The department is staffed by 3 specialist teachers who deliver computer science and ICT lessons from KS3 to KS5. The classrooms are fully equipped with both up-to-date Windows PCs and also Raspberry Pi computers and microcontrollers used to teach students the basics in programming.
In Year 7, students learn the fundamentals of ICT and how to use computers effectively and safely. Topics include E-Safety, graphic design skills using Photoshop, how to use a variety of Office programs, and finally beginning to learn the basics of programming using the BBC micro:bit microcontroller.
In Year 8, students develop their knowledge of computer science and the basic principles of how modern technology works. The year begins with theory unit which covers topics such as the binary number system, the hardware and components of computers systems, basic networking technologies, and the difference between open and closed source software.
From here students develop the computer programming skills introduced at the end of Year 7. The aim is to cover the key concepts of computer science in a practical and hands on way, by using the physical computing abilities of the Raspberry Pi. Students will learn about concepts such as sequencing, selection and iteration, by connecting the Raspberry Pi computers to LEDs, motors and buttons to bring their programs to life. The unit will also incorporate the concept of creating music through code by using Sonic Pi, and introduce the idea of using APIs by writing programs to control and manipulate the game of Minecraft.
Optional. 3 hours per week in Y9 and 4 hours per week in Y10.
We deliver the new 9-1 specification OCR GCSE Computer Science at KS4. This course encourages and understand of fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation. The course also requires students to learn skills to allow them to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs. To succeed in this course, it is essential that students be able to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
This course is suitable to the practical learner who wants to create a range of products with different types of software. It is suited to a creative person who can come up with their own ideas for a specific scenario.
Unit 1: Understanding Computer Systems (Mandatory Unit)
This unit will help students learn how different ICT applications and how they can be used to meet different business needs. It will look at different types of computing devices and their uses and well as the software that they use. The unit also looks at how data is captured and the different security measures that can be used to protect this data. Finally, the unit will examine the legal and ethical issues that affect how people use computing devices.
Unit 2: Using ICT to create business solutions (Mandatory Unit)
This unit will enable learners to develop ICT skills that will equip them to operate effectively in a business environment. Learners will use a wide range of applications that are commonly used in the workplace, schools and in further and higher education. They will learn how to select the most appropriate software to complete tasks to meet specific needs. They will learn how to use software tools to handle data and communicate information for an intended audience. They will also develop skills in searching selecting and storing information for a range of contexts.
Unit 3: Handling data using spreadsheets
This unit will help the learner to process and present data into meaningful information that can be used to support the decision-making process in real life scenarios.
The learning is important because spreadsheets are used extensively in businesses or a variety of purposes such as budgeting, cost modelling, reporting, trend analysis and forecasting. Spreadsheets are very effective at performing automatic calculations e.g. for displaying information to highlight relationships, for predicting outcomes by changing data, for numerical analyses and to create informative graphs and charts. Learners will create a spreadsheet to provide a solution to a given scenario which will provide the facility for the user to create and manipulate data and to produce graphs and/or charts to support decision making.
Unit 6: Creating Digital Images
This unit will enable learners to acquire the underpinning knowledge and skills to enable them to create, edit, enhance and save different types of digital images. We live, learn, work and play in a very visual world. Whether we like it or not digital images influence our actions and thoughts – persuading us to buy one product instead of another, instructing us to go this way rather than that, explaining a complicated scientific concept and portraying an emotion or expressing a feeling using powerful digital art. With or without words successful digital images will convey their message effectively so that the viewer receives and understands it – and can then act upon it.
There are a range of enrichment opportunities running each week in the department.