The Computer Science department strives to provide an engaging and challenging environment where students succeed and develop into independent, lifelong learners, equipped with the transferrable skills for life beyond Higham Lane School. We believe that Computer Science and ICT skills are essential to the development of a student in this technological age.
During Key Stage 3, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum which include both basic ICT skills and more challenging Computer Science curriculum essential to equip young learners through education and into the workplace. Topics include online safety, file organisation, binary, visual programming languages and the basic mechanics of a computer.
At Key Stage 4, we build upon the foundation at Key Stage 3 offering Computer Science. Topics include computational thinking, the technical knowledge of how computers work and ethical and cultural issues of computers in society. Alongside the theory, students are required to design, program and evaluate a computer program using Python which extends learners’ horizons beyond the school or college environment. Those who opt not to study Computer Science at GCSE level but are interested in refining their ICT skills have another option available called Creative iMedia. Students learn to create digital graphics, design their own websites, learn about Multimedia and some basic theory about Business and Marketing as well. This is very suitable course for creative minds who want to thrive in today’s digital world.
At Key Stage 5, we offer A-level Computer Science which expands on what students have covered at GCSE and gives them scope to further explore the subject in more depth and detail. Students are required to design, program and evaluate a programming project independently which provides them with a solid base to study Computer Science at university level. Students who haven’t studied computer science at GCSE level are welcome to opt for it at A-level and will be given adequate support to gain an understanding of the basic concepts.
Year 7 Curriculum
In Year 7, students will study four units and each unit will last for eight weeks. They will have the same Computer Science teacher throughout the year. The four units are :
- Using Computers safely
In this unit, students will be taught how to use computers safely, how to stay safe online, file management and using different software packages.
- Understanding Computers
In this unit, students will be exploring various components of a computer in practical sessions and these sessions will help them to understand the theory of ‘How computers work?’
- Games programming in Scratch
In this unit, students will develop their programming skills using a visual programming Scratch. In a fun way they will learn to program simple computer games.
- Control Systems with Flowol
In this unit, the focus will be on teaching how to model real world problems using flowcharts and then electronically represent these flowcharts (models) using Flowol (software program).
Year 8 Curriculum
In Year 8, students will study four units and each unit will last for eight weeks. They will have the same Computer Science teacher throughout the year. The four units are :
- E-safety Advanced
In this unit student will learn about different hazards related to online presence e.g. viruses, fraud, fake-identity, using social media safely, firewall, file-management etc.so that they can defend themselves appropriately .
- Computer crime and Cyber Security
This is an extension from the E-safety unit and students will learn about hacking, protecting personal data, copyrights and health and safety issues.
- Programming with Small Basic
In this unit students will learn a programming language, Small Basic. It’s considered good for facilitating students’ coding capabilities.
- App development in Appshed
This unit will provide an opportunity for year 8 students to develop Apps using Appshed.
Year 9 Curriculum
In Year 9, students will study component one of the GCSE curriculum. There are four units and each unit will last for eight weeks. They will have the same Computer Science teacher throughout the year.
The four units are :
Unit 1 (Systems):
This unit includes: CPU, Functions & Characteristics of CPU, Memory and Storage.
Unit 2 (Wired and Wireless Networks):
This unit includes: Internet, Local-area-network, Wireless networking, Client-Server networking, Peer-to-Peer networking and Protocols and Layers.
Unit 3 (Network Threats):
This unit includes: Identifying and preventing vulnerabilities, Operating system software and utility software.
Unit 4 (Ethics):
This unit includes:
Ethical and cultural issues, Computers in the modern world, Legislation and Privacy.
Year 10 Curriculum
In Year 10, students will study component two of the GCSE curriculum. There are six units and they will have the same teacher for the whole year.
The 4 units are:
Unit 5 (Algorithms)
This unit includes designing algorithms for common computer science problems.
Unit 6 (Programming)
This unit involves learning the key concepts of programming.
Unit 7 (Logic and Languages)
This unit involves understanding how logic gates work in relation to the mechanics of a computer.
Unit 8 (Data representation)
This unit involves understanding how numbers, text, images, sound etc. are represented in a computer system.
Year 11 Curriculum
In Year 11, students will study component three of the GCSE curriculum. In this component students’ programming skills will be tested. They will be asked to model, design, program and evaluate a computer program. The fundamental programming concepts will be revised, however, students are required to carry out this programming project independently.
Students will also get the opportunity to recap on Component 1 and Component 2 of the course in preparation for the exams sat at the end of the year.
Year 12 and Year 13 Curriculum
Component 1: Computer Systems
This component investigates computer architecture, communication, data representation, data structures, software applications, software development, algorithms and the ethical, cultural and legal impacts of Computer Science in society.
Component 2: Algorithms and Programming
This component assesses both the written and practical application of programming to solve problems. Units involve elements of computational thinking, problem solving, programming and writing algorithms to solve problems.
Component 3: Programming Project
This component allows the learner to choose their own computing based problem to solve and they will create a program that solves the problem. This program could include an application, game or simple database. This will be assessed in the form of a project write up which will usually take place in the second year of the course.
EDWARD TIMMINS, Subject Leader for Computer Science