Head of Faculty: Mr M Thornhill
The department of Computer Science offers a broad curriculum, enabling all students to have high levels of digital literacy and the confidence to use IT resources for a range of purposes.
Our A-Level groups have dedicated Computer Science suites to work in, with dual monitor setups to help with their programming skills. We ensure that all resources and software packages for the course up to and including GCSE are able to be run and accessed anywhere on student chromebook devices.
Programming is a significant element of the curriculum across all Key Stages, with our primary programming language taught being Python 3.0. All resources for our computer science curriculum can be found on Google Classroom and we use a web-based development tool (repl.it) as our programming environment.
Key Stage 3
Our Key Stage 3 curriculum, which has been developed in-house, aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamentals of programming and the operations of computer systems. The topics for each year group are outlined below:
Key Stage 4
Digital Life Skills
All year 9 students will take part in our Digital Life Skills course, which focuses on ensuring our students are confident in their use and application of digital skills. The scheme of work has been developed by considering what skills are most useful to all, no matter what career they go into. Topics include:
GCSE Computer Science (AQA - 8525)
This is an optional GCSE course which introduces students to various aspects of the world of Computer Science, focussing on understanding how computer technology works and a look at what goes on ‘behind the screens’.
The assessment is made up of a computational thinking and problem-solving exam and a theory written paper. Throughout the course the students develop their knowledge of problem solving, programming structures and design through practical programming sessions using Python 3.
What do students learn?
For the theory element:
Key Stage 5
Computer Science A-Level (AQA – 7517)
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 understanding the future challenges that computer science can address. Students will develop skills in logical, structured thinking, mathematics, efficiency and problem solving and your patience and persistence will be tested. This course is appropriate for anybody who enjoys finding the best solution to a problem.
The course is not about learning to use tools or just training in a programming language. Instead the emphasis is on computational thinking. Computational thinking is a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines. Thinking computationally is an important life skill. Computing /Computer Science is about designing new algorithms to solve new problems. Many great challenges lie in the future for Computer Scientists to solve. The specific programming language taught in the first year is yet to be confirmed. Programming club allows students to try their hand at different programming languages. Support for lower school programming lessons will enable students to pass on knowledge and improve their communication and explanation skills.