The Computer Science curriculum has replaced the ICT curriculum in most UK schools which means pupils are no longer expected to just be able to use a computer to complete business tasks, they are now expected to be able to solve problems using computers to develop solutions. As a by-product of this significant change.
At HCS, we have completely re-designed our Key Stage 3 curriculum. Our aim was to develop a fun, engaging programme of study, which builds solid foundations in problem-solving and computational thinking whilst being accessible to all pupils. To this end, many of our topics centre around the broad topics of Games Development, App Development and Software Development.
The Year 7 curriculum is divided into three blocks focusing on core ICT skills in the first block to ensure pupils can use all software that will support their learning across all subjects, games development and programming.
The work to be undertaken includes:
Learning how to utilise and work with the School’s Hub.
Understanding online threats and learning to be safe in a connected world.
Developing core ICT skills to support work and study skills across all subject areas.
Create 3D computer games using Kodu in order to foster interest in programming and learn the basics of computational thinking and problem solving.
Create and present game concepts to develop teamwork and confidence in public speaking.
Create digital graphics using programming constructs to develop the concepts of control, algorithms and text-based programming
In Year 8 pupils will delve deeper into the techniques used in computer science and will build on the foundations they established last year.
The work to be undertaken includes:
Develop mobile phone app ideas to foster the concepts of good design and teamwork. Work for this module is entered into the #UnitedApp competition.
Developing Apps for mobile phones to continue to build skills in programming and problem solving.
Computer Animation / 3D Modelling Algorithms
Learning procedural programming using Python.
Inventing text based games and solving logical challenges using programming skills.
In Year 9, pupils will have the opportunity to gain a qualification in computer science. Pupils will undertake the OCR Entry Level Certificate in Computer Science so that if they choose not to study Computing at Key Stage 4, they will still have a secure and recognised Computing qualification.
The course consists of:
Three modules of work, covering:
Algorithms, Logic and Programming Techniques
Modules One and Two (Computer Systems & Algorithms and Logic & Programming Techniques) will form 80% of the total marks for this qualification (40% each). Each module will have 2 X 30 minute tests at the end of them to determine pupil grades.
The programming project will make up 20% of a pupil’s final grade and will consist of a simple programming problem to solve, in which pupils must design, develop, test and evaluate the solution.
At Key Stage 3, all summative assessment is done via the Hub. Pupils will be set a task, will complete that task and then submit the evidence onto the relevant Hub page. The Computing teachers will then mark the work and provide feedback on the Hub, which is visible to the individual pupils and their parents. At times, we also encourage peer assessment where appropriate. At the end of the year, all pupils sit an online Computing exam and carry out a practical task. These, when assessed, form the final score for the year.
Broadly speaking, homework will be set in accordance with the school’s homework policy. In Computing, pupils will receive one homework task every two weeks.
Key Stage 4
Pupils will study the OCR GCSE (9-1) Computer Science course in Years 10 and 11. The course consists of two modules, with an exam for each module being taken at the end of Year 11.
The first module, Computer Systems, examines the theory of computers, looking at how they work and why they work in the ways they do. Covered in this module are the concepts of hardware, software, networks and the legal, social and moral issues relating to computer use.
The second module, Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming, is designed to allow learners to manipulate computers and get them to do the tasks they want them to perform. This section requires solid mathematical ability as well as good logic and problem-solving skills.
Both of these modules are worth 50% of the final grade for the course.
There is an additional requirement that students complete a 20 hour programming project, in which they will plan, design, develop, test and evaluate a solution to a problem. A choice of tasks is available and this task is run under full exam conditions. Pupils are expected to complete this task independently.
Upon successful completion of GCSE Computer Science, pupils can choose to continue on to study the subject further at A Level or they can move in a different direction. If pupils choose to continue on at A Level, they can expect a robust and challenging programme of study.
It is encouraged that pupils wishing to pursue a career in the Computing / Technology industry take A Level Computing. This leads to opportunities to study Computing at university or to gain an apprenticeship.
Presently, there are far more jobs in the Computing sector than there are candidates to fill them. As such, salaries are high and opportunities to progress are great.