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.
Subject descriptors for Computer Science
Computer Science is compulsory at KS3. Year 7 students are given a baseline assessment at the start of the year and assessed summatively at the end of every topic.
Computer Science is a subject where pupils are taught how digital systems work, how they are designed and programmed and the principles of information and computation. Computing equips pupils to apply information technology to create products and solutions. A computing education ensures pupils become digitally literate and are able to use and express themselves though information and communication technology at a level suitable for their future in the workplace and become active participants in the digital world.
In the first term of Year 7 Students will be introduced to the subject of computing, they will find out about the hardware and software components that make up a computer and how they work. They will learn about binary numbers and why they are used by digital computers.
In the second term pupils develop their computing skills by learning some of the key skills they need to write and produce computer programs. They will also be introduced to computer programming language such as Scratch.
In the final term students learn about the internet and how it works. They will produce a report for their end of year assessment.
File management, E-Safety, Health and safety issues when using computers, Social Networking such as Bebo / Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are also covered in year 7. They will also learn the advantages and disadvantages of Social Media. Students’ are made aware of Cyber bulling and the impact it might have on others. They create a dynamic multimedia presentation on a topic of their choice.
In year 8 students cover the components of the computer systems in detail, the different types of software and their functions, why computers count in binary. They use scratch programming language and apply algorithms to structure, procedures and iterations.
They learn X-Y coordinates, Sequencing of instructions, variables in scratch, Loops, IF statements. They are introduced to Python and they learn how to use Python Shell to write basic programs. They are introduced to Python strings, while loops, variables, procedures, operators, randomise, testing and error checking.
In year 9 students are introduced to Advanced Python Programming and they learn about flowcharts and Pseudocodes in documentation. Using Python programming language and applying algorithms to the codes, program structure, procedures and iterations in Python programming language. The use of operators within Python, Adding sound, Error finding and checking, testing and evaluating programs.
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 BTEC Tech Awards in Digital Information Technology.
BTEC Tech Awards in Digital Information Technology
The current year 10 students are studying BTEC Tech Awards in Digital Information Technology. BTEC Tech Awards are designed to be taught alongside GCSEs, giving students a glimpse into a professional sector whilst teaching them transferable skills for life. The course is specifically designed for 14-16 year olds in schools. It is graded across Level 1 and Level 2 to recognise the achievements of all students. Assessed using assignments and practical tasks to suit vocational students and this count in the 'open group' of Progress 8.
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).
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.