Computer Science

ictWelcome to the Computer Science Department

Head of Department: Mr S Wanstall

Teaching Staff:
Mr D Garcia
Miss H Stuart

Computer Science is taught in all years across the school.

KS3 covers Years 7 and 8. The students follow a course in Computing called Compute IT, which is an online course, providing a very broad background in Computing.

KS4 Year 9

The Course
Over three years you will study the basics of computer programming using Python. You will use your programming skills to solve problems using creative programming solutions. You will also learn how computers work and how they communicate with each other across networks. You will learn how to apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science.

What sort of student does well at this subject?
You will do well if you enjoy using a computer, being creative, enjoy mathematics and want to learn how to program using a text-based programming language.

The work you would do
You will learn to:
· understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic,     algorithms, and data representation
· analyse 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 people
· apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science 

KS4 covers Year 9-11.  The course is Edexcel GCSE ICT

The course
Over three years students will produce work using a range of different ICT skills including Digital Graphics, Digital Animation, Web Authoring.  Each unit counts towards the Edexcel GCSE in Information and Communication Technology.

What sort of student does well at this subject?
You will do well if you enjoy using a computer, being creative, being motivated by getting good feedback on how well you are doing, enjoy  learning to work independently and you want to become a really good user of ICT.

The work you would do
There are two units. Unit 1 ‘Living in a Digital World’ is examined via an exam, lasting 90 minutes at the end of Y11. In this unit we explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society. You learn about current and emerging digital technologies and the issues raised by their use in a range of contexts (learning and earning, leisure, shopping and money management, health and wellbeing and on the move).  Unit 2 ‘Digital Tools’ is examined via coursework done over 40 hours, creating websites, using databases, creating digital posters, graphics and more!


KS5 Year 12

What is the course like?
OCR A Level Computer Science will inspire and challenge students to apply the knowledge they gain with the creative and technical skills they acquire. Here are some of the key benefits of the new Computer Science specifications: 
• The new qualifications will be focused on programming and emphasise the importance of computational thinking as a discipline. 
• There’ll be an expanded maths focus, much of which will be embedded within the course.
• The ICT content of the new specifications will be appropriate to a Computer Science qualification. 
• Computational thinking will be at the core of the new specifications.
• The A Level will consist of three components, two of which will be externally marked question papers making up 80% of the             qualification. 
• The other 20% will be the coursework project, which will retain its current qualities but will be more focused, with a greater             emphasis on coding and programming with a simple assessment model and marking criteria.

This component will be a traditionally marked and structured question paper with a mix of question types: short-answer, longer-answer, and levels of response mark scheme-type questions. It will cover the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture and other areas including the following:
• The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices 
• Software and hardware
• Exchanging data 
• Data types, data structures and algorithms 
• Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues. 

This component will be a traditionally marked and structured question paper with two sections, both of which will include a mix of question types: short-answer, longer-answer, and levels of response mark-scheme-type questions. 

Traditional questions concerning computational thinking: 
• Elements of computational thinking 
• Programming and problem solving 
• Pattern recognition, abstraction and decomposition 
• Algorithm design and efficiency 
• Standard algorithms. 

There’ll be a scenario/task contained in the paper, which could be an algorithm or a text page-based task, which will involve problem solving. 

Students select their own user-driven problem of an appropriate size and complexity to solve. This will enable them to demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the Assessment Objectives. Students will need to analyse the problem, design a solution, implement the solution and give a thorough evaluation.


KS5 students study OCR Cambridge Technicals in ICT Level 3, covering three units per year. Units taught are:
 ‘Communication and Employability Skills’
Communication is a vital skill for any individual. The effective use of communication and flexibility of styles is a highly desirable attribute to employers to maintain good working practice. This unit identifies the principles for effective communication and introduces students to the interpersonal skills and attributes required within a work place and how different combinations and approaches are required for a range of job roles. It also identifies the different IT tools available for safe and secure communication and exchange of information within an organisation. Students will consider approaches and adapt the way they communicate depending on their audience.

 ‘Information Systems’
The purpose of this unit is to demonstrate the information organisations hold and how this is valuable to an organisation. This unit will help the student understand the legislation governing information which flows into and out of an organisation and the constraints and limitations that apply to it. The student will discover that if systems are in place, and information held is correct then the communication within the organisation is a powerful tool and can give any organisation a competitive edge.

‘Interactive Media Authoring’
This unit focuses primarily on the creation of interactive media products. Students will study the principles of interactive media authoring before planning and creating their own product.  Interactive media authoring is used for a variety of different purposes including; e-books, single user games, edutainment material, presentations, and museum touch screen information kiosks. These products usually comprise of a range of multimedia and interactive elements. The distribution of the products can be web-based, on CD/ DVD ROM or apps for mobile devices. There are a range of authoring tools available to use in their production and the creation of its assets. Interactivity can be included in the form of quizzes and games, using scripting languages such as Lingo, Action Script.

 ‘Website Production,
Nearly all businesses and organisations realise the importance of having a web presence in the 21st century. It provides an opportunity to reach an international audience with their product or brand. Websites need to be well designed to keep visitors returning and avoid excluding user groups by being inaccessible. Companies need to analyse the technical considerations to ensure they do not hinder the user experience.

 ‘Digital Graphics’
This unit helps the learner to understand the different hardware and software that is available for working on graphic images and the file formats that exist. Students will understand where these file formats are used and how the delivery method of a graphic has a bearing on the file used in terms of size, resolution and compression. Students will be able to use the hardware and software needed to create, modify and manipulate images in accordance with clients’ requirements. Students will understand how to gain user feedback and make changes based on this feedback and will understand the legal framework regulating the acquisition and use of digital graphics.

‘Computer Game Design’
This unit allows students to explore the nature of the games industry and which elements make up a game concept. They will understand the history of computer games from the early versions through to the massive multiplayer games and the high end graphical games that currently exist. This will allow them to think about what the future may hold in terms of gaming. They will understand the concept of expansion packs and why these are so vital within the gaming industry in terms of additional revenue. They will understand the concepts of storyboarding a game concept which will include characters, motivations, objectives, game play and gaming environment. They will be taught about gaming documentation and be able to develop and use project planning methodologies.

Students will be able to present a game concept to stakeholders and understand the importance of a well-planned presentation to a client. They will gain feedback from stakeholders and then use this feedback to improve their game concept.

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