Computing

Why is the subject important?

Computing is how computers and computer systems work, how they are designed and programmed, how to apply computational thinking and how to make best use of information technology. It aims to give students a broad education that encourages creativity and equips them with the knowledge and skills to understand and change the world. Computing brings new challenges and opportunities that should excite and empower students.

Computing incorporates techniques and methods for solving problems and advancing knowledge, and includes a distinct way of thinking and working that sets it apart from other disciplines. The role of programming in computer science is similar to that of practical work in other sciences – it provides motivation and a context within which ideas are brought to life.

The Royal Society has identified three distinct strands within computing, each of which is complementary to the others:

  • Computer science is the scientific and practical study of computation: what can be computed, how to compute it, and how computation may be applied to the solution of problems.
  • Information technology is concerned with how computers and telecommunications equipment work, and how they may be applied to the storage, retrieval, transmission and manipulation of data.
  • Digital literacy is the ability to effectively, responsibly, safely and critically navigate, evaluate and create digital artefacts using a range of digital technologies.

Each component is essential in preparing students to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Year 7

What will I be studying?

  • Digital Citizenship – This unit has been designed to ensure that learners are given sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the school network. It also allows the teacher to discuss appropriate use of the school network, and to update and remind learners of important online safety issues. Whilst completing this unit, students will also learn how to use presentation software effectively. In terms of online safety, this unit focuses on respecting others online, identifying strangers, and the effects of cyberbullying.
  • Computing Systems – It is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles of computer architecture and use of binary. Students will look at the Input-Process-Output sequence and the Fetch-Decode-Execute cycle through practical activities. Pupils will then look at some simple binary to decimal conversion and vice versa, and learn how text characters are represented using the ASCII code. This will be followed by some simple binary addition. Pupils will learn in more depth how storage devices represent data using binary patterns and physically save these patterns. Finally, they will look at a brief history of communication devices, how new technologies and applications are emerging and the pace of change.
  • Modelling Data – Spreadsheets – The spreadsheet unit takes students from having very little knowledge of spreadsheets to being able to confidently model data with a spreadsheet. The unit uses engaging activities to progress learners from using basic formulas to writing their own COUNTIF statements. This unit will give learners a good set of skills that they can use in computing lessons and in other subject areas.
  • Networks – This unit begins by defining a network and addressing the benefits of networking, before covering how data is transmitted across networks using protocols. The types of hardware required are explained, as is wired and wireless data transmission. Students will develop an understanding of the terms ‘internet’ and ‘World Wide Web’, and of the key services and protocols used. Practical exercises are included throughout to help strengthen understanding.
  • Using Media – During this unit, students develop their understanding of information technology and digital literacy skills. They will use the skills learnt across the unit to create a blog post about a real-world cause that they would like to gain support for. Students will develop software formatting skills and explore concerns surrounding the use of other people’s work, including licensing and legal issues.
  • Programming essentials in Scratch part 1 – This unit is the first programming unit of KS3. The aim of this unit is to build learners’ confidence and knowledge of the key programming constructs. Importantly, this unit does not assume any previous programming experience, but it does offer students the opportunity to expand on their knowledge throughout the unit. The main programming concepts covered in this unit are sequencing, variables, selection, and count-controlled iteration.

How will I be assessed? 

Students will complete three written assessments.

Which websites should I use to support my learning?

What will I be studying? 

  • Digital Citizenship – This unit has been designed to ensure that learners are given sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the school network. It also allows the teacher to discuss appropriate use of the school network, and to update and remind learners of important online safety issues. Whilst completing this unit, students will also learn how to use presentation software effectively. In terms of online safety, this unit focuses on respecting others online, identifying strangers, and the effects of cyberbullying.
  • Using Media – During this unit, students develop their understanding of information technology and digital literacy skills. They will use the skills learnt across the unit to create a blog post about a real-world cause that they would like to gain support for. Students will develop software formatting skills and explore concerns surrounding the use of other people’s work, including licensing and legal issues.
  • Programming essentials in Scratch part 1 – This unit is the first programming unit of KS3. The aim of this unit is to build learners’ confidence and knowledge of the key programming constructs. Importantly, this unit does not assume any previous programming experience, but it does offer students the opportunity to expand on their knowledge throughout the unit. The main programming concepts covered in this unit are sequencing, variables, selection, and count-controlled iteration.
  • Networks – This unit begins by defining a network and addressing the benefits of networking, before covering how data is transmitted across networks using protocols. The types of hardware required are explained, as is wired and wireless data transmission. Students will develop an understanding of the terms ‘internet’ and ‘World Wide Web’, and of the key services and protocols used. Practical exercises are included throughout to help strengthen understanding.
  • Representations – from clay to silicon – This unit conveys essential knowledge relating to binary representations. The activities gradually introduces students to binary digits and how they can be used to represent text and numbers. The concepts are linked to practical applications and problems that the students are familiar with.
  • Mobile App Development –  This unit aims to take the students from designer to project manager to developer in order to create their own mobile app. Using App Lab from code.org, students will familiarise themselves with the coding environment and have an opportunity to build on the programming concepts they used in previous units before undertaking their project. Students will work in pairs to consider the needs of the user; decompose the project into smaller, more manageable parts; use the pair programming approach to develop their app together; and finish off by evaluating the success of the project against the needs of the user.

How will I be assessed? 

Students will complete three written assessments

Which websites should I use to support my learning?

What will I be studying?

  • Digital Citizenship – This unit has been designed to ensure that learners are given sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the school network. It also allows the teacher to discuss appropriate use of the school network, and to update and remind learners of important online safety issues. Whilst completing this unit, students will also learn how to use presentation software effectively. In terms of online safety, this unit focuses on respecting others online, identifying strangers, and the effects of cyberbullying.
  • Using Media – During this unit, students develop their understanding of information technology and digital literacy skills. They will use the skills learnt across the unit to create a blog post about a real-world cause that they would like to gain support for. Students will develop software formatting skills and explore concerns surrounding the use of other people’s work, including licensing and legal issues.
  • Programming essentials in Scratch part 1 – This unit is the first programming unit of KS3. The aim of this unit is to build learners’ confidence and knowledge of the key programming constructs. Importantly, this unit does not assume any previous programming experience, but it does offer students the opportunity to expand on their knowledge throughout the unit.The main programming concepts covered in this unit are sequencing, variables, selection, and count-controlled iteration.
  • Networks – This unit begins by defining a network and addressing the benefits of networking, before covering how data is transmitted across networks using protocols. The types of hardware required are explained, as is wired and wireless data transmission. Students will develop an understanding of the terms ‘internet’ and ‘World Wide Web’, and of the key services and protocols used. Practical exercises are included throughout to help strengthen understanding.
  • Representations – from clay to silicon – This unit conveys essential knowledge relating to binary representations. The activities gradually introduces students to binary digits and how they can be used to represent text and numbers. The concepts are linked to practical applications and problems that the students are familiar with.
  • Mobile App Development – This unit aims to take the students from designer to project manager to developer in order to create their own mobile app. Using App Lab from code.org, students will familiarise themselves with the coding environment and have an opportunity to build on the programming concepts they used in previous units before undertaking their project. Students will work in pairs to consider the needs of the user; decompose the project into smaller, more manageable parts; use the pair programming approach to develop their app together; and finish off by evaluating the success of the project against the needs of the user.
  • Modelling Data – Spreadsheets – The spreadsheet unit takes students from having very little knowledge of spreadsheets to being able to confidently model data with a spreadsheet. The unit uses engaging activities to progress learners from using basic formulas to writing their own COUNTIF statements. Students will also learn a range of advanced functions to model data.  This unit will give learners a good set of advanced skills so that they can use in computing lessons and in other subject areas.
  • Programming essentials in Scratch part 2 – This unit develops programming skills further. Students will build on their understanding of the control structures’ sequence, selection, and iteration (the big three), and develop their problem-solving skills. Students will learn how to create their own subroutines, develop their understanding of decomposition, learn how to create and use lists, and build upon their problem-solving skills by working through a larger project at the end of the unit.
  • Representations – going audiovisual – In this unit, students will focus on digital media such as images and sounds, and discover the binary digits that lie beneath these types of media. Students will draw on familiar examples of composing images out of individual elements, mixing elementary colours to produce new ones, and taking samples of analogue signals, to illustrate these ideas and bring them together in a coherent narrative. This unit also has a significant practical aspect. Students will use relevant software (GIMP and Audacity) to manipulate images and sounds and gain an understanding of how the underlying principles of digital representations are applied in real settings. This unit builds on the material from unit, ‘Representations: from clay to silicon’.
  • Cyber Security – This unit takes the students on an eye-opening journey of discovery about techniques used by cybercriminals to steal data, disrupt systems, and infiltrate networks. The students will start by considering the value of their data to organisations and what they might use it for. They will then look at social engineering techniques used by cybercriminals to try to trick users into giving away their personal data. The unit will look at the more common cybercrimes such as hacking, DDoS attacks, and malware, as well as looking at methods to protect ourselves and our networks against these attacks.
  • Introduction to Python Programming – This unit introduces learners to text-based programming with Python. The lessons form a journey that starts with simple programs involving input and output, and gradually moves on through arithmetic operations, randomness, selection, and iteration. Emphasis is placed on tackling common misconceptions and elucidating the mechanics of program execution. A range of pedagogical tools is employed throughout the unit, with the most prominent being pair programming, live coding, and worked examples.
  • IT and the World of Work – This unit will facilitate a deeper comprehension of the methods employed by organisations and the impact the use of IT in the working environment has on all stakeholders. These methods include the manner in which collaborative and communication tools facilitate remote and mobile work patterns, the advantages and disadvantages to the workforce and organisations, issues surrounding accessibility and inclusivity, platforms that promote collaboration and communication, and the social, moral, and ethical impact these methods have.

In 2020-21, Students in Year 9 will initially complete the Year 8 units of work before progressing to the Year 9 units as they have 2 hours per week of Computing.

How will I be assessed? 

Students will complete three written assessments.

Which websites should I use to support my learning?

What will I be studying?

  • J277/01: Computer systems
    • 1 .1 Systems architecture
    • 1.2 Memory and storage
    • 1.3 Computer networks, connections and protocols
    • 1.4 Network security
    • 1.5 Systems software
    • 1.6 Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impacts of digital technology
  • J277/02: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming
    • 2.1 Algorithms
    • 2.2 Programming fundamentals
    • 2.3 Producing robust programs
    • 2.4 Boolean logic
    • 2.5 Programming languages and Integrated Development Environments

How will I be assessed?

  • J277/01: Computer systems
    • Written paper: 1 hour and 30 minutes
    • 50% of total GCSE
    • 80 marks
    • This is a non-calculator paper.
    • All questions are mandatory.
    • This paper consists of multiple choice questions,
    • Short response questions and extended response questions.
  • J277/02: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming
    • Written paper: 1 hour and 30 minutes
    • 50% of total GCSE
    • 80 marks
    • This is a non-calculator paper.
    • This paper has two sections: Section A and Section B. Students must answer both sections.
    • All questions are mandatory.
    • In Section B, questions assessing students’ ability to write or refine algorithms must be answered using either the OCR Exam Reference Language or the high-level programming language they are familiar with.

Which examination board am I following? 

Exam Board: www.ocr.org.uk/gcsecomputerscience

Specification: https://ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/computer-science-j277-from-2020/

Website: www.ocr.org.uk/gcsecomputerscience

Which websites should I use to support my learning?

Ofsted Outstanding Provider