Offering a wide range of computing skills

In Years 7 and 8, pupils study a range of ICT systems, as used in the home, at school, and in society. They are made aware of current and emerging technologies and the impact that advances in technology may have on themselves and others.
Computer programming is taught in Years 7 and 8:

  • Code Maven from Crunchzilla
  • Codecademy
  • Python
  • HTML
  • Scratch

Code Maven helps teens learn a little about what they can do if they learn more about programming.
A lot of teens are curious about programming these days, but don’t end up doing any. Code Maven lets teens learn a little about how to program, starting with basic concepts such as loops then rapidly getting into fractals, animation, physics, and games.

Code Maven is a curious blend of a game and a tutorial. Like a tutorial, it’s step-by-step, and there’s not-too-big, not-too-small challenges at each step. Like a game, it’s fun, addictive, and experimentation can yield exciting results.

Year 8 programming of robots

Year 8 have been using the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics toolkit, which allows the pupils to build and program robots that can perform various interesting tasks. You get everything you need to create your very own intelligent LEGO robot!

Applications include fitting the robot with sensors that can control motors and respond to light, sound and touch.
The pupils are being excited and challenged by the tasks that are being set and are learning valuable problem-solving skills relating to control technology. Working alongside the Science Department, we are developing the use of robotics to stimulate the minds of our pupils and to encourage them to think outside of the LEGO box!

Pupils use a variety of multimedia including sound clips, video and animations when developing their projects. Pupils are also taught general ICT skills, including file management, control technology, word processing, basic desktop publishing, spread-sheets, databases. They also learn how to create web pages using web-authoring software and HTML.

Students use Firefly, which is our VLE (virtual learning environment). This is a portal that allows pupils to log in at home to upload work etc via the Internet. The VLE has lots of resources for the pupils to use including worksheets, interactive tasks as well as learning materials. Pupils have their own electronic locker to store their work.

Interactive whiteboards are installed in every classroom and we have several sets of activote devices that allow teachers to conduct ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ type voting sessions.

Teachers and pupils can make use of several computer suites throughout the school.

GCSE Computer Science

This course will stimulate interest and engagement with technology and technology-related careers. Looking to the future, information technologies continue to have a growing importance, with a huge demand from employers for people with a computer science skillset.

This qualification provides students with the opportunity of operating confidently in today’s digital world, enabling students to apply computational thinking in context.

The content and assessment approach for this qualification has been designed to meet student needs in the following ways.

Develop computational thinking skills – this qualification provides students with the opportunity to operate confidently in today’s digital world, enabling students to apply computational thinking in context, across both written and practical examinations.

Provide practical opportunities – students will be encouraged repeatedly to design, implement and test programs that provide solutions to problems. They will apply their skills to produce robust programs and this will help them to progress to further/higher education where practical knowledge and experience will be required.

Range of programming languages – we will provide a choice of three programming languages, allowing flexibility for centres and students to make choices that are the most valuable and appropriate for them.

Students will develop the ability to:

  • apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • analyse problems in computational terms through practical problem-solving experience. This will include designing, writing and debugging programs
  • think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • apply mathematical skills relevant to computer science.

There are two papers:

  • Paper 1: Principles of Computer Science 50%
  • Paper 2: Application of Computational Thinking 50%