Computing Key Information
“Computer science empowers students to create the world of tomorrow.”
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
Why study Computing?
Computers touch every aspect of our everyday lives from the moment that we wake up to sundown. We live in a fully digital world, where borders, timelines and oceans have shrunk thanks to Computing and we have never been more connected before. If something happens on the other side of the world, we can live through it too thanks to Computing. We are empowered as digital citizens but with that new power comes great responsibility. Learning Computing gives you the tools to master this brave new digital world.
The industry offers a plethora of opportunities for students, through various paths, be it down a more academic route to study traditional Computer Science at university or through a more practical approach exploring ICT and the Creative industry via BTECs and apprenticeships. Beyond your studies, being digitally fluent means that you have more options at your fingertips. Want to be the next Elon Musk? The next Ada Lovelace? If you want to make waves, Computing is where you need to be.
The Computing Department has one teacher with one non-specialist staff teaching 2 lessons a week. Mrs Roberts is the Head of Computing and has a B.Sc. (Hons) in Computer Science with Management and a M.Sc. in Information Security (better known as Cybersecurity now). She is also completing a part time M.A in Strategic Leadership. Mrs Roberts has had experience working in the Computing, Marketing and PR industries as an Analyst, senior management roles in Business Development & Marketing in the Aeronautical industry, a lecturer for Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma level courses and then later as a Business Strategy Consultant and MD of various small business start-ups before she decided to change careers and become a teacher in 2018.
Course followed/Exam board
At KS3 we follow the Teach Computing curriculum as well as supplementary units and lessons that are designed in house.
At KS4 we study two courses:
- OCR GCSE in Computer Science
- Pearsons BTEC Tech Awards Level 1/2 in Creative Media Production
Skills the students will develop
Broadly speaking our students develop knowledge of three main pillars of progression as recognised by the Royal Society and in tandem with the requirements for the National Curriculum:
- Computer science
- Information technology
- Digital literacy
Our innovative curriculum is designed with both declarative and procedural knowledge taught and connected within our scheme of work and is the backbone of all technology use by our students. We also put a great deal of emphasis on the awe and wonder that Computing can stimulate in students at Key Stage Three. This means appealing to the students through parallel interests such as game based learning and competitive scenarios where students can learn to be more autonomous, develop their competency and a sense of belonging.
Seen as the core of Computing, Computer Science consists of knowledge of computers and computation, including concepts such as data, system architecture, algorithms and programming.
Computational thinking and problem solving is also mentioned in the National curriculum and is an important part of Computer Science. We interweave this into our curriculum throughout Year 7, 8 through to 9 and it is inherently practised in KS4.
Information Technology provides a context for the use of computers in society. This covers use of software such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel and more. It also covers the creation of digital artefacts such as videos. We aim to embed these skills throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, focusing in Year 7 on establishing a baseline level of declarative and procedural knowledge and revisiting these skills at each stage as the students move up the years.
To build up our breadth and depth of knowledge we also teach the history of Computer Science and common use of technology beyond school, including the WWW and the internet. This is interwoven into our curriculum and may be paired with units that require the creation of digital artefacts to further use students declarative and procedural knowledge.
Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. In KS3 our task is to bring all students to the same level of proficiency using digital devices. We ensure that e-safety is taught in Year 7 and Year 8 as well as a standalone unit in Cybersecurity in Year 9. This is a good example of how our curriculum makes use of semantic waves in planning sequencing across the years.
Future careers and vocations
Cybersecurity Careers – e.g. Analyst, Ethical Hacker – salaries start at £85,000 to 120,000
Data Scientist – Salaries start at £47,000 to £120,000
Software Engineer – Salaries start at £44,000
Artificial Intelligence – £58,000 onwards
Tech Start Up Business Owner
Business Intelligence Analyst
Competitions feature prominently in the Computing Department.
BEBRAS Computational Challenge
Introduced for the first time in 2021/22. All Year groups from Year 7 to Year 11 inclusive take part in the BEBRAS Computational Challenge Competition in November of each year. This was started for the first time in 2021 with promising results, with 5 students (3 Year 10s and 2 Year 7s) qualifying in the top 10% of all entries worldwide & getting an invitation to take part in the prestigious Oxford University Computing Challenge. We are hoping that as this competition becomes a regular fixture in the school calendar that more students will engage with this.
Oxford Computing Challenge (see above)
All year groups take part
Professor Cody Coding Competition Summer Term
This is open to Year 7 and this year the theme was Climate Change. Students need to create a Scratch program.
CyberCenturion Autumn to Spring Term
Cybersecurity challenge amongst UK schools. 3 rounds and final is in London.
Amazon GetIt Competition Spring Term
Introduced for the first time in 2021/22 – Competition for Year 8 students designing an app and real world applications to solve problems in today’s world.
The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition
Aimed at Gifted and Talented students who also have an interest in Maths.
All years can take part.
CyberFirst Girls Competition Autumn Term to Spring Term
Introducing this in 2022/23
Cybersecurity competition aimed at girls in Year 8.
Competition that we focus on during Computer Science club.
Gender Balance in Computing Trial 2021-2022
Computing Club KS3
Year 11 – Focus Club
Reading for pleasure
Once upon an algorithm, how stories explain computing by Martin Erwig
Blood, sweat and pixels – the triumphant, turbulent stories behind how video games are made by Jason Schreier
Computational Fairytales by Jeremy Kubica
100 things to know about numbers, computers and coding
Clear Revise OCR GCSE Computer Science
PG Online OCR GCSE Computer Science Textbook
Reading for parents
- W3Schools Online Web Tutorials
- Khan Academy | Free Online Courses, Lessons & Practice
- Hidden Figures
- The Imitation Game
- The Matrix