A high-quality computing education equips pupils to understand and change the world through computational thinking. It develops and requires logical thinking and precision. It combines creativity with rigour: pupils apply underlying principles to understand real-world systems, and to create purposeful and usable artefacts. More broadly, it provides a lens through which to understand both natural and artificial systems, and has substantial links with the teaching of mathematics, science, and design and technology.
At the core of computing is the science and engineering discipline of computer science, in which pupils are taught how digital systems work, how they are designed and programmed, and the fundamental principles of information and computation. Building on this core, computing equips pupils to apply information technology to create products and solutions. A computing education also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
Key stage 4:
We offer a range of courses at key stage 4, to suit the needs of students, colleges and industry. Currently we offer qualifications in Computing, CiDA and ECDL.
Computing is an option for the more academic child and we recommend that any child choosing this option has good mathematics, science and English skills. It is about how computers work, algorithm design and programming. It currently consists of two coursework tasks (research and programming) and one examination. Next year the course will change in line with the new GCSE changes to consist of one coursework task and one examination. Software used include Office (your child has access to Office 365 at home) and a range of freely downloadable software including Python 3 and Pyscripter.
Students find out about the following topics and skills during year 10 Computing:
How computers work, the fetch execute cycle and CPU. Binary numbers and hexadecimal. Introduction to programming, and programming constructs. Compressing and storing data, Basic algorithm design and flowcharts, networking and logic problems. They will undertake their research coursework task during this year.
The students will look at databases and DBMS, the social moral, legal and ethical issues in computing. They will look at more complex algorithm design and pseudocode. In addition they will learn more advanced programming techniques before embarking on their final programming coursework and exam revision.
CiDA (Certificate in Digital Applications)
CiDA looks at creating websites and graphics for the internet and provides the students that the students need in the world of work and college to create websites and online graphical content. The course consists of one (online examination) and a major coursework task. Software used includes Serif Webplus and the industry standard range of Adobe graphics software.
Students will learn to create websites in Serif webplus and learn how to edit html code, add movies, sound and java applets to create more functional websites. They will learn how to use Adobe Fireworks, Illustrator and Photoshop to create a range of graphical products. In the final term students will start their coursework project.
Students initially continue on with their coursework projects. Before preparation for the examination on creating websites in the Jan of the final year. Students will learn skills and techniques to combine vector and graphic products to create photo realistic outcomes.
In the final term students refine their coursework task and prepare for the final examination in June (students are allowed to take the web design examination twice).
ECDL (European Computing Driving licence)
ECDL is a shorter course where students can achieve grade equivalents to between Distinction* - Pass in a GCSE. During the course students will demonstrate their use of Microsoft Office in word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Students take examinations on the computer in the use of these applications, followed by a final task where their use of all three applications together are tested. Students can practice tasks at home using their Office 365 account at home.
Currently ECDL is not taught in year 10.
Students start the ECDL course by learning about word processing applications. They will learn how to format documents, edit text and add pictures. More advanced features looked at include adding data and mail merging. They will then practice using online mock materials before sitting the word exam in the first term.
The next application students learn about is PowerPoint, they will learn how to format present, edit data and set up presentations. Once this is done they will practice for the exam before sitting the exam early in the second term.
The final application students learn is Excel, students learn how to enter data, format cells, present information, charting and enter/use formulae. They will then practice for the exam before sitting the examination in the second term.
In the final term students will prepare for the IPU which can combine elements of all three applications and sit their final examination. Resits of the other examinations are also available in the final term.
Why choose OCR Computer Science?
Our Computer Science specification will above all else be relevant to the modern and changing world of computing. The new specification will:
- Focus on programming, building on our GCSE Computing and emphasise the importance of computational thinking as a discipline.
- Have an expanded maths focus, much of which will be embedded within the course.
- Put computational thinking at its core, helping students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence.
- Allow student to apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems in an exciting and engaging manner.
- Give students a clear progression into higher education, as the course was designed after consultation with members of BCS, CAS and top universities
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 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
The key features of this specification encourage:
- emphasis on problem solving using computers
- emphasis on computer programming and algorithms
- emphasis on the mathematical skills used to express computational laws and processes, e.g. Boolean algebra/logic and comparison of the complexity of algorithms
- less emphasis on ICT
What will I study?
Unit 1: Computer Fundamentals
• Data: its presentation, structure and management
• Data transmission and networking
• Systems development life cycle
• Characteristics of information systems
• Implications of computer use
Unit 2: Programming Techniques and Logical Methods
• Designing solutions to problems
• The structure of procedural programs
• Data types and data structures
• Common facilities of procedural languages
• Writing maintainable programs
• Testing and running a solution
Unit 3: Advanced Computing Theory
• The function of operating systems
• The function and purpose of translators
• Computer architectures
• Data representation
• Data structures and data manipulation
• High-level language programming paradigms
• Programming techniques
• Low-level languages
Unit 4: Computing Project
• Definition, investigation and analysis
• Software development and testing
• The written report
Course assessment details
AS Module 1 Exam in January = 50% of AS – 25% of A2 level marks
AS Module 2 Exam in June = 50% of AS – 25% of A2 level marks
A2 Module 3 Exam in January = 25% of total A2 level marks
A2 Module 4 Coursework = 25 % of total A2 level marks
How will I study?
Through seminars, discussions, presentations, practical and individual work. Research will be carried out using books, periodicals & ICT.
What do I need to start the course?
A*– B or equivalent in GCSE Higher papers for Mathematics, Science and ICT. A minimum grade C in at least two other GCSE subjects.
Students who have not studied ICT or Computing in years 10 and 11 may still be considered for AS Computing course after consultation with course tutor.
Where could it lead?
Computing offers a wide range of skills and options for students wishing to study any subject at degree level. It is increasingly accepted as a science qualification
at highest University levels. Career paths are extremely wide ranging in both specialisms offered and levels of occupational involvement.