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Computer Science

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Computer Science (Computing) is computers and computer systems. Students will be learning how computers work, are designed, constructed, and used which in turn will help students pursue rewarding professions that emphasise multiple skill sets.

The core study of computing encompasses programming languages, data structures, algorithms and with the underlying science of information and computation.  The influence of computing has been profound in shaping the world in which we now live. The use of technology is almost universal among UK businesses, and increasingly businesses are adopting strategic technologies to deliver new opportunities. 

The professional, scientific and technical sector has shown the largest increase of all broad industry groups between 2012 and 2013, with a particularly large increase for this sector in London.  Telecommunications has been the fastest growing part of the information economy sector; growing at 5.7 per cent per annum during the period from 2000 to 2013. 

There are approximately 1.3 million people working in technology specialist roles in the UK, and technology specialist employment is consistently increasing, growing by 6 per cent (71,000) from 2013 to 2014 alone.  The UK is ranked second in the world for technological readiness by the World Economic Forum. 

Ongoing developments in the sector include the government commitment of £1.2 billion to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of UK premises by 2017.

 

Our lessons are busy but fun!  You’ll learn loads of new stuff, combining the ‘theory’ with lots of practical tasks and challenges. So there’ll be lots of practical work on the computers, skills building, learning to program, doing the projects and conducting tests and experiments for your research. But there’ll also be quite a bit of extra reading and exercises to get your thinking skills sharp. We recommend Computer Science students spend 1-2 Hours Programming per week outside of timetabled lessons.

What can Computer Skills lead to?

It’s no exaggeration to say the world runs on computers. They are everywhere: in homes, schools and offices but not just in the way you think. They are also embedded in all sorts of machines. Computers control airplanes, chemical plants, send rockets to space, control the central heating and make sure your car runs efficiently. As new things are developed, the world needs more and more people to research new ways of using computers to do the things they want. GCSE Computer Science (Computing) is a great foundation for going on to do Computing BTEC Level 3.

A BTEC in Computing is a great foundation for going on to study Computer Science at University. And that can open up a lot of possibilities! But you don’t have to want to go on to be a computer scientist to do this course – you might just be curious about learning a bit more. That’s why we are offering it. The skills you learn will be of enormous benefit in lots of your other subjects. Nicholas Negroponte – a famous man whose ‘One Laptop per Child’ project is trying to get computers to children in the developing world once said, “Computer programming is a powerful tool for children to ‘learn learning,’ that is, to learn the skills of thinking and problem-solving… Children who engage in programming transfer that kind of learning to other things.”

Skills involved:

  • Computational Thinking – Abstraction, Decomposition, Pattern Recognition, Drawing Algorithms
  • Problem Solving – Planning & Developing Solutions
  • Applying Logic – Working through problems step by step in a logical manner
  • Researching – Using the resources available in lessons
  • Collaborating – Teamwork

KEY STAGE 3

Year 7 - 2 lessons per fortnight
Year 8 - Computer Science & Digital Literacy delivered discreetly across the curriculum
Year 9 - 1 lesson per fortnight.

WHAT WILL YEAR 7 SYLLABUS COVER?

  • Project-based approach
  • Investigative learning
  • Designing and developing simple games
  • Variables
  • Algorithms
  • Debugging
  • Bitmaps and graphics
  • Consideration of app toys
  • Presentation of information

HOW CAN I SUPPORT MY CHILD AT HOME?

  • Please remind them to bring their headphones to school.
  • Provide access to a computer and secure access to the internet at home.
  • www.software4students.com Register your child on this website to purchase genuine software applications at hugely discounted prices.
  • www.teach-ict.com Large variety of video tutorials available illustrating the use of popular applications to complete everyday tasks, and to support the work covered in lessons.
  • Encourage use of Engadget UK and BBC Click to improve awareness of what is going on in the world of Computer Science.

KEY STAGE 4 - GCSE

OCR GCSE COMPUTER SCIENCE COURSE J276 – 3 UNITS

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • Develop students understanding of current and emerging technologies and how they work.
  • Learn how algorithms are used in computer programs.
  • Understand how to become independent and discerning users of IT.
  • Acquisition and Application of creative and technical skills, knowledge and understanding of IT in a range of contexts.
  • Learn how to develop computer programs to solve problems.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of computer programs/solutions and the impact of computer technology in society.

UNIT 1: COMPUTER SYSTEMS

(Examination in Year 11, 90 minutes, 50% of GCSE)

This unit covers the body of knowledge about computer systems on which the examination will be based topics include:

  • System Architecture
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Wired and Wireless Networks
  • Network Topologies
  • Systems Security
  • Systems Software
  • Ethical/Legal/Cultural & Environmental Concerns

UNIT 2: COMPUTATIONAL THINKING, ALGORITHMS & PROGRAMMING

(Examination in Year 11, 90 minutes, 50% of GCSE)

  • Algorithms
  • Programming Techniques
  • Producing Robust Programs
  • Computation Logic
  • Translators and Facilities of Languages
  • Data Representation.

This component incorporates and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in unit 1, encouraging students to apply what they have learned using computational thinking. Students will be introduced to algorithms, programming and problem solving, It is expected that students will use the skills gained in this unit to complete the Programming Project.

UNIT 3: PROGRAMMING PROJECT

(Approximately 20 Hours, in Year 11)

The exam board will issue a range of assessment tasks each consisting of up to three sub tasks.  The set of tasks within the controlled assessment will provide opportunities for the candidate to demonstrate practical ability to use their programming skills.

Students will need to create suitable algorithms which will provide a solution to the stated problem then code their solutions in a suitable programming language.  The solution must be rigorously tested at each stage.  All code must be suitably annotated to describe the processes involved and the thinking behind them.  The test results will need to be evaluated against the original success criteria.  Work will be submitted in the form of a digital report containing annotated screenshots.  There are no restrictions on the programming language chosen but as this unit will follow on from the programming elements in Unit 2 the same programming language may be used (Python).  The tasks are set so that they can be completed in a wide range of languages including those frequently used to ‘teach’ programming techniques.

The content of this qualification has been developed in consultation with academics to ensure that it incorporates the most up-to-date knowledge and skills to enable progression to higher education. In addition, employers and professional bodies have been consulted on the content development to corroborate its relevance with current industry practice used in computing and related occupational disciplines.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP SUPPORT MY CHILD?

  • Encourage learning a programming language like Python 3 - Free Download
  • Encourage use of Engadget and BBC Click to enhance knowledge of the application of technology in the real world.
  • Talk through logical problem solving techniques and strategies that don't involve the use of computers. This is to build resilience in students necessary when programming as their solutions to problems might not work at the first time of asking, so finding alternative approaches is an important skill.

COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT

Subject Leader Mr J Fielden                    
  Mr C Belony
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