The face of computing in schools is undergoing rapid change and has become more structured in recent years. Pupils studying Computer Science at higher levels will find they will develop clear skills, over and above their counterparts. This is not simply use of computer programs, but how to develop new programs in order to solve real world problems. This subject is suitable for those who are technically minded, with an interest in technology and engineering. No prerequisite knowledge is required, as the curriculum is taught from scratch, assuming little or no knowledge of programming.
Key Stage 3:
Year 7 pupils start to use programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word within their other academic subjects, including Geography, Science, and English. In Year 8, they progress onto more technical aspects of computer science during their Mathematics lessons. They experience a hands-on introduction to computer science through programming BBC Microbits, using iPads and Swift playgrounds. In Year 9, girls have weekly lessons in Computer Science topics including game-making and design in Greenfoot Java, continued use of Swift Playgrounds and text-based programming using Python. This prepares them for their GCSE studies and allows them to make an informed decision regarding their GCSE subject options.
This course provides a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. Students learn about how computers operate, whether they are in laptops, mobile phones, or other devices. They also study what is behind the websites we use every day, learn how to program using programing language, acquire and apply creative and technical skills in a range of contexts, and evaluate the usefulness of computer solutions and their impact on society.
This varied course is broadly split into practical programming and problem solving, and also a more theoretical foundation of how computers operate. We cover elements of ethical and legal aspects of computing, as well as how networks are set up in commercial organisations. Students learn to program in high-level computer language and to understand how information is represented in computers. Pupils also complete a practical computing project which allows them to work on a real life problem that can lead to entrepreneurial ideas and commercial usefulness.
Pupils are encouraged to enrich their learning at various clubs run by the department, such as Microbit Club and Digital Leaders Club. There are also trips and projects organised for pupils in Years 10 - 13, including the launch and tracking of a high altitude weather balloon.