Academic year 2023-2024
KS3 – What we will be studying
Topic 1 – Modelling data using spreadsheets
The spreadsheet unit for Year 7 takes students from having very little knowledge of spreadsheets to being able to confidently model data with a spreadsheet. The unit uses engaging activities to progress learners from using basic formulas to writing their own COUNTIF statements. This unit will give students a good set of skills that they can use in computing lessons and in other subject areas.
Topic 2 – Clear messaging in digital media
This unit is designed to build upon student’s experience from key stage 2. It requires students to use a range of different skills across several pieces of software. Students will work between different applications to create a poster and slides on a given theme. The unit is designed so that students can concentrate on applying skills that they may have previously learnt as well as those learnt in the unit. Throughout this unit, students will use Canva. Canva is a web or application-based piece of software and can be used on tablets, desktops and laptops. For the second half of the unit, students will use presentation slides software, such as Google Slides or Microsoft Powerpoint.
Students will work in teams to design and create an app that acts on climate change. Students will follow a project-based path that provides climate action and digital literacy skills. By the end of the term, students will have created an app that aims to act on climate change. The course will educate our young people about the climate crisis, enabling them to take action and preparing them for green jobs of the future. Whilst students can come to a very satisfying end point with paper prototypes, they have potential to do so much more with AppLab. AppLab is a free coding tool where students can build a click-through prototype of their app and throughout the course of this project, students will have the opportunity to use AppLab to help with their prototype. AppLab is a fantastic tool for complete beginners to coding, but also provides the opportunity to get into some more complex tasks.
Studying towards GCSE or a Cambridge National in Creative iMedia
Term 1 – App Development
Students will work in teams or individually to design and build an app that solves a problem they care about, with the aim of creating a working prototype by the end of the term. They will also have the opportunity to delve into enhanced topics like business modelling and user research. Students go through technical skills such as UX, Design, Programming and Coding throughout the duration of the course, but the impact is just as big on essential skills such as confidence, team working and resilience. The course looks at the ways in which technology affects every aspect of our modern life, and how it can be used to solve problems and build on opportunities that are at the forefront of young people’s minds. This course also helps prepare our young people for the real world of working in technology by linking them with professionals from some of the world’s top brands.
Term 2: Machine Learning
Students will work in teams or individually to design and build a prototype that solves a problem they care about using machine learning algorithms. By the end of the term, students will have built a machine learning prototype. They will explore a wide range of machine learning applications and assess the social, legal and ethical impact of the use of AI algorithms. Students go through technical skills such as UX, Design, Programming and Coding throughout the duration of the course, but the impact is just as big on essential skills such as confidence, team working and resilience. The course looks at the ways in which technology affects every aspect of our modern life, and how it can be used to solve problems and build on opportunities that are at the forefront of young people’s minds. This course also helps prepare our young people for the real world of working in technology by linking them with professionals from some of the world’s top brands.
Students will also be offered the opportunity to enter their prototype into the Apps For Good showcase. All submissions are reviewed by independent shortlisters from some of the biggest names in technology and each project gets personalised feedback from up to five industry professionals. Chosen submissions from across the country also have a chance to be showcased on the Apps For Good website and social media.
Term 3 – Introduction to Python programming
This unit introduces students to text-based programming with Python. The lessons form a journey that starts with simple programs involving input and output, and gradually moves on through arithmetic operations, randomness, selection, and iteration. Emphasis is placed on tackling common misconceptions and elucidating the mechanics of program execution. A range of tools are employed throughout the unit, with the most prominent being pair programming, live coding, and worked examples. Following an introduction, the unit moves on to introduce students to how data can be represented and processed in sequences, such as lists and strings. The lessons cover a spectrum of operations on sequences of data, that range from accessing an individual element to manipulating the entire sequence. By the end of the terms, students will be able to write Python programs that display messages, receive keyboard input, use simple arithmetic expressions, and control the flow of program execution through selection and iteration structures.
Academic year 2023-2024
Computer Science GCSE – What we will be studying
Term 1 – Fundamentals of algorithms and programming basics
The GCSE for Computer Science consists of two papers. To start the course, we start by looking at the content needed for paper 1, which focuses on Computational Thinking and programming skills. Across this unit, we will explore a variety of topics, including: computational thinking, code tracing, problem-solving, programming concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing and refining of code. This will be assessed through a mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing programming, practical problem-solving and computational thinking skills.
A key part of the delivery of the AQA specification is the development of students’ programming skills. Throughout their course of study, students will be given the opportunity to design, write, test and refine, using one or more high-level programming language(s) with a textual program definition. For us, this will be Python. Students will be given the opportunity to design, write, test and refine programs to a set brief.
Term 2 – Fundamentals of data representation and Computer Systems
In term 2, we move to start looking at the paper 2 content which more so focuses on Computing concepts and for this term, our focus will be on data representation and computer systems. Data representation looks at number bases and converting between number bases, character encoding and how to represent images and sound. Computer systems will focus on how a computer is made up in terms of its architecture, boolean logic and classification of programming languages.
Term 3 – Introduction to cyber security
In the final term, students will continue with paper 2 content, looking at real world threats that our computer systems face. We will explore the threats posed to computer systems by social engineering and malware and importantly, what businesses can do to protect themselves against these malicious attacks. Students will have the opportunity to look at real-world case studies and apply their knowledge.
Term 1 – Fundamentals of computer networks and Ethical, Legal and Environmental Impacts of Digital Technology]
The first term of year 11 will see students working across two topics of paper 2. The first will give students the opportunity to explore and explain the current ethical, legal and environmental impacts and risks of digital technology on society. Where data privacy issues arise these will also be considered. The second area of focus will look at computer networks. Students will be able to explain what a network is and the advantages and disadvantages. We will also draw on some knowledge from the last term of year 10 where we look at security of networks.
Term 2 – Relational Database and SQL and recap
We will be introduced to a second programming language called SQL which is a language used to work with data in a relational database. Students will look at what we mean by a relational database and will have experience in using SQL to to extract and work with data in multiple tables.
The second part of the term we will begin our recap of previously taught topics in preparation for term 3 and exam readiness.
Term 3 – Recap of topics and exam preparation
The focus of term 3 is all about getting exam ready. We will spend some time recapping previous topics that we have learnt, but with a focus on exam technique and answering exam style questions.
Paper 1 – Tests computational thinking, code tracing, problem solving and programming concepts, including designing algorithms, designing, testing and refining code – 2 hours written exam, 50% of the total marks. Non-calculator.
Paper 2 – Tests ability to answer questions on data representation, computer systems, networks, cyber security, databases and the impact of technology on the wider society – 1 hour 45 minutes written exam, 50 % of the total marks. Non-calculator.