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Computer Science

Curriculum

Our aim is to provide students with an engaging Computing curriculum which develops all of their ICT, Computer Science and Digital Literacy capabilities. This includes developing skills in spreadsheet, database, video editing, photo editing and text and block based coding software programs to allow for these skills to be used in the Digital World. Students learn to become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of ICT. Students also learn to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, analyse problems using computational and algorithmic thinking and write programs to solve specific problems.

In Years 7 and 8 Computing is taught within the L4L themes. For example in the Silent Movie theme students learn to design, create, edit and test audio/moving images products. In the iRobot theme students learn to apply their algorithmic and computational logic skills to design, create and test programs using a block coding programming language. In the Water theme students learn about the various sources of information and the reliability and validity of these sources when creating a Charity Advert.

In Year 9 students complete discrete Computing units of work within their L4L lessons.

At Key Stage 4 we offer both ICT and Computer Science courses. Students have the opportunity to complete a BTEC in Creative Media Production or the GCSE in Computer Science.

The department also supports the enrichment timetable at lunchtimes and after school by providing access to ICT facilities for students to use in an educational manner.

The BTEC Tech Award in Creative Media Production can help you take your first steps towards a career in the digital industry. You’ll learn essential skills such as planning and creating a digital media product, digital publishing and producing a website.

Creative Media Production is designed to enhance your enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of the media and its role in your daily life. The course introduces you both to media ideas and the practice of production, which gives you the chance to develop a real understanding of media platforms, the contemporary media landscape and the influential role of the media in today’s society.

The rationale behind the qualification is to:

  • Inspire and enthuse learners to consider a career in the creative media industries, rather than just to participate in media recreationally, for example surfing the web or playing video games
  • Give learners the opportunity to gain a broad understanding and knowledge, and develop skills, across the creative media sectors, e.g. moving image, audio production, games design, website design and publishing
  • Support progression to a more specialised level 3 vocational or academic media qualification or an apprenticeship

The qualification consists of three components of work:

  • Component 1: Exploring Media Products – in this component learners will develop their understanding of how media products create meaning for their audiences. Learners will examine existing products and explore media production techniques.
  • Component 2: Developing Digital Media Production Skills – in this component learners will develop skills and techniques in media production processes by reworking media products from one, or all, of the following sectors: audio/moving image, publishing and interactive design.
  • Component 3: Create a Media Product in Response to a Brief – in this component learners will apply and develop their planning and production skills and techniques to create a media product in response to a client brief.

Components 1 and 2 are internally assessed and make up 60% of the qualification. Internal assessment enables learners to receive feedback on their progress throughout the course as they gather and provide evidence towards meeting the unit assessment criteria.

Component 3 is externally assessment through completing a set of tasks under exam conditions and makes up the remaining 40% of the qualification.

For further information see Mrs J Sihota, Head of ICT

The GCSE in Computer Science is a fun and challenging qualification that will enable you to:

  • Understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation
  • Analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs
  • Think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • Understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
  • Understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society
  • Apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science.

The qualification consists of three units of work. Two units are externally assessed through a written exam taken at the end of Year 11. One unit of work is assessed internally through the completion of a 20 hour controlled assessment. The units of work comprise of the following:

  • Component 1 – Computer Systems – 1 ½ hour exam (50%)
  • Component 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programming – 1 ½ hour exam (50%)
  • Component 3 – Programming Project – to be completed over 20 hours under controlled assessment conditions

Component 1 – Computer Systems

You will study the following:

  • Systems Architecture
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Wired and wireless networks
  • Network topologies, protocols and layers
  • System security
  • System software
  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

Component 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

You will study the following:

  • Algorithms
  • Programming techniques
  • Producing robust programs
  • Computational logic
  • Translators and facilities of languages
  • Data representation

Component 3 – Programming project

Students must create a program using a high level programming language to solve a problem set by the examining board.

For further information see Mrs J Sihota, Head of ICT

Mrs J Sihota

Head of Department

I have a BSC (Hons) Computer Science (Multimedia Technology) degree and a MA in Creative and Critical Practice in Educational Settings Master’s degree. I started teaching in 2003 and have been teaching at Thorns since 2011.