Computer Science

Our students encounter vastly differing experiences of Computer Science prior to year 7. Therefore, our KS3 curriculum ensures a solid foundation of computational thinking, programming and problem solving are robustly implemented. This enables our students to fully engage with 21st century technology and to not just have the self-belief that they can succeed in Computer Science but to also experience and to know they will enjoy this challenging subject when pursued as an option.

We encourage students to work independently in order to solve complex problems. This in turn fosters creativity in the students’ approach to solving problems and ability to think laterally. A growth mind-set is deeply embedded into our curriculum; enabling students to be consistently challenged, develop tenacity and resilience; skills vital for success in and beyond the school setting. The early adoption of these most vital of life skills, further serves to ensure students take full responsibility for their studies and that they can see clearly the link between hard work and success. This ultimately raises students’ aspirations and leads to more success in and outside of the classroom.

Using technology in a safe manner is a consistent topic throughout the key stages. KS3 covers the basics of protecting the user’s personal data and using social media safely. Key stage 4 sees the students understanding the responsibilities a company has when using personal data. Whereas at key stage 5, the focus is on the technical aspects of data security through the use of technologies, for instance – encryption and hashing. Throughout the students’ time at CHS, we embed the notion of respecting the working environment and respecting other students to nurture an atmosphere of harmonic cohesion in order to leverage optimum progress.

Computer Science can readily be broken down into two distinct disciplines: programming and the theory of computing. However, the two are not mutually exclusive; we have had great success in stretching the students through coding some of the more complex theories. KS4 builds upon the students’ autonomy through an NEA, which affords them 20 hours of independent programming. KS5 serves to enable students to work completely independently to solve a bespoke real-world problem through programming. Students are encouraged to stretch themselves at this point by choosing a project which is inherently complex in nature. The department’s industrial experience in the IT sector ensures students are fully supported in their choice of project even if it goes well beyond the scope of the course.


Computer Science at Key Stage 3


 Term 1Term 2Term 3
Year 7Using computers, researching and validating information, enabling the students to practise their critical thinking skills, presenting a researched based topic.
Spreadsheets – data entry, use of formulae (if, max, min), conditional formatting.
E-Safety – students make and edit a video with a strong e-safety message.
Flowol – students learn how to control systems through the use of flowcharts.
Scratch – Students learn the fundamentals of programming. They then go on to produce a game of their choice.
Year 8Information representation – Learning how a computer system handles data concepts such as numbers, characters, graphics and sound.
Scratch 2 – Students make a game which tests the user’s math ability.
Visual Basic – Students learn the basics of VB to produce a quiz, which tracks a user’s score and gives them a grade.Photoshop – Students learn how Photoshop is used in the media to “improve” images of people and the moral implications of this. They then go on to airbrush celebrities.
Scratch 3 – Students use all the skills they have acquired throughout KS3 to produce a game of their choice.


GCSE Curriculum: Years 9-11

Computer Science has become so ubiquitous with everyday life that the subject has never been as important as a secondary school subject. The Computer Science course provides opportunities for students to learn about current and newly emerging technologies. Furthermore, students learn the ability to problem solve and think logically, which is a core thread that runs through the entire course. Programming will be at the heart of the course and will allow students to apply their knowledge in order to solve problems by using complex algorithms. Studying Computer Science will teach students the more intricate and scientific knowledge of how computers work rather than just learning to use them. This course is particularly suitable for individuals who relish a challenge and are able to innovate independently.

The course covers:

  • System architecture
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Wired and wireless networks
  • Network topologies, protocols and layers
  • System security
  • Systems software
  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns
  • Algorithms
  • Programming techniques
  • Producing robust programs
  • Computational logic
  • Translators and facilities of language
  • Data representation

 


A Level Curriculum

A Level Computer Science will encourage learners to be inspired, motivated and challenged by following a broad, coherent, practical, satisfying and worthwhile course of study. It will provide insight into and experience of how computer science works. Stimulating learners’ curiosity and encouraging them to engage with computer science in their everyday lives and to make informed choices about further study or career choices.

The key features of this specification encourage:

  • emphasis on problem solving using computers
  • emphasis on computer programming and algorithms
  • emphasis on the mathematical skills used to express computational laws and processes