Computing and ICT

Computing is taught as a discrete subject at KS3 in year 7 and 8. Where they follow a detailed scheme of work linked to the current Computing Programme of Study.  Computing is concerned with how computers and computer systems work, how they are designed and programmed, how to apply computational thinking and how to make the best of information technology.  We aim to give pupils a broad education that encourages creativity and equips them with the knowledge and skills to understand and change the world.

There are three distinct strands within computing which are complementary to each other: computer science, information technology and digital literacy.  Each component is essential in preparing pupils to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

E-Safety is also very important to us and is something that we revisit regularly with students.  Technology offers unimaginable opportunities and is constantly evolving.  Access is currently becoming universal and increasingly mobile and pupils are using technology at an ever earlier age.  Because of this we are committed to delivering an age appropriate curriculum that enables our students to become responsible digital citizens who are aware of the dangers online and know what to do if they encounter this.

At KS4 students are also offered the option of studying Computer Science GCSE, more information on these qualifications can be found by following the links above.

At KS5 student are currently studying, the BTEC Level 3 course in IT or the A Level in Computer Science. 

The Computing department are passionate about helping students to reach their potential and our KS4 success within the school reflects this. We set ourselves very high targets within the school and have always achieved a very high success rate A*-C in all our courses. 

We are a department that is continually involved in developing our area of this very successful school. The school has two main networks - one for curriculum use, one for administrative purposes.  The curriculum network has over 500 connected stations.  There are 7 suites of 32 stations and 7 suites with 20 stations.  There are also machines in Learning Support and the Library.  We have an RM Connect 4 network and all stations have internet access making use of the Hertfordshire Grid broadband link and run Microsoft Office 2010 suite (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher) as well as Adobe Master Collection CS6 and an abundance of specialist curriculum software.  Every computer is connected to a MFD which are positioned strategically around the school and all classrooms throughout the school have a projector and interactive whiteboard. 

Art and Media also have specialist ICT equipment that they utilise.  There is a rolling programme of upgrade and expansion on the network.  All the ICT suites are well used both by the ICT & Computing department for delivery of specialist lessons and by other curriculum areas to deliver the cross-curricular ICT programme.

Year 7

Year 7 students start off the year with lessons based on organising files and folders followed by the unit on E-Safety in the first term. They will then go on to start working on Unit 2 How Computers Work? This unit will be done in the second term.

In the second term Students will be learning about how the computer works. They will learn about hardware such as input and output devices and different types of software including the operating system. Students will also learn about binary and have the opportunity to convert binary to denary and vice versa.

In the final term, students will be completing a project on raising awareness for a charity that helps people in Africa by creating a presentation. This final Unit will involve following the stages of planning, design, implementation, testing and evaluation. The students will learn advance presentation skills such as slide master, audio, hyperlinks, QR code, animation and transitions.

Year 8

In year 8, students cover 4 different Units throughout the year. In the first half term they work on Unit 1 – Microbit, Unit 2 – Staying Safe.  In the second term Unit 3 – Python quiz. Finally in the last term they do Unit 4 – Exercise and Wellbeing Model.

Term One – Students will learn to use and program the BBC Microbit using Python programming language. They will be able to display text and create animations on the Microbit. The students will make a start on the second unit and continue this on during term two. They will be looking at how to stay safe online including how to report any concerns from using online services and digital technology.

Term two – During this term students will be completing the Staying Safe unit. They will then move onto Unit 3 Python quiz, students will be learning to write the code using Python language for an interactive quiz. They will learn to display text, images, concatenate strings and integers as well as write IF statements.


Term three – In this term students will be required to use a spreadsheet model, to change variables, create formulas, create charts and use goal seek to find answers to What if scenarios about exercise and nutrition.

GCSE Computer Science

In Year 9 and Year 11 students are given the option to study GCSE Computer Science.  This course will give students an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. Students will no doubt be familiar with the use of computers and other related technology from their other subjects and elsewhere. However, this course will give them an insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, including computer programming, which many students find absorbing.

This GCSE provides excellent preparation for higher study and employment in the field of Computer Science. The increasing importance of information technologies means there will be a growing demand for professionals who are qualified in this area. Learners who’ve taken a GCSE in Computer Science and who then progress to study the subject at A Level or university will have an advantage over their colleagues who are picking up the subject at these levels.

This course will develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming. For many learners, it’ll be a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-today life. In this respect, the course will make an excellent preparation for learners who want to study or work in areas that rely on these skills, especially where they are applied to technical problems. These areas include engineering, financial and resource management, science and medicine.

There are three Units to the GCSE Course:


•Component 1 – Computer Systems - Written Examination
•Component 2 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming – Written Examination
•Component 3 - Programming Project

The written exam is designed to test students’ understanding of various topics related to computer science.

Component 1 -The specification splits the topics into the following sections:

• 1.1 – Systems Architecture
• 1.2 - Memory
• 1.3 -Storage
• 1.4 – Wired and wireless networks
• 1.5 – Network topologies, protocols and layers
• 1.6 - System security
• 1.7 – Systems software
• 1.8 – Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

This is then tested in an exam that lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Component 2 - This component incorporates and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in Component 01, encouraging learners to apply this knowledge and understanding using computational thinking. Learners will be introduced to algorithms and programming, learning about programming techniques, how to produce robust programs, computational logic, translators and facilities of computing languages and data representation. Learners will become familiar with computing related mathematics.

This is also tested in an exam that lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes

Component 3 -  OCR will issue three assessment tasks at the start of  the terminal academic  year of assessment. Only tasks designated for that examination series can be submitted unless carrying forward marks from a previous year. The tasks will provide opportunities for the learners to demonstrate their practical ability in the skills outlined in the specification.

Learners will need to create suitable algorithms which will provide a solution to the problems identified in the task. They will then code their solutions in a suitable programming language. The solutions must be tested at each stage to ensure they solve the stated problem and learners must use a suitable test plan with appropriate test data.

The code must be suitably annotated to describe the process. Test results should be annotated to show how these relate to the code, the test plan and the original problem.

 

Level 2 Certificate in Digital Applications (CIDA)

Level 2 Certificate in Digital Applications (CIDA)

Course Structure

The CIDA is made up of two units:

  • one externally assessed unit comprising a practical exam set and marked by Pearson (25%)
  • one internally assessed, externally moderated unit (75%); the centre should select one from the three options available.

The Summative Project is the means by which students create a synoptic piece of work. There is one Summative Project for each unit, each based on a brief. Summative Project Briefs are set by Pearson, administered and marked by the centre, and moderated by Pearson.

Unit Mandatory Unit GLH Weighting Assessment
1 Developing Web Products 30 25% Practical examination, 2.5 hours
Unit

Optional units

(Students must complete one of the three optional units)

GLH Weighting Assessment
2 Creative Multimedia 90 75% Summative Project Brief (SPB) Internally assessed / externally moderated

Unit 1 Developing Web Products

This is a practical examined unit. It acknowledges the increasingly significant role of the world wide web in everyday life and develops the skills and knowledge needed to produce effective web authoring and  evaluation skills.

This unit is allocated 30 GLH.

Aim of the unit

Students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • design
  • build
  • test a web product.

Students will be given a client brief set by Edexcel. The client brief includes an introduction to the business/organisation.

The examination is made up of one task divided into two activities.

The task section in the exam paper gives an overview of what is required by the student.

Students will:

  • design and create a website or microsite [note: a microsite is a website, distinct and separate from an organisation’s main site, that delivers more focused, relevant content about a specific topic, or to a targeted audience, or even just requiring a defined action]
  • create a page template to ensure consistency
  • include the requirements specified in the client brief
  • create a logical folder structure for the site files.

Activity 1

In Activity 1, students will design, build and test their website/microsite.

Activity 2

In Activity 2, students are required to complete an evaluation in order to justify their design decisions, the choices they made and to suggest further improvements. The evaluation form will be supplied by Edexcel.

Unit 2 Creative Multimedia

Aim

Students will plan, design, build and test interactive multimedia products through work on a major project set by Edexcel. This will include the development of an e-portfolio that exhibits achievements and is in itself an effective multimedia product.

How students will be assessed:

Assessment consists of five strands, with a total of 33 marks:

a Design multimedia products (7 marks)
b Collect, edit and create digital assets (5 marks)
c Develop multimedia products (9 marks)
d Present evidence in an e-portfolio (7 marks)
e Review the products (5 marks).

  • Strand (a) requires explicit detailed designs with justification of decisions and descriptions of assets. Marks can only be awarded if evidence is present; this cannot be inferred.
  • Strand (b) focuses on the gathering and preparation of assets for use in the products. Students must prepare files to suit the intended purpose. They must also have appropriate software available.
  • Strand (c) focuses on demonstrating awareness of audience and purpose by developing a set of products that meet requirements. Prototyping and testing are inferred from the quality of the outcomes.
  • Strand (d) requires the production of a multimedia e-portfolio using assets and explanations that are appropriate for the audience, namely an assessor and moderator. Prototyping and testing are inferred from the quality of the product.
  • Students must prepare files to suit the recommended size restriction of the project. This can be found in the ‘portfolio’ section of the SPB. Any redundant files such as unedited audio files and pre-published files do not need to be included.
  • Strand (e) requires a realistic evaluation of the products with consideration of feedback from reviewers. There is no requirement for explicit comments on the student’s own performance.

 

BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Digital Information Technology

BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Digital Information Technology

 

Who is the qualification for?

The Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Digital Information Technology, is for learners who wish to acquire knowledge and technical skills through vocational contexts by studying the knowledge, understanding and skills related to data management, data interpretation, data presentation and data protection as part of their Key Stage 4 learning. This builds on the learning that has already taken place at Key Stage 3.

The qualification recognises the value of learning skills, knowledge and vocational attributes to complement GCSEs. The qualification will broaden learners’ experience and understanding of the varied progression options available to them.

 

What does the qualification cover?

The Award gives learners the opportunity to develop sector-specific knowledge and skills in a practical learning environment, including:

  • development of key skills that prove their aptitude in digital information technology, such as project planning, designing and creating user interfaces, creating dashboards to present and interpret data
  • processes that underpin effective ways of working, such as project planning, the iterative design process, cyber security, virtual teams, legal and ethical codes of conduct
  • Knowledge that underpins effective use of skills, processes and attitudes in the sector, such as how different user interfaces meet user needs, how organisations collect and use data to make decisions, virtual workplaces, cyber security and legal and ethical issues.

 

The Award complements learning in GCSE programmes, such as the GCSE in Computer Science, by broadening experience and skills participation in different type of activities. It gives learners the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills practically through project work, such as planning and designing a user interface and developing a dashboard to interpret trends in data.

 

What can the qualification lead to?

Study of the qualification as part of Key Stage 4 learning will help learners to make more informed choices for further learning either generally or in this sector. The choices that learners can make post-16 will depend on their overall level of attainment and their performance in the qualification.

Learners who generally achieve at Level 2 across their Key Stage 4 learning might consider progression to:

  • A Levels as preparation for entry to higher education in a range of subjects
  • Study of a vocational qualification at Level 3, such as a BTEC National in IT, which prepares learners to enter employment or apprenticeships, or to move on to higher education by studying a degree in the digital sector.

 

Learners who generally achieve at Level 1 across their Key Stage 4 learning might consider progression to:

  • Study at Level 2 post-16 in a range of technical routes designed to lead to work, progression to employment, apprenticeships or to further study at Level 3. For these learners, the attitudes and the reflective and communication skills covered in the qualification will help them achieve
  • Study of a Technical Certificate in IT Support or Digital Technology post-16. Learners who perform well in this qualification compared to their overall performance should strongly consider this progression route which can lead to employment in the digital sector.

A level Computer Science

Course Description


Computer Science is a practical subject where learners can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems.

It is an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, and can look at the natural world through a digital prism.  An A Level in Computer Science will value computational thinking, helping learners to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.

Learners will develop an ability to analyse, critically evaluate and make decisions.  The project approach is a vital component of ‘post-school’ life and is of particular relevance to Further Education, Higher Education and the workplace.  Each learner is able to tailor their project to fit their individual needs, choices and aspirations.

Aims and Learning Outcomes


The aims of this qualification are to enable learners to develop:

  • An understanding of, and ability to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science including; abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • The ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems including writing programs to do so
  • The capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • The capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science
  • Mathematical skills
  • The ability to articulate the individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural opportunities and risks of digital technology

Course Outline


AS


If you take the AS Computer Science course you will sit two exams at the end of year 12.  These exams will cover two components

Component 01 – Computing Principles which will cover the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture and other areas including the following:


• Operating systems
• Introduction to programming 
• Data types, structures and algorithms
• Exchanging data and web technologies
• Using Boolean algebra
• Legal and ethical issues


Component 02 – Algorithms and Problem Solving Where there’ll be a short scenario/task contained in the paper, which could be an algorithm or a text page-based task, which will involve problem solving. Other areas covered include the following:


• Elements of computational thinking
• Programming techniques
• Software development methodologies
•Algorithms
• Standard algorithms


A-Level


If you take the full A level course you will sit two exams at the end of Year 13 which will cover two components and you will also be required to undertake a programming project.

Component 01 – Computing Principles which will cover the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture and other areas including the following:
• Software and its development
• Types of programming languages
• Data types, representation and structures 
• Exchanging data and web technologies
• Following algorithms
• Using Boolean algebra
• Legal, moral and ethical issues.


Component 02 – Algorithms and Problem Solving


Section A will cover traditional questions concerning computational thinking. 
• Elements of computational thinking
• Programming and problem solving
• Pattern recognition, abstraction and decomposition
• Algorithm design and efficiency
• Standard algorithms.


Section B will have a scenario/task contained in the paper, which could be an algorithm or a text page-based task, which will involve problem solving.


Component 03 - Programming project
This is an internally assessed task where students solve a problem of an appropriate size and complexity. This will enable them to demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the Assessment Objectives. Students will need to analyse the problem, design a solution, implement the solution and give a thorough evaluation.


Course Assessment


AS
The AS is assessed at the end of Year 12 in two equally weighted exams.
01 Computing Principles exam lasts 1hr and 15 mins (50%)
02 Algorithms and Problem Solving exam lasts 1hr and 15 mins (50%)

A Level
The A level is assessed separately to the AS.  Again there are two exams at the end of year 13 and one programming project.
01 Computer Systems  exam lasts 2hrs and 30 mins (40%)
02 Algorithms and Programming exam lasts 2hrs and 30 mins (40%)
03 Programming Project (20%)

 

Career Opportunities


The qualification is suitable for learners intending to pursue any career in which an understanding of technology is needed.  The qualification is also suitable for any further study as part of a course of general education.

It will provide learners with a range of transferable skills which will facilitate personal growth and foster cross curriculum links in areas such as maths, science and design and technology.  Computer Science is a very creative subject, and skills such as problem solving and analytical thinking will all be refined and explored as learners progress through the learning and assessment programme.

Progression to University


Students who achieve this qualification will be able to apply for a variety of degree level courses in ICT or computing related subjects.

Entry Requirements


Students are expected to have A*- B in GCSE ICT, A* - C in GCSE Computing GCSE Maths and English at A* - C plus 4 other passes C or above. 

 

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT:  Ms P Calderaro

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Information technology

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Information technology

Course Description

This qualification is designed for learners who are interested in an introduction into the study of creating IT systems to manage and share information alongside other fields of study, with a view to progressing to a wide range of higher education courses, not necessarily in IT.

Course Outline

The objective of this qualification is to give learners the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in IT systems, systems management and social media in business. This will enable learners to progress to further study in the IT sector or other sectors.

 

Course Assessment

Assessment is specifically designed to fit the purpose and objective of the qualification. It includes a range of assessment types and styles suited to vocational qualifications in the sector. There are three main forms of assessment that you need to be aware of: external, internal and synoptic.

 

Progression and Career Opportunities

The intended destinations for learners successfully achieving these qualifications include:

  • BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Computing and Systems Development (QCF)
  • Apprenticeships
  • University

Entry Requirements

Students are expected to have A*- B in GCSE ICT.