Computer Science

 

Overview

Why study Computer Science?

Computer Science is relevant to the modern and changing world. It is a practical subject where learners can apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world problems. It is an intensely creative subject that involves invention and excitement. It promotes computational thinking, helping learners to develop the skills to solve problems and design systems that do so.

What skills or knowledge do you need?

Students will be taught one or more programming languages as part of the course.  Any prior knowledge of programming in any language would be a distinct advantage.  Interest and ability in problem solving is essential.

What further courses and careers can this lead to?

This course will be the best preparation for learners who want to go on to study Computer Science at AS and A Level and beyond. The qualification will also provide a good grounding for other subject areas that require computational thinking and analytical skills.

What topics are studied?

Computer Systems - systems architecture; memory ; storage; wired and wireless networks; network topologies, protocols and layers; network security; system software; moral, social, legal, cultural and environmental concerns.

Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming - translators and facilities of languages; algorithms; high- and low-level programming; computational logic; data representation.

Programming Project - programming techniques; design; development; effectiveness and efficiency; technical understanding; testing, evaluation and conclusions.

How are students assessed?

Computer Systems - The first component is an exam focused on computer systems covering the physical elements of computer science and the associated theory.

Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming - This component is focused on the core theory of computer science and the application of computer science principles.

Programming Project (non-exam assessment) - This component is the non-exam assessment where candidates will be challenged by a range of exciting and engaging tasks to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned.

Key Stage 3 Computer Science

All pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 study Computing.  The curriculum is broad and balanced; it encompasses Computer Science and Information Technology. The main focus of Key Stage 3 is digital literacy, and our aim is to produce both expert users and programmers.

Each classroom is fully equipped with desktop PCs.  We also have a number of raspberry Pi computers, which are used extensively on the GCSE course, and BBC micro:bit computers for teaching programming at Key Stage 3.

Pupils who wish to continue their interest in the subject are able to take both GCSE and A level Computer Science (OCR J276 and H446 respectively).  This will enable them to progress to higher levels of study in the subject or to a professional career.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-8)

Topics currently taught at Key Stage 3 include the following:-

E-Safety, Logic Gates and Binary, Computer Hardware, Operating Systems, App Design.
Coding in Scratch and Python

Visual languages – BBC micro:bit Block Editor

Written languages – Python, JavaScript and HTML

Binary, binary logic and representation of dataComputational thinking, algorithms, flow charts and pseudocode

Students continue to build on their computing and digital literacy skills with the units of work taught below.  Concepts and skills are designed to stretch all abilities during one hour lesson a week, where their knowledge and skills are reinforced and developed further with the projects taught.

Year  9  Computer Science 9

Computing is a specialist subject at  Kingsdale, so Year 9 is used to prepare the students for when they choose their options on whether to choose GCSE Computing which is offered as a full course GCSE option.

The Computer Science syllabus in Year 9, continues to build on the computing skills the students will have developed in years 7 & 8.  This will involve problem solving skills using Python  in order to prepare them for the rigours of the GCSE course.  

A 'Dummies Guide to Computers' is produced, helping to reinforce knowledge of data representation, hardware and software.

Creating apps using App Inventor helps to develop students design and programming skills further.
Students learn theory relating to Graphics before revisiting their  Serif Plus skills to produce a movie poster.
For this unit students have the opportunity of expanding their skills set further using Python to make a game.
The final project of the year is called ‘Google Time’ where they are able to research into a particular area of computing present it using a program of their choice.

Years 10-11 - Computer Science

OCR GCSE Computer Science (9-1)

All students are given the option of studying OCR GCSE Computer Science (9-1). This allows students with a passion for the subject to complete a challenging course as a basis for further study at A-Level and Higher Education. GCSE Computer Science is a specialist, academic subject that is demanding and requires students to learn two substantial units of Computer Science theory and understand how to program in a textual programming language independently.  Students currently program using Python.

OCR GCSE Computer Science (9-1) is split into three units;

Computer Systems (assessed through an examination paper at the end of Year 11 – worth 40% of the GCSE).
Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming (assessed through an examination paper at the end of Year 11 – worth 40% of the GCSE).

Programming Non-Examination Assessment (NEA) (assignment set in Year 11 done under controlled conditions in lessons and externally moderated – worth 20% of the GCSE).

Advanced Level Year 12

We offer OCR A-Level Computer Science as an option.

A-Level Computer Science is a two-year course that builds on the knowledge and skills that students have studied at GCSE (it is a course entry requirement to have studied GCSE Computer Science or Computing at GCSE to be accepted onto the course). 

A-Level Computer Science consists of two examinations completed in Year 13, one covering key theory about computer systems, and the other covering programming concepts and theory.  The final element of the course is a programming project that students complete in Year 13 and is worth 20% of their overall mark.

Students who study A-Level Computer Science normally have a passion for Computer Science and are interested in studying it at a Higher level at University or moving into a Computer Science-based career.

Enrichment

Throughout the school year students are offered various opportunities to take part in school trips.  So far this year the department has run a trip for Year 8 "Teentech Trip", and  for Year 11 "Think Computer Science" run by Microsoft at their Cambridge offices.

Other Activities

Year 7 Maths and Computing Day – students are introduced to a variety of Computer Science concepts
Digital Day – Students work with industry professionals on different project ideas in teams
GCSE Trip to ‘Think Computer Science’ at Cambridge
Year 9 Trip to "Bletchley Park "  National Museum of Computing
STEM Day  the school hosts a technology themed day whereby speakers from education as well as investment companies  will come into school to speak to students about their careers in the technology industry. Workshops are also held throughout the day for all year groups to participate in technology themed activities.

After School Activities

All of our computer suites are available to students after school.  There are also computers available in the library.

Coding Club
Coding club is aimed at all students and sessions are  on Tuesdays and Thursdays afterschool. The aim of the club is to help students with their programming skills.  The classes are run by qualified teachers in programming skills.
Animation Club
This takes place on a Tuesday lunchtime:  Aimed at Year 7 & 8 students the club allows students to combine their creative skills with technical skills in Flash
Computing Club
This takes place on a Wednesday lunchtime:  Aimed at lower school students the club explores different areas of computing, from coding to building hand held games console.

For any further information relating to Computer Science, please contact Dr  Curtis or see ocr.org.uk/gcsecomputerscience

 

 
 
 

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