Computer Science underpins all aspects of our society. It surrounds us in our homes, places of work, schools, healthcare systems and travel. The study of how computer systems work and why they work is essential because although technology is changing constantly, the principles that future technologies are built on remain the same. The ability to think creatively to problem solve and to have the resilience not to give up is crucial both in school and in navigating an adult life in a world built on a foundation of technology. The intent of our curriculum is implemented through the delivery of a high-quality lessons which places developing the concepts of computing at the forefront of planning. Each scheme of work is underpinned by a deep understanding of these computational concepts and how they relate to the real world.
Mrs R Hough – Subject Learning Leader: Computing and IT.
Mrs L Webb - Teacher of Years 7 and 8 Computing, GCSE Computing
Mrs J Langdon – Teacher of Years 7 Computing
Years 7 and 8
Students study Computer Science once a week. In Year 7, students begin by developing their skills in basic IT working cross-platform with both Google and Microsoft. They are encouraged to use online tools to work collaboratively with their peers outside of lessons helping them understand how they can express themselves positively. Students then progress to mirror content from Cambridge Nationals in IT and GCSE Computer Science learning about system architecture and memory and storage before moving onto the representation of data where they work towards being able to read and write in binary. They also have their first introductions to using spreadsheets and programming with a focus on computational thinking. In Year 8 students continue to mirror Cambridge Nationals in IT and GCSE Computer Science learning about changing and immersive technology which leads them to create their own Augmented Reality prototype. They then expand on their programming knowledge learnt in year 7 being introduced to text based programming with Python and learning how Artificial Intelligence is advancing. They finish year 8 learning about computer networks and network security, considering how and why hackers do what they do.
GCSE Computer Science
In year 9 students build on the foundations made in years 7 and 8 working through all content that applies to the first component of their qualification; Computer systems. This includes System architecture, Memory and storage, Networks, Network security and Software. At the end of year 9 they are able to revisit their programming skills in Python, beginning to solve problems themselves using the skills they have then acquired. Year 10 builds on this further allowing time to revisit content from year 9 in addition to deepening their knowledge of text based programming. They will learn about higher level programming skills such as working with subroutines, arrays and files and will increase confidence when working iteratively. They will also learn the theory that underpins their second component; Computational thinking, algorithms and programming learning about how to make programs robust and how Boolean logic is used to program computer systems.
In year 11 students consolidate all they have learnt over the past four years. They spend the year continuing to progress their text based programming skills and refining both the knowledge and skill to tackle the GCSE effectively.
Cambridge Nationals in IT
In year 9 students build on the foundations made in years 7 and 8 working through the theoretical content that will enable success in their first unit of coursework. They will revisit their practical Augmented Reality skills learnt in year 8 and build on these preparing for their first unit of coursework; RO70 Using Augmented Reality to present information. By the end of year 9 students will have completed this unit of coursework worth 30% of their final qualification. Year 10 allows students to revisit their practical Spreadsheet skills learnt in year 7 and build on these preparing for their second unit of coursework; RO60 Data manipulation using Spreadsheets. This is completed during year 10 equating to another 30% of their overall qualification.
In year 11 students learn the content needed for their final exam; IT in the digital world, worth 40%. As part of this they will deepen their knowledge of Human Computer Interfaces, digital devices and methods of interacting. They will revisit content relating to network security and consider current advances in technology such as AI. They will then refine their design and testing skills learnt during both units of coursework to apply to the scenarios put forward in the exam.
In all years, students are given an ACT Now starter task every lesson which will assess their retrieval skills for content they have learnt in previous lessons. This not only links to learning from the lesson before but could tie in with something learnt the previous term or even year. This helps to fully embed learning and ensures that any misconceptions in learning are dealt with.
In years 7 and 8 most lessons end with a self-marking quiz relating to learning from each lesson and topic. In practical lessons, students are marked using a set of criteria relevant to the skills and project they have been set. The same is true for GCSE Computing lessons in addition to regular written assessments which are marked by the teacher. In Cambridge Nationals in IT students spend a lot of year 9 and 10 being assessed on the practical skills needed for each of their 2x NEA assessments (each worth 30% of overall qualification). In year 11 they move to mirror the same style of assessment mentioned above with self-marking quizzes and regular written assessments which are marked by the teacher.
All assessment incorporates time for students to REACT. This might mean addressing misconceptions, gaps in learning, refining knowledge or refining the application of knowledge. Classwork is assessed through verbal feedback in the weekly lessons and formative assessment, which may be in a variety of formats; self and peer marking, self-marking quizzes and group and class discussions. GCSE lessons heavily focus all forms of assessment in improving students use of key vocabulary in exam questions in addition to exam technique.
In years 7 and 8 student reports provide a percentage grade for attainment. A student achieving excellent is achieving above 80% in their assessments. A student achieving this could expect to be performing at a grade 7 and above in their GCSE qualifications. Students awarded a good on their report are achieving between 40% and 80% in their assessments and could expect to be a grade 4 and above in their GCSE qualifications. Students awarded developing on their report are typically achieving between 20% and 40% in their assessments and could expect to achieve a grade 2 or 3 in their GCSE qualifications.
Cambridge Nationals in IT does not report in GCSE grades 1-9 but instead reports using the criteria L1 pass, L1 merit, L1 distinction, L2 pass, L2 merit, L2 distinction. These can be translated to the following grades for GCSE’s (rounding down where there is a floating point).
Table displaying grade and points
Homework in years 7 and 8 takes place four times over each school term and is directly linked to the learning that has been taken place during that term. Tasks set will usually take up to twenty minutes to complete. Example tasks include independently researching and presenting information, watching video clips or playing games and completing an online feedback form and learning through a platform called Seneca, used at GCSE. Please note year 7 are exempt from homework for the first half term.
Homework for Cambridge Nationals in IT and GCSE Computing take place every week. Tasks set will take up to half an hour to complete and will be directly relevant to what is happening in the classroom, as a supportive measure to develop subject knowledge or to prevent misconceptions from occurring. Example tasks include exam content from the platforms Seneca, GCSE Pod and Cambridge Boost, answering exam questions and correcting them and developing practical skills on Python, XR+ or Microsoft Excel.
Enrichment & Extra Curricular
It is anticipated that a new club will start just after the October half term. Your child will be told about this when it is ready to launch. Previous clubs have included coding Microbits, creating apps, designing websites and extending learning which has taken place in lessons eg: taking part a computer and putting it back together again
Each year a selection of students are invited to take place in some Masterclass sessions hosted by the Exeter Maths School. Additional to this, when opportunities for competitions are made available to us, we make sure this is promoted to students and the Computer suites are open to support any who want to take part.