject for two terms before rotating around to the next subject.
Year 7 begins with a research and presentation project looking at internet safety and computer hardware. Students develop their skills finding relevant information using the internet which they then present using familiar office software. In term two, students are introduced to programming using a block-based language similar to Scratch but targeted at the BBC Micro:bit platform.
Year 8 builds on the skills learnt in Year 7 with students developing further programs for the Micro:bit. We also look at how computers store information as Binary, as well as how they carry out simple calculations.
In Year 9, students begin learning the Python programming language as well as developing a deeper understanding of how computers work with information.
Assessment at Key Stage 3:
Assessment at Key Stage 3 is primarily through classwork and homework, along with end of year examinations.
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4 Overview:
In Key Stage 4, students can choose to study the Pearson Computer Science GCSE course. This course covers a range of computing concepts, arranged into six topics:
- Problem Solving
- Communications and the internet
- The Bigger Picture
Years 10 and 11:
In Year 10 students develop their programming skills using the Python programming language, along with learning about how computers process information, how computer networks work and the impact of computing on the environment and society.
In Year 11, students work towards their practical controlled assessment and spend time deepening their knowledge of the topics covered in the previous year in preparation for their exam.
Assessment at Key Stage 4:
In Year 10 assessment is primarily through classwork and homework with students sitting pre-public examinations in the summer.
Year 11 students must complete a controlled assessment practical in which they must write a computer program that meets a set of requirements they are given as well as sitting a formal written exam
Key Stage 5
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Computing
Overview of the course:
The Computing BTEC consists of four units, two of which are externally examined and two which are coursework-based:
- Principles of Computer Science
- Fundamentals of Computer Systems
- IT Systems Security and Encryption
- Website Development
In the first year, students focus on developing programming skills using the Python programming language. The IT Systems Security and Encryption unit is completed as a practical project with students working with the technicians to install and configure a new computer system.
In Year 2, students produce a website designed to meet a set of given requirements as well as studying for the Fundamentals of Computer Systems unit.
Assessment is by written coursework for two units and external examination for two units.
Possible Career Paths:
Software Developer, IT Technician, IT Systems Engineer, Website Developer, Science Researcher, Robotics Engineer, Creative Media Professional.