Computing Subjects

My name is Clive Benham and I am the Head of Department for Computer Science and ICT. In recent years the KS3 curriculum has moved its focus from traditional ICT to a computing based curriculum, with the intent to engage and prepare students for computing courses at KS4. This change in curriculum has occurred in response to the need for more qualified programmers in the computing industry.

In Year 7, students are introduced to the idea of creating interactive presentations, the use of Kodu and control using Scratch. Kodu is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on both a PC and Xbox. Kodu is available for students and parents to download for free to develop their skills at home. Similarly, Scratch is also available as a web based application or to download locally to your home machine. Scratch enables students to create and modify simple animations and games through the use of block scripts. This is often students’ first experience in the world of programming and as a starting point will enable them to build upon existing programs. They are also introduced to image manipulation and creation through the use of Fireworks which gives them the opportunity to develop skills in the use of basic tools, functions and engaging their creative side. Additionally, there is an early introduction to the Python programming language to prepare students for the study of Computing at GCSE. We encourage students to enrol at Codeacademy, an online resource, to allow students to become familiar with Python syntax. In Year 8 students develop control and programming skills further using software such as the full Microsoft Office suite and Adobe Creative software.

In Key stage 4, the AQA Computing course offers students the theory behind programming, exploring computer components and how they work in combination with programs, networking fundamentals and programming languages. This course takes the user on a journey behind the scenes in the computing world, forever changing their prior understanding and knowledge of computer systems. Students are expected to complete a theory based exam and a practical assignment set by the exam board in Year 11 that allows student to develop programming solutions. The course prepares students for further education leading to careers in a wide variety of programming, from desktop to mobile device applications. AQA ICT GCSE is offered at KS4 and provides a more traditional experience of using ICT software and investigating hardware, with less reliance on programming skills.

A Computing Club is offered once a week to KS3 and support is provided almost every day for KS4 to enable students to develop the practical skills that they have learnt in lessons and to prepare for exams and their practical assignment.gnment.