Computer Science

Year 7

Computer Science

Computer Hardware and Software: This is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles of computer architecture. Scholars will learn the function of the internal components of a computer and study how a computer processes data. Scholars will be able to calculate and compare computer processor speeds.

Kodu Programming and Project: This unit is a foundation into developing programming skills. Scholars will use software that is co-built by Microsoft with the intention to encourage young people to program. Scholars will learn how to program basic games in the graphical Kodu programming environment. Scholars will create and learn to document their own game based on a project specification given in the form of an assessment.

Year 8

Networks: This is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles and architecture of local and wide area networks. Scholars will learn that the World Wide Web is part of the Internet and how web addresses are constructed and stored as IP addresses. This unit will form very good preparation on the topic of networks at GCSE level.

Scratch Programming: In this unit scholars will review the Scratch programming environment. The focus of this unit is being able to use programming skills in Scratch to solve problems. This course includes learning the use of variables, procedures (using the Broadcast function) and mathematical operators. They should be able to create a fully working game with scoring and some randomisation of objects for the higher tier scholars. Finally they will learn to test and debug their programs.

Programming Project: Scholars are expected to understand most or all of the project requirements provided using the programming skills they have learnt in Scratch. Scholars will also document their game using Microsoft Word to demonstrate how they have met the requirements, results of their testing and an annotated explanation of their programming. This project is a primer and builds the required basic skills required for GCSE projects in computing.

Year 9

This is a crucial year for all scholars who are doing Computer Science as a GCSE. Scholars will be working to the AQA GCSE syllabus. This year will provide the core programming skill set required to be able to do well at both the GCSE programming written exam paper (40%) as well as the GCSE programming project (20%) required in Year 11.

This year will cover the basics of programming using the Python programming language. The school uses "Pyscriptor" programming environment (which can be downloaded for free). Scholars will learn to understand data types, arithmetic and relational operators, variables and string manipulation.

Scholars will also study and program basic data structures (If - Else, for loops and while loops) and random number generation. Most of the lessons covered this year will focus on practical based programming skills. Scholars will be expected to program after school hours to embed ability and understanding.

Scholars will have access to an after school "help session" as well as access to laptops after school at "study prep". There is also a facility where scholars will have the ability to borrow laptops for a short period should this be required.

At the end of the academic year scholars should be confident in understanding how to interpret software requirements. Scholars will produce an end of year project in the expected GCSE format.

There is a theory based exam to this GCSE (40%) and scholars will spend a good proportion of classroom time without a computer. The theory topics covered this year will cover computer hardware, software, system architecture and the fundamentals of computer networking.

Some scholars will also have the opportunity to gain a level one award (GCSE is a level 2 award). This is an entry level award just below GCSE. OCR is the awarding body. This will require attendance after school for extra learning however.

Year 10 & Year 11

Exam board: AQA

Exam 1 (programming written exam): 40%
Exam 2 (computer theory exam): 40%
NEA coursework: 20%

Year 10

Scholars will build on the Python programming covered in year 9. They will encounter arrays, subroutines nested loops, nested selective statements as well as search and sorting algorithms. At the end of the academic year scholars will be given a mock GCSE project to complete.

Scholars will also complete their understanding of computer hardware and look at how computers communicate over a network/internet. They will study logic circuits and the different types of programming languages that are used. The ethical, legal and environmental impact of digital technology will also be covered.

Scholars will have access to an after school "help session" as well as access to laptops after school at "study prep". There is also a facility where scholars will have the ability to borrow laptops for a short period should this be required.

Year 11

Scholars will complete their programming knowledge by working with 2D arrays, read/write data to a file and exception handling (try – catch). The GCSE NEA project (20% of the GCSE) will also be provided.

Cyber security threats, social engineering and malicious code will also be covered in detail. Converting decimal, Binary and hex value as well as some binary arithmetic will also be covered. Scholars will also learn how sound and pictures are represented digitally. Scholars will also learn what ASCII and unicode is.

Scholars will also cover past GCSE examination questions to ensure that they are exam ready.