Computing

Computers and their various forms are now part of our everyday life, regardless of our profession they are an integral part of how we work and communicate today with each other, both professionally and or socially.

There is now a common understanding that the future job market will comprehensively require people to have some form of digital knowledge and skills, whether these are at high level, using applications or low level (machine level) building and maintaining applications.

So from an educationalist perspective computational thinking skill is essential for all our pupils, which they must learn if they are to be ready for the future workplace and are able to participate effectively in the digital world. 

The three main strands within our computing curriculum

Here at STMLC we provide a broad and balanced computing curriculum, which has been developed to equip pupils with the foundational skills, knowledge and understanding of computer science (CS), digital literacy (DL) and information technology (IT) the three distinct strands within computing, each of which is complementary to the other and each component is essential in preparing pupils to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Key Stage 3

Computer Science (CS)

Pupils design, create, 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 such as for sorting and searching elements of data using various programming languages. This exercise enables students to acquire logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem.

Pupils learn to programme and code solutions for traditional applications and mobile applications firstly by using various drop and drag programming languages starting with (Scratch, Alice, Kodu, App-Inventor) leading to text editorial language mainly Python.

There are of course provisions and resources for the discerning pupil to extended and expand their programming knowledge and skills using other languages such as JAVA.

Pupils undertake practical projects to design, develop test modular programs that use procedures or functions during which they begin to understand programming theory.

  • 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 a small film. The learning outcomes from this strand lead to KS4 option in Creative iMedia or Graphics 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

Creative iMedia

Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia are media sector-focused, including film, television, web development, gaming and animation, and have IT at their heart. They provide knowledge in a number of key areas in this field from pre-production skills to digital animation and have a motivating, hands-on approach to learning. Cambridge Nationals deliver skills across the whole range of learning styles and abilities, effectively engaging and inspiring all students to achieve great things.

Course Structure and assessments

Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia Certificate is a Level 2 qualification with 120 glh requiring four units, two mandatory and two optional.

Students study two mandatory and two optional units, which include business strands and creatives strands. These are centre assessed and externally moderated and collectively they make up 60% of the overall GCSE grade, with a written paper, which makes up the 40%.

To download and view the Y10 to Y11 programme of study click the individual units below:

Pre-production skills Written paper 1 hour 15 minutes (mandatory)

Creating digital graphics Centre (mandatory)

Creating a multipage website (optional)

Creating a digital video (optional)

Click here to download the full Creative iMedia specification

 

Computer Science (CS)

Provides an academically challenging programme of study for students of high ability, who are interested in a strategic programming career, building applications, Artificial Intelligence or computer games industry.

Students will complete this course equipped with the logical and computational skills necessary to succeed in A-level computer science, the workplace or beyond. The qualification is based around the core principles of computer science listed below.

  1. Fundamentals of algorithms
  2. Programming
  3. Fundamentals of data representation
  4. Computer systems
  5. Fundamentals of computer networks
  6. Fundamentals of cyber security
  7. Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
  8. Aspects of software development
  9. Programming project

Assessments

Paper 1: Computational thinking and problem solving

What's assessed

Computational thinking, problem solving, code tracing and applied computing as well as theoretical knowledge of computer science from subject content 1–4 above.

How it's assessed

• Written exam set in practically based scenarios: 1 hour 30 minutes

• 80 marks

• 50% of GCSE

Questions A mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing a student’s practical problem solving and computational thinking skills.

 

Paper 2: Written assessment

What's assessed

Theoretical knowledge from subject content 3–7 above.

How it's assessed

• Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

• 80 marks

• 50% of GCSE

Questions

A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing a student’s theoretical knowledge.

 

Programming project Purpose

The programming project develops a student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a problem. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving, consistent with the skills described in Section 8 of the subject content. The skills developed can be applied to exam questions on computational thinking.

What is produced

• A computer program to solve the programming project

• Written report: totalling 20 hours of timetabled work

Tasks

The development of a computer program along with the computer programming code itself which has been designed, written and tested by a student to solve a problem. Students will produce an original report outlining this development.

 

Click here to read the Computer Science KS4 programme of study

Click here to read the full AQA specification

 

Entry Requirments

Although there are no entry requirements, it is expected students must have high level of mathematical understanding, so their Maths predictions must be ideally 7 and above.

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 both the Creative iMedia and Computer Science qualifications please contact Mr A Khan.

Year 8 performing poetry

Year 8 St Thomas More students performing their poetry at the RBKC’s WW1 commemorative event at Cadogan Hall.

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