Computer Science and IT
Computer Science and IT systems are at the heart of modern life. We aim to help students to think logically and use technology to solve a wide range of problems. We encourage all students to be creative with technology and be confident as both users and developers of software tools, including understanding how to stay safe in the connected digital world.
Computer Science and IT are instrumental in everything we do - from the vehicles we drive, to the movies and music that entertain us, to the ways businesses and governments operate and interact with us. Computer Science and IT are disciplines that offer rewarding and challenging career possibilities for a wide range of people regardless of their aptitudes and interests. We are lucky to be located in an area surrounded by tech companies. Studying Computer Science and IT may open up career opportunities for some but it will also help all of us better understand the constantly evolving world we live in.
Computer Science and IT are taught in four specialist IT suites, equipped with up-to-date hardware and software. As far as possible, the department uses open source packages that students can use at home for free or with their Edgbarrow Google account.
Here are the links to the free software packages we use:
|Python https://www.python.org/downloads/||Photopea https://www.photopea.com/ (Photo editing software similar to Adobe Photoshop)|
|RocketCake https://www.ambiera.com/rocketcake/ (Website creation software)||Adalo|
All software is downloaded at your own risk. Please use all software responsibly.
The aim of Computer Science and IT is to develop young people who are digitally literate, resilient and have problem-solving skills. Students will develop transferable skills to use across the curriculum, and in the wider world.
Key Stage 3
Students study Computer Science and IT for one hour per week in their form groups. Students will learn the difference between Computer Science and IT and will study units of each throughout their time in KS3. Where possible, we will use lesson topics to introduce various careers in the field of IT and Computer Science.
E-Safety and cyber security is a core part of each year and is addressed both within Computer Science and IT lessons and through whole-school events & PSHE.
Students study the fundamentals of Computer Science, including problem-solving skills, developing algorithms and writing block-based code. They also begin to develop an understanding of theory concepts such as cyber security and how data is represented in Computer Systems. Students also cover the core office skills and research skills that they will require in their other subjects, as well as increasing their awareness of e-safety.
While some students will have seen some skills or applications before, the emphasis is on the depth of understanding.
Year 8 builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in Year 7 with further coverage of e-safety and cyber security, as well as an introduction to some hardware and software theory. From a practical perspective, students will progress to text-based programming (Python), as well as creating their own logos and graphics using various software packages. Students will also have the opportunity to complete a project where they design and create their own computer game, developing project management skills.
Year 9 will provide an overview of both IT and CS at KS4 in preparation for options choices and study at GCSE level. Students will continue to develop their programming skills and creative talents through a variety of projects designed to help students decide which route they wish to follow at Key Stage 4, including studying web design and app design and gaining further experience of programming. Students will cover theory such as algorithms and problem-solving, as well as an introduction to ethics in Computer Science and IT.
The emphasis is on extended project work, bringing together a range of skills and tools for a specific business purpose. This will culminate in an end of year project where students will have input into the type of project they complete.
Students will follow national guidelines throughout Key Stage 3 to support and prepare them for their Key Stage 4 courses. The school operates a banding system of 1-9 (9 being the highest band). Students will be given a target based upon their Key Stage 2 scores and baseline assessments on arrival at Edgbarrow. The band they are awarded at the end of the Key Stage is intended to be indicative of the grade they may achieve at GCSE. Banding
Key Stage 4
GCSE Computer Science
Students can opt for GCSE Computer Science, which is part of the EBACC offering at Edgbarrow. The course is assessed through two written final exams at the end of Year 11, each of 90 minutes duration. The course offered is OCR GCSE Computer Science (J277) which is a new course with a further emphasis on Network Security and topical issues in Computer Science.
Further course details can be found here: https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/computer-science-j277-from-2020/
Component 1 - Computer Systems (written exam worth 50% of course marks):
Introduces students to the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, data representation, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with computer science.
Component 2 - Computational thinking, algorithms and programming (written exam worth 50% of course marks):
Students apply knowledge and understanding gained in component 1. They develop skills and understanding in computational thinking: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic and translators.
Practical Programming project:
As part of the course, students must undertake a practical programming task where students analyse a problem before subsequently proceeding to design, develop, test and evaluate a solution to this problem. Students complete this work in the Summer Term of Year 10.
Cambridge Nationals IT - Creative iMedia
As an alternative to Computer Science, students can study our Vocational iMedia course. We are currently planning for a change of specification for current Year 9 (Sept 2021), the details of which can be found below and more information will be provided prior to Options selection.
Current Specification for Students who start their GCSEs prior to September 2022
This focuses on using technology to create graphics and interactive digital products, including websites. It also looks at the pre-production skills which are required when completing a creative iMedia project. The course is largely based on three coursework units (graphics, interactive products and websites), although there is also an exam covering the pre-production skills e.g. project planning mood boards, visualisation diagrams, analysing designs, project management skills.
New Specification for Students in starting GCSEs in 2022 onwards
This focuses on learning practical, real-life situations, such as: developing visual identities for clients, planning and creating original digital graphics and digital media products.This will help you to develop independence and confidence in using skills that would be relevant to the IT & media industry.
The qualification will also help you to develop learning and skills that can be used in other life and work situations, such as: thinking about situations and deciding what is required to be successful, exploring different options and choosing the best way forward to a solve problem, exploring and generating original ideas to find imaginative solutions to problems, selecting the best tools and techniques to use to solve a problem, appropriate use of media to convey meaning and use of planning techniques to complete tasks in an organised and timely way.
The units of study in this new specification include:
● R093 Creative iMedia in the media industry (written examination - worth 60% of final grade).
● R094 Digital graphics (NEA coursework - worth 30% of final grade).
● R099 Digital games (NEA coursework worth 30% of final grade) or R097 Interactive digital media e.g Websites (NEA coursework worth 30% of final grade).
○ This unit will be decided depending on the cohort & software available.
Key Stage 5
This course is an ideal stepping stone to further study at university and complements A-Level mathematics and further mathematics. The focus is on understanding algorithms, including their efficiency and computability. Students explore these topics practically in a variety of ways and have the opportunity to put their understanding into practice through their Programming Project, a core part of the course.
The course is assessed through two written final exams at the end of Year 13, each of 150 minutes duration and worth 40% of the marks available and a Programming Project (NEA) worth 20% of the marks available. The course offered is OCR A Level Computer Science (H446). Further course details can be found here:
Component 1 - Computer Systems (written exam worth 40% of course marks):
Aims to provide students with a deeper knowledge of topics studied at GCSE level such as the characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices; Software and software development; Exchanging data; Data types, data structures and algorithms; Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues. There is an emphasis on databases and web technologies.
Component 2 - Computational thinking, algorithms and programming (written exam worth 40% of course marks):
Aims to provide students with a deeper knowledge of topics studied at GCSE level such as algorithms. Students seek to apply the knowledge and understanding gained in component 1. They develop skills and understanding in computational thinking; Problem solving and programming; Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms
Practical Programming project (NEA worth 20% of course marks):
As part of the course, students must undertake an extensive programming project, working independently to solve a real-world problem. The project involves analysis of the problem at hand; design of the solution; developing the solution; testing and evaluating the solution. Students are expected to use a test-driven approach and work with a real client. This work takes place between June of Y12 and February of Y13.s.
Level 3 IT (Cambridge Technical)
This course covers the skills required to pursue a career in the IT industry, with a focus on application development. Assessments are through assignment-based coursework and examinations. The assignments are continuous throughout the course with a variety of written reports, reflective journals, presentations, teacher observation, discussions and written tests. The courses both focus on the design and implementation of an organisation’s IT infrastructure together with the activities and roles that are carried out in the workplace, such as selecting hardware and software to meet client’s needs, and learning how to build, upgrade or install computer systems and networks that are safe and secure.
A wide range of centre assessed units with practical and wider project-based assessment opportunities, as well as examined units on the Fundamentals of IT, Global Information and Cyber Security has resulted in focused qualifications
Students may choose to study the Introductory Diploma or Diploma pathway for this course.
Introductory Diploma (1 A-Level Equivalent)
Student study 5 modules covering a range of topics including Fundamentals of IT & Application Development.
Diploma (2 A-Levels Equivalent)
Students study 11 modules covering a range of topics including Fundamentals of IT, Cyber Security, Application Development, Computer Game Prototyping, Internet of Everything and Social Media.
Introductory Diploma (1 A-Level Equivalent)
Student study 5 modules covering a range of topics including Fundamentals of IT & Application Development.
Diploma (2 A-Level Equivalent)
Student study 11 modules covering a range of topics including Fundamentals of IT, Cybersecurity, Application Development, Computer Game Prototyping, Internet of Everything and Social Media.
Level 2 IT (Cambridge Technical)
This is a vocational pathway for students who do not currently meet the entry requirements to study Level 3 qualifications. This is a one-year course that will provide you with a practical, real-world approach to learning which will include relevant work experience. This is a stand-alone package and cannot be combined with any other Level 3 course that we offer. This pathway is designed to provide you with progression into future Level 3 course, employment or apprenticeships.
Your programme of study is as follows:
- Cambridge Technical Certificate in IT
- Re-sit opportunities for GCSE English and Maths (if required)
- Extended Work Experience
- Enhanced tutorial
- Access to a range of enrichment opportunities
Assessments are through assignment-based coursework and by examinations. The assignments are continuous throughout the course with a variety of written reports, reflective journals, presentations, teacher observation, discussions and written tests.
|Year 12 (Lvl 2) Curriculum Assessment Plan|
As part of our homework programme, as well as being offered as a club, we encourage students to complete the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA). iDEA is a programme that helps pupils develop digital, enterprise and employability skills. It is completely free of charge. Through a series of online challenges, students can earn skill-based digital badges and work towards industry-recognised awards that help them stand out from the crowd.
Through participating in iDEA, students develop their digital literacy; gain an understanding of ICT & Computer Science topics such as Cyber Security, Coding, Computer Graphics; develop their literacy; develop a basic knowledge of money management & different aspects of business; and learn about topics that are particularly relevant to young people today such as Social Media Ethics and Fake News.
As with the Duke of Edinburgh Award (offered to students separately), it is offered at Bronze, Silver and Gold (September 2021) level. All students will also have a Record of Achievement which documents the digital badges they have earned and the skills they have developed – this may prove useful for CV’s and interviews.
We love being able to provide students with the opportunity to come together to work on new and exciting projects, meet new people and develop new skills. Throughout the year, a variety of clubs are offered ranging from an iDEA club to a touch typing club to Python Fridays.
We recently undertook a survey of KS3 students and in light of the findings we are currently working towards offering Minecraft and eSports clubs in the near future - watch this space!
For further information regarding our ICT Curriculum please contact:
Miss E Pilgrim - Head of ICT firstname.lastname@example.org
Miss A Mullane - Head of Computing - email@example.com