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Computing

The Computing Department recognises that practical application and understanding of Computing skills are essential to the development of our Pupils’ education as this subject stretches beyond the scope of school learning, bridging into their further studies academically and future careers practically, as there is a world out there just bursting with invention and creative opportunities.

In today’s world all individuals need technological and information literacy skills. It is recognised that Computing skills are essential alongside the traditional skills of numeracy and literacy because whatever our Pupils’ decide to do in their chosen academic or career path they will find that they need to use computers. Therefore, honing good skills and an understanding of their application in problem-solving are essential, as they will be able to integrate these experiences into their daily routines, enabling them to become more productive users when accomplishing real life tasks.

Studying Computer Science (known as the fourth science subject) will enable them to get inside one of the single most powerful tools the world has seen. It is important that our Pupils learn to understand and appreciate the fundamentals of computing, as computers figure in all avenues of our lives, within science, technology, manufacturing, research, medicine, etc. Computing, therefore, influences and affects everything we do in society today.

The courses we provide are designed to make our Pupils’ proficient, creative and independent users of a wide range of computer applications and languages, underpinned by developing ‘real world’ tasks that will encourage independence, initiative, teamwork and time management skills. 

Staff

  • Mrs Maskean Sian, B.A. (Middlesex) Head of Computing & ICT
  • Mr Lee Kelham

Lower School

The Department teaches practical application (programming) and computing theory in years 6, 7, 8 and 9, with every lesson containing an element of practicality centred work on a given task or project. The task/project may involve the use of one or more application or computing methodology which should stretch the abilities of each Pupil. The context of the work should be familiar and relevant to the Pupils, so that they may concentrate on making good use of the computers. The teaching staff will encourage and ensure Pupils complete the work set and produce verifiable results, which in most cases will be a final hard copy or presentation. Where Pupils work at a faster rate, still maintaining the required quality, the teaching staff will introduce extra skills to new features within the software or language studied, on an individual basis, or ask the Pupil to produce an extra piece of academic work. All work produced should conform to the standard rules of English and be accurate outcomes.

Year 6

Programme of study in year 6:

  • File Management
  • Internet/Electronic Communication (e-safety, plagiarism and netiquette)
  • Word-processing
  • Computational Thinking
  • Scratch Programming  (Animation and Game Design)
  • Presentation Graphics
  • Spreadsheet including Graphs and Charts
  • Web Page Creation (HTML)
  • Systems and Control (.microbits)
  • Desk Top publishing

Year 7

Programme of study in year 7:

  • File Management
  • Internet/Electronic Communication (e-safety, plagiarism and netiquette)
  • Use of Office 365 – SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams
  • Word-processing
  • Computational Thinking
  • Spreadsheets including Graphs and Charts
  • Pix Blocks Coding
  • Presentation Graphs
  • Programming in App Inventor

Pupils are expected to take notes, conduct research, complete practical tasks and written exercises. There will be homework requirements for this course too, so skills and knowledge can be applied to the end of year practical assessment.

Year 8

Programme of study in Year 8:

  • Systems and Control (NXT Lego MindStorm, Yenka)
  • Web Page Creation (HTML/CSS)
  • Fundamentals of Computer Science
  • Visual Basic Programming
  • Python Programming

Pupils are expected to take notes, conduct research, complete practical tasks and written exercises. There will be homework requirements for this course too, so revision of theory and skills will be very important for the end of year exam.

Year 9

Pupils have the option to pursue Computer Science in Year 9. The Department offers an academically challenging and practically based computational thinking and programming course, which will naturally lead into the GCSE Computer Science Course.

It is a well subscribed course, most of our Year 8 Pupils opt to do this in Year 9. Pupils spend one double lesson per week developing and honing their skills and knowledge in the following modules:

  • Visual Basic
  • Database Design
  • Python
  • Computing Theory

Pupils are expected to take notes, complete practical tasks and written exercises.  There will be homework requirements for this course too, so revision of theory and skills will be very important for the end of module assessments and end of year exam.

It is essential for those Pupils considering GCSE Computer Science to complete this course, as it provides Pupils with the core practical skills and knowledge required for progression.

GCSE - AQA Computer Science

The department encourages Students with an interest in the latest technology, programming, ICT and electronics, coupled with strong skills and understanding in Mathematics and Physics to consider studying GCSE Computer Science as a subject.

It is widely known that there is a shortage of programmers in the UK.  The software design industry is growing, with the gaming industry becoming bigger because of the rise in mobile technology.  Programmers are highly sought after for their unique mix of logical reasoning, creativity and practical problem-solving skills.  It has been said that all scientists, mathematicians and engineers will at some point have to produce a piece of coding as part of their studies.

The GCSE Computer Science specification explores the principles of computing and a way of working that's called 'computational thinking', with coding at the core of the course.

The revised AQA GCSE Computer Science specification (8525) has been designed for students who have a keen interest in delving deeper into the fundamentals of computing.  The course will equip pupils to think logically, to assess and analyse problems, to critically evaluate possible solutions in order to arrive at robust solutions.  It requires our students to be innovative and as well creative.

Among the many benefits of the revised 8525 AQA specification is that it is designed to enable students to:

  • understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation
  • analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs
  • think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
  • understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society
  • apply mathematical skills relevant to computer science

AQA 8525

This revised AQA specification (8525) is up to date for our students and is for exams to be sat in 2022 and onwards.  It will provide our students with a good understanding of the fundamental principles of computing. It is an academically challenging specification for all our students.

Subject content consists of the following areas of study:

  1. Fundamentals of Algorithms
  2. Programming
  3. Fundamentals of Data Representation
  4. Computer Systems
  5. Fundamentals of Computer Networks
  6. Cyber Security
  7. Relational Databases and SQL
  8. Ethical, Legal and Environmental Impacts of Digital Technology on Wider Society, including Issues of Privacy

In Paper 1 our students are required to design, write, test and refine program code in Python (the school’s chosen programming language). In preparation for Paper 1, our students will be given as much opportunity as possible to practise their programming skills and will therefore gain practical experience of:

  • Structuring programs into modular parts, with clear documented interfaces to enable them to design appropriate modular structures for solutions
  • Including authentication and data validation systems/routines within their computer programs
  • Writing, debugging and testing programs to enable them to develop the skills to articulate how programs work and argue using logical reasoning for the correctness of programs in solving specified problems
  • Designing and applying test data (normal, boundary and erroneous) to the testing of programs so that they are familiar with these test data types and the purpose of testing
  • Refining programs in response to testing outcomes

In preparation for Paper 2 our students will gain practical experience of writing and refining SQL.

8525 - ASSESSMENT:

Paper 1: This paper will test the students’ computational thinking, code tracing, problem solving abilities, programming skills and concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing and refining of code as well as theoretical knowledge of computer science from subject content 1–2 above.

Written exam:  A mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing a student’s programming, practical problem solving and computational thinking skills: 2 hours / 90 marks / 50% of GCSE

Paper 2: This paper will test the pupil’s SQL programming and theoretical knowledge from subject content 3–8 above, known as the computing concepts.

Written exam:  A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing a student’s SQL programming skills and theoretical knowledge: 1 hour 45 minutes / 90 marks / 50% of GCSE

Programming Skills Authentication: A key part of the delivery of this revised specification is the development of our students’ programming skills. Every student will be expected to design, write, test and refine code written in one or more high-level programming language with a textual program definition.  Students will be assessed on their ability to design, write, test and refine a program to a set task/brief (or to solve a problem).

Further information about these course specifications can be found on the AQA GCSE Computer Science website.

It is important for our students to be diligent and organised with their work, as this will help them to deliver class and homework punctually.  There will be elements of self-learning which will require discipline and motivation.  It is suggested that Students taking this course attend lunchtime and afterschool Clubs to extend their knowledge and experiences within programming and participate in the annual UK Bebras Challenge. The GCHQ Cyber Discovery and the UK CyberCenturion competitions are other opportunities that students could potentially be involved in over the course of their studies.

A Level - AQA Computer Science

The A Level Computer Science course specification has been designed for students who wish to pursue higher education courses or employment where knowledge of Computing would be beneficial. Students who study Computer Science can go on to a career in Medicine, Law, Business, Finance, Engineering or any other type of Science related field.

The term 'computing' covers every kind of digital technology that we use to create, store, communicate, exchange and use information. As such, it is the foundation for small and large businesses to build their strategies and grow. It is also the key to making our personal lives easier and fun: mobile phones, online shopping, home assistants, self-driving cars... we owe them all, and a lot more besides, to computer science.

There has been a conscious shift towards the direction of Computer Science and Computation in the world of education and work. These are exciting times for those students who have an affinity with technology, are creative, lateral thinkers and self-disciplined. The department teaches the current A Level specification which is up-to-date for those students  who have a passion for this science.

students following this specification need to have prior knowledge of Computing, especially programming, as it will be beneficial to their studies.

This course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for further study.

Among the many benefits, this AQA specification is designed to encourage students to develop:

  • the capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • an understanding of the organisation of computer systems including software, hardware, data,
  • communications and people
  • the ability to apply skills, knowledge and understanding of computing, including programming, in a range of contexts to solve problems
  • project and time management skills the capacity to see relationships between different aspects of the subject and perceive their field of study in a broader perspective
  • an understanding of the consequences of uses of computing, including social, legal, ethical and other issues
  • an awareness of emerging technologies and an appreciation of their potential impact on society

The A Level has 13 areas of study plus coursework (the computing practical project).  The specification covers the following areas of study:

  • Fundamentals of Programming
  1. Fundamentals of Data Structures
  2. Fundamentals of Algorithms
  3. Theory of Computation
  4. Fundamentals of Data Representation
  5. Fundamentals of Computer Systems
  6. Fundamentals of Computer Organisation and Architecture
  7. Consequences of Uses of Computing
  8. Fundamentals of Communication and Networking
  9. Fundamentals of Databases
  10. Big Data
  11. Fundamentals of Functional Programming
  12. Systematic approach to Problem Solving
  13. Non-exam Assessment – the Computing Practical Project

ASSESSMENT:

Paper 1: This paper tests a student’s ability to program; to put into practice the computing language they have been studying to solve problems. This on-screen examination allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of the fundamental principles of Computing, focusing on programming through a problem-solving scenario using the pre-release (Skeleton Program) material supplied by AQA.  Alongside, students will be examined on their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science from the above areas of study, 1 – 4.  Students are expected to answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend programs.

On-Screen exam:  2hour 30 minutes / 100 marks / 40% of A Level

Paper 2: In this paper, students will be examined on their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science from the above areas of study, 5 – 12 and are expected to write a series of short and extended–answers to the questions posed.

Written exam:  2 hour 30 minutes / 100 marks / 40% of A Level

Non-exam Assessment Coursework: The Computing Practical Project. This component is an internally assessed unit. It assesses the student’s ability to use their knowledge and skills gained from the course to solve or investigate a practical problem. Students are expected to complete a report on a computer-based programmed solution to a problem-solving exercise of their choice, following the systematic approach to problem-solving (13).

Report: 75 Marks / 20% of A Level

Further information about this course can be found on the AQA GCE Computer Science website.

It is important for our students to be organised and deliver class and homework punctually. Feedback is provided so that students can be given further guidance and are aware of their progress. Late work will be marked, but as a consequence may incur a 10% penalty. This encourages our students to take ownership of their work.

It is important that students taking this course attend clubs to extend their interest, knowledge and experiences within programming and participate in the annual UK Bebras Challenge. The GCHQ Cyber Discovery, UK CyberCenturion and The British Informatics Olympiad are other opportunities that our students could potentially be involved in over the course of their studies.

Co-Curricular

Advent Term

Club

Day

Time

Location

Year Group

Staff i/c

Computing Homework Club

Monday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A5

Years 7, 8 & 9

LJK

Project Euler Club*

Monday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Year 10 - LVI

MS

LVI British Informatics Olympiad, BIO* (Sept – Jan)

Monday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Year LVI

MS

Y10 Programming Club

Tuesday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A5

Year 10

LJK

Bebras Challenge UK* (Sept – Nov)

Tuesday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A4

Years 9, 10 & LVI

MS

Y11 Computer Science Revision / Programming Club

Tuesday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Year 11

MS

Y6 Computing Club

Wednesday

Lunch: 1:05 - 1:35 pm

Rm A5

Year 6

LJK

Computing Homework Club

Thursday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A4

Years 7, 8 & 9

MS

Y8 Girls – Cyber First Challenge* (Oct – Jan)

Thursday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A4

Year 8

MS

Cyber Discovery UK – Cyber Security Club*

Thursday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Years 8, 9, 10, 11 & LVI

MS

Lent Term

Club

Day

Time

Location

Year Group

Staff i/c

Computing Homework Club

Monday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A5

Years 7, 8 & 9

LJK

Project Euler Club*

Monday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Year 10 - LVI

MS

LVI British Informatics Olympiad, BIO* (Sept – Jan)

Monday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Year LVI

MS

Y10 Programming Club

Tuesday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A5

Year 10

LJK

OUCC Oxford University Computing Challenge* (Jan – Mar)

Tuesday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A4

By Invitation Only

MS

Y9 & 10 - PCTC Perse Coding Challenge* (Jan – Mar)

Tuesday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A4

By Invitation Only

MS

Y11 Computer Science Revision / Programming Club

Tuesday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Year 11

MS

Y6 Computing Club*

Wednesday

Lunch: 1:05 - 1:35 pm

Rm A5

Year 6

LJK

Computing Homework Club

Thursday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A4

Years 7, 8 & 9

MS

Cyber Discovery UK – Cyber Security Club*

Thursday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Years 8, 9, 10, 11 & LVI

MS

Trinity Term

Club

Day

Time

Location

Year Group

Staff i/c

Computing Homework Club

Monday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A5

Years 7, 8 & 9

LJK

Project Euler Club*

Monday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Year 10 - LVI

MS

Y10 Programming Club

Tuesday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A5

Year 10

LJK

Y11 Computer Science Revision / Programming Club

Tuesday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Year 11

MS

Y6 Computing Club*

Wednesday

Lunch: 1:05 - 1:35 pm

Rm A5

Year 6

LJK

Computing Homework Club

Thursday

Lunch: 1:30 – 1:55 pm

Rm A4

Years 7, 8 & 9

MS

Cyber Discovery UK – Cyber Security Club*

Thursday

Afterschool: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Rm A4

Years 8, 9, 10, 11 & LVI

MS

  • Bebras Challenge UK (actual challenge starts November and will last for a fortnight)
  • OUCC – Oxford University Computing Challenge (First round in February, Second round March – by invitation only)
  • PCTC - Perse Coding Challenge (up to Y10 only. First round end of January – 2 per group, Second round mid-March – 3 per group, by invitation only. 1hr coding challenge)
  • Project Euler (all year)
  • British Informatics Olympiad (Preliminary round Dec to mid Jan – 3hr coding challenge)
  • Cyber Discovery (13yrs+, Starts Sept for registration, closes mid-October – all year (Cyber Assess, Cyber Game, Cyber Essentials)
  • Cyber First for Girls (Y8 girls only – registration opens 18/10, qualifier round 29/11 – 8/12, semi-finals 5/2, grand final in March)
  • Cyber Centurion Challenge (Years 9 and above only, Saturday’s in November, December and January)

Trips

  • Joint trip with Economics dept' to Jaguar Land Rover
  • The National Museum of Computing (Bletchley Park)
  • Any trip pertaining to competitions entered

Other