Computer Science

Computers are part of everyday life and for most of us technology is essential to our lives both at home and at work. ‘Computational thinking’ is a skill that all pupils must learn if they are to be ready for the workplace and are able to participate effectively in the digital world. Here at STMLC we follow the new national curriculum for computing,which has been developed to equip pupils with the foundational skills, knowledge and understanding of computing, which pupils will need for the rest of their lives.

Students learn how computers and computer systems work, they design and build programs and develop their ideas through using technology and creating a range of digital content.
 
The three main strands within computing
 
At STMLC pupils are thaught three distinct strands within computing, each of which is complementary to the others: computer science (CS), information technology (IT) and digital literacy (DL).  Each component is essential in preparing pupils to thrive in an increasingly digital world.
 
 
Key Stage 3
 
Computer Science (CS)
 

Pupils design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems. They are taught to understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking [for example, algorithms for sorting and searching]; use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem.

Pupils use two or more programming languages (Scratch, Alice, GreenFoot, APPFurnace) and one textual language (JAVA and or Python), to solve a variety of computational problems;

  • make appropriate use of data structures [for example, lists, tables or arrays];
  • design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions.
  • design and develop mobile APPs.

Pupils are also taught to :

  • Understand simple Boolean logic [for example, AND, OR and NOT] and some of its uses in circuits and programming;
  • Understand how numbers can be represented in binary, and be able to carry out simple operations on binary numbers [for example, binary addition, and conversion between binary and decimal];
  • Understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems;
  • Understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system;
  • Understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits.  

Information Technology (IT)

Information Technology looks at computing from a business perspective. Pupils are taught how IT is used in the world of business; they undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users.

Pupils create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability. Typical projects include building a multimedia website, animation for a given purpose as well as creating financial models and databases. The learning outcomes from this strand lead to KS4 option in ICT Level 2 Cambridge Nationals.

Digital Literacy (DL)

Digital Literacy is a strand of computing which teaches students how to use IT safely and is essentially involved with building IT skills. These include learning how to use e-mails safely and in a business type of manner, information handling and essential tools to carry out digital work. Students understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns.

Click here to read the year 7 programme of study

Click here to read the year 7/8 programme of study


KS4 Options

Information Technology (IT)

The Cambridge Nationals in ICT will equip learners with sound ICT skills for everyday use and provide opportunities to develop in context those desirable, transferable skills such as planning, research and analysis, working with others or communicating technical concepts effectively. This qualification will also challenge all learners, including high attaining learners, by introducing them to demanding material and skills; encouraging independence and creativity; providing tasks that engage with the most taxing aspects of the National Curriculum (including data handling, modelling and programming).

This qualifications design, including the range of units available, will allow learners the freedom to explore more deeply the things that interest them as well as providing good opportunity to enhance their learning in a range of curriculum areas.

Click here to read the KS4 programme of study

Entry Requirements

 

To qualify for this option – students must have completed their multimedia website by the end of year 9.

Course Structure and Assessment

Students study three optional units, which include a business strand and creative strand. These are centre assessed and externally moderated and collectively they make up 60% of the overall GCSE grade.

Business Strand:

Option 1: Using ICT to create business solutions (Centre assessed tasks OCR moderated)

Option 2: Handling data using databases (Centre assessed tasks OCR moderated)

Creative Strand:

Option 3: Creating an interactive product using multimedia components (Centre assessed tasks OCR moderated)

Mandatory Unit:

Understanding computer systems written paper OCR set and marked 1 hour – 60 marks

This is a written paper, which is set by OCR examination board and is externally marked

1 hour – Exam

Progression

This will lead to A Level studies in ICT and Business information systems.

For further Information on this qualification plseae click here


Computer Science (CS)

Students will learn how to create applications that:

·         run on mobile devices

·         operate in a web enabled environment.

In addition they will:

·         learn how to create simple computer games

·         gain an understanding of the fundamental concepts around creating software applications

·         have opportunities to work collaboratively.

Students will be given controlled assessment tasks that will allow students to select areas of broad interest to them from gaming, mobile, web and more traditional systems. Within each broad area they will be given a scenario-based task to create an appropriate software solution that meets the needs of the user.

Click here to read the Computer Science KS4 programme of study

 

Entry Requirments

 

Students must be at level 7 or above in Maths. They must be predicted at least a B grade in Maths to qulify for this option.

Assessments

There is approximately 50 hours of controlled assessment with 2 tasks of 25 hours each, this component is 60% of the marks (126 marks - 63 marks for each task).

This is internally assessed, externally moderated. Different tasks will be provided by the examination body each year. Each student should complete two tasks from a choice of four.

Working independently students demonstrate their ability to code a solution to a given problem. The tasks will be set in engaging and relevant contexts, eg gaming, web, mobile phone applications. Tasks may be completed and submitted on paper or electronically (saved to CD and posted to the moderator).

PLUS

A 1 hour 30 minutes exam paper which is 40% of the marks (84 marks) and externally assessed. This will be either paper-based or on-screen version. All questions will be compulsory and will be taken from across the subject content. This component will include a range of types of questions from very short to extended answer.

Progression 

The specification provides progression from key stage 3 studies by building on the knowledge and skills taught and will provide excellent progression to 'A' level Computer Science, vocational courses and on to degree level courses in the areas of Computing, Engineering and Science. The course provides the knowledge, skills and understanding that a growing number of employers are demanding.

For further information on this 2014-17 qualification spec please click here

For further information on this 2016-18 qualification spec please click here

G&T

 

Substantial scope for G&T students to develop programming and maths solutions – see Mr A Khan

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