- Hour of Code
- Animation 19
- CodeBytes coding club
Key Stage 3
What are the knowledge and skills that students will gain over Key Stage 3?
KS3 Computer Science curriculum is designed to equip students with Information Technology, Digital Literacy and Computational Thinking skills. Hence the curriculum is made up of a combination of all three areas. Students at all levels are challenged with differentiated projects in each subject area.
The Computer Science department at John Colet School aim to teach students the skills to participate in a rapidly-changing world through challenging and engaging topics. Students will develop an understanding and application in the fundamental principles of computer science by having the opportunity to write programs, design webpages and produce professional digital products.
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
● can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
● can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
● can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
● are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
In Computer Science department we are dedicated to ensuring our students leave with the skills to fully embrace a future of rapidly advancing computer technology.
Why is it delivered in this way?
In Computer Science at Key Stage Three it is split up into 3 main areas of study. Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy. These are the three very important areas of knowledge in the modern age and we believe it is essential that students learn skills in this order so that they can become confident in creative and technical skills.
In year 7 students arrive at John Colet School bearing various levels of skills and also a lot of students have only had access to a specific type of devices at primary schools. We use baseline assessment to judge the gaps in students’ practical ability from the start. After getting the basic skills embedded we study about E-Safety. The reason for this is because as students start to transition into teenagers they become more confident with using social media applications and the internet. Students need to be aware of the dangers of using these devices and applications.
In Year 8 we again re-visit Internet Safety but by looking much advanced elements of staying safe online. This allows us to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of further dangers of staying safe online. Further to this we then study a range of units, mainly looking at introducing more creative, computational thinking and programming skills to students by both block and script based programming. Students can achieve 75% of the programming requirement skills they will need for GCSE.
Key Stage 4
Course title: OCR GCSE in Computer Science J276, 225975-specification-accredited-gcse-computer-science-j277.pdf
What are the knowledge and skills that students will gain over Key Stage 4 Computer Science?
At KS4 students further develop their skills by choosing OCR Computer Science and/or OCR Cambridge National in Information Technologies courses.
In Computer Science students develop a theoretical understanding behind the backgrounds of computer systems looking into the science behind components, systems and how they work. On a practical note (due to change 2020) students develop and apply their analytical, problem solving, design and computational thinking skills. Through Python programming the students are expected to analyse, design and implement a program to solve a problem. Through testing and evaluation students are expected to improve and develop a program to meet a set scenario. These skills are then passed over to their Paper 2 exam in which they would be expected to transfer this knowledge of programming into writing down on paper to algorithmic problems. This is one of the greatest challenges to students at KS4 because there are lots of different techniques to learn, which then are assessed in examination. Challenge is also set to increase with a specification change within the next two years where students will be expected to complete a written/online programming examination. Computer Science students are expected to gain an understanding of the following key concepts;
● To be able to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation.
● To be able to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs
● To be able to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
● To understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.
● To be able to understand the impact of digital technology to the individual and to wider society
● To have the ability to apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science.
What is most important for the students to know?
Students need to have an understanding of the following areas by the end of KS4
Computer systems – Theory Paper 1
• Systems Architecture – How a computer processes data in the form of Von Neumann Architecture.
• Memory – The different types of memory – RAM, ROM, Virtual Memory & Flash
• Storage – The typical storage devices used by computers – Optical, Magnetic and Solid State.
• Wired and wireless networks – How data is transferred across networks and the components which make up these networks.
• Network topologies, protocols and layers – The two main network topologies, protocols in networking and the different layers of sending data over a network.
• System security – Common types of attacks/viruses and prevention methods.
• System software – Common built in software used to enhance the performance of the computer system.
• Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns – Ongoing issues regarding computer systems in the world.
Computational thinking, algorithms and programming – Theory Paper 2
• Algorithms * - To be able to write and recognise both searching and sorting algorithms including Bubble Sort, , Merge Sort, Insertion Sort, Linear Search and Binary Search
• Programming techniques - Understand the three main programming concepts – Iteration, Selection and Sequence, as well as SQL, Data Types ….
• Producing robust programs – To be able to write programs in pseudocode to solve problems. This will include having an understanding of systems life cycle and each element involved in it.
• Computational logic – Students will know how to calculate Truth Tables from the three main logic gates, AND, OR, NOT
• Translators and facilities of languages – Students will be able to identify and understand the difference between Low and High Level Programming.
• Data representation – Students will be able to complete mathematical calculations in Binary, Hexadecimal and will be able to calculate file sizes of images and sound files using formulae.
Programming Project – Due to change to online Exam for 2021.
This is a practical project used to enhance skills for paper 2. Although completed on the computer it needs to be done as an independent report and requires students to personally develop their programming skills outside of the classroom as well as within.
The areas covered are:
• Programming techniques
• Testing and evaluation and conclusions
Course title: OCR GCSE in Computer Science J276 (subject to change for examination series 2021)
Year 9 Computer Science
Programming using Python
Data Representation from Year 11
Wired and wireless networks
Network topologies, protocols and layers
Year 10 Computer Science
Further programming techniques
Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns
Software Development Life Cycle
Effective evaluation and conclusions
Controlled assessment (20 Hours)
Year 11 Computer Science
Assessment: Two written exams worth 50% each
Advanced programming techniques
Producing robust programs
Translators and facilities of languages
Systems Architecture from Year 9
Revision of topics learnt in previous years
Why is it delivered in this way?
In year 9 students cover most theory topics and extend their computational thinking and programming skills which then help them to be prepared to work on 20 hours Non-Exam Assessment in mid-year 10. This means students gain a much better understanding of programming concepts in practice which helps them to achieve better in paper 2. By completing controlled assessment also helps them to focus more on exam preparation in year 11.
This may change for the new GCSE cohort due to take exam in 2021 and a new specification will be released for 2021 – onwards which we will need to adapt for when released.