Plymstock School ICT and Computing Department
ICT and Computing
The ICT and Computing department aims to provide high quality teaching and learning for students in not just how to use computers, networks and application software (digital literacy), but to understand how computers and networks actually work (the science of computers) and how to create their own applications (computer programming). Students will also look at how information technology (IT) is used in real-life situations and how to use IT safely and responsibly (e-safety)
In KS3 (year 7-9) all students will have one lesson of ICT/Computing per week. In KS4 students can choose to study either ICT or Computer Science at GCSE. Both of these courses are also available at A-level.
Key Stage 3
In year 7 students have a series of short units covering:
- using computer models and databases
- binary numbers and data representation
- components of computer systems and their function
- algorithms and basic programming techniques
- creating web pages and animated content
- recording and editing audio and video
In year 8 student have longer units based on a theme:
- Computer Games
- Modelling the costs of a new game
- Using a games database
- Creating their own computer games
- How networks and the Internet work
- Safe and responsible use of social networking
- Creating their own phone app
- Control technology
- Programming control systems (e.g. traffic lights, burglar alarms, etc.)
In year 9 we begin to introduce the two courses available at GCSE. Students will complete sample tasks for GCSE ICT controlled assessment (using a database, making a logo and digital advert) and then move on to GCSE Computer Science topics (text-based programming languages and how computers store and process data). This should enable them to make an informed choice between these two courses for KS4.
For the remainder of the year we give students the opportunity to develop their digital literacy skills in a wide range of packages, from spreadsheets and presentations to graphics and 3D modelling. Students who have chosen GCSE Computer Science will also get further opportunities to develop their programming skills.
We also offer a range of extra-curricular activities for key stage 3 students ranging from lunchtime or after school clubs to taking students to compete in programming competitions at Plymouth University.
At KS4 we offer two GCSE courses:
GCSE ICT teaches students how to design, create and test digital solutions to real world problems and how IT devices and networks are used. We use the Edexcel course which is made up of two components: a controlled assessment brief (CAB) worth 60% of the final mark and a final exam worth the remaining 40%. The CAB tasks include research and investigation, making a logo, digital advert and web pages, using a database and creating a spreadsheet model. Each task is reviewed using a series of guided questions.
GCSE Computer Science covers programming and how computer systems actually work. We use the AQA course which is made of three components: two projects worth 30% of the final mark each and a final exam worth the remaining 40%. The projects are chosen from four possible areas: web-technology, mobile phone apps, game development and traditional programming. Each involves designing, creating, testing, documenting and evaluating a programmed solution to a given problem.
At KS5 we offer two A-level courses:
A-level ICT covers how IT systems, devices and networks are used and managed by individuals and organisations. There is a strong link to Business Studies, but the course is suitable for students doing any other A-level course. Students will learn how to design, create and test solutions to meet client requirements. In year 12 there are two 1½ hour exams, while in year 13 there is one 2 hour exam and one extended project, where students develop their solution for a real client.
A-level Computing covers the theories behind computers and how computing devices work, as well as more advanced programming techniques in a variety of languages. A good level of Maths is very important for computing, usually at least a B at GCSE. In year 12 there are two exams, a 2 hour on-screen practical and a 1 hour written paper. In year 13 there is one 2 hour exam and one extended project, where students develop a programmed solution for a client.
During KS3 students can expect to get 2 to 3 pieces of homework per term. This reflects the fact that they only have one lesson of ICT and Computing per week.
During KS4 when students are studying a GCSE course, they can expect to get one piece of homework per fortnight. This should take between 30 and 40 minutes to complete. Alternatively a teacher may set two shorter pieces of homework on consecutive weeks.
During KS5 when students are studying an A-level course, they can expect to get one piece of homework per week from both of their A-level teachers. Each piece of homework should take between 45 and 60 minutes to complete. It is also expected that students taking an A-level course will do a further two hours of personal study and reading around the subject.