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Computer Science

Course description 

Attleborough Academy Norfolk has built a corporate standard Microsoft Windows network. We have in addition to this, virtual machines and a multiclass resource bank of Raspberry Pi computers. We have three dedicated computing rooms available for curriculum use and four cross-curricular rooms which can be booked by any subject. This, supported by laptop and tablet provision within subjects, means that we deliver a rich computing and ICT curriculum to the whole school. At Key Stage 3 pupils are timetabled two hours a fortnight of Computer science. At Key stage 4 pupils select to study Computer Science as an option and everyone does core ICT ,timetabled two hours a fortnight.

Computer Science, including ICT is compulsory for all students in Years 7 and 8. Students are then continue with core ICT and select if to study Computer Science at Key Stage 4. Selecting Computer Science will provide these students with a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and how to program. Students will, no doubt, be familiar with the use of computers and other related technology from their other subjects and elsewhere. However, GCSE Computer Science will give them an insight into what goes on 'behind the scenes', including computer programming, which students find absorbing. The Core ICT will cover the practical use of software applications in order to deliver a practical solution to a particular audience for a specific purpose. This can cover image manipulation, presentation of information, manipulation of data, multimedia and much more besides.

Key Stage 3 

The program of study that all students follow prepares them for both ICT and Computer Science study as KS4 and includes work using the following:

  • Office 365 2016 Professional
  • Google Docs
  • Adobe Design Premium CS5.5
  • Scratch
  • Python
  • Open Source applications including Inkscape and GIMP

Students will also use many more applications used in other subject areas including:

  • Kartouche (MacBeth, Bullying and Drugs Awareness; story boards/animations)
  • Crocodile Clips (Physics, Chemistry and Technology; used for simulations)
  • ProDesktop (used for 2D and 3D CAD work)

We are continuously developing the resources and tasks for Key Stage 3 however, the school reinforces e-Safety throughout the key stages by educating students using current relevant issues in the social medium.

Key Stage 4 

ICT

Core ICT will work towards the TLM Level 2 certificate for IT User Skills in Open Systems and Enterprise (QCF) ) or the Cambridge Nationals Creative iMedia Level 1/2 Certificate. This provides fantastic opportunities to work with a variety of technologies and offers choices such as drawing and graphics work, web design, games design or computing, making it both engaging and enjoyable. The qualification has been designed to nurture digital literacy and provide students with up-to-date skills, knowledge and understanding of the rapidly developing digital world around them. The course was developed to offer more choice.

This qualification aims to:

  • Equip young people with the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to design and make effective digital products for others to use
  • Enable young people to use digital tools as a means of expression to inform, persuade and entertain
  • Foster young people's creativity and develop their learning skills
  • Challenge young people to reflect on what they produce and strive for excellence
  • Increase young people's awareness of their responsibilities in the digital world and their respect of other people's rights
  • Give young people the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to support their future learning and exploit the creative digital industries

 

Computer Science

Those students who select Computer Science will work towards the OCR Computer Science GCSE. Computer Science continues to advance rapidly and the way in which technology is consumed has also been changing at a fast pace over recent years. The growth in the use of mobile devices and web-related technologies has exploded, resulting in new challenges for employers and employees. This course aims to provide those businesses with technologically aware individuals who are able to program and create the applications of tomorrow.

Students who have taken a GCSE in Computer Science and then progress to study this subject at A level or University, will have an advantage over their colleagues who are picking up the subject at these levels for the first time. These students will already have developed critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming. For many students, it will be a fun and interesting way to develop these skills which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied to day-to-day life.

Homework 

All units in Key Stage 3 have homework that builds upon the topic being covered in lessons. It is expected that all homework is completed and should take no longer than thirty minutes each time. In Key Stages 4 and 5, teaching staff will try and limit homework that uses application software for those who have limited computer facilities at home. Students will have to take responsibility for handing work in on time. There can be no extension to deadlines except in cases of illness. Students must, therefore, be aware that they will be required in some circumstances to complete more work at home. Homework will involve both programming and theory content. Both will require the use of software that is free and available online.

Books, Equipment, Materials and Resources Recommended/Needed

A computer with internet access at home would give students an advantage on this course.  However, it is also anticipated that some students will only be able to work at school.

Attleborough Academy Norfolk hosts a range of software for use within school both in lessons and at lunchtime or after school. Educational licenses are available from a number of companies, providing the students with a home version of the software at a heavily discounted rate.  The Academy also provide for home installation on up tp 5 machines of the Office 365 suite of software at the latest version currently Office 2016 at no charge whilst a member of the Academy.

Opportunities For Study Beyond Key Stage 4 

These qualifications provide a broad and solid foundation for further study of various aspects of creative computing, such as graphic design, web design, computer games design and interactive media, leading to rich choices for study at Key Stage 5.

Students have the option of GCE Computer Science that is a course not about learning to use tools or just training in a programming language. Instead, the emphasis is on computational thinking. Computational thinking is a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines. Thinking computationally means using abstraction and decomposition. The study of computation is about what can be computed and how to compute it. Computer Science involves questions that have the potential to change how we view the world. For example, we may be computing with DNA at some stage in the future with computer circuits made of genes.

Career Opportunities Supported By This Subject 

These courses will provide excellent preparation for learners who want to work in ICT or computing areas such as network support, project management, programming, game design or systems design.