ICT and Computing

Plymstock School ICT and Computing Department

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 (Years 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

Each year in Key Stage 3 enables students to explore a series of Computing and ICT topics through extended projects that last approximately a term.  The ultimate aim of these projects is to improve both digital literacy and understanding of computing’s role in modern society.

In Year 7 students have a series of short units covering:

  • Digital Literacy
  • Programming Basics – Through the use of Scratch
  • E-Safety

In Year 8 students have longer units based on a theme:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Components of a Computer
  • Text based Programming

In Year 9 we begin to introduce the two courses available at GCSE.  Students will complete sample tasks for the iMedia course as well as undertaking some theory topics and programming tasks for the GCSE Computer Science.  This will 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 3-D modelling.  Students who have chosen GCSE Computer Science will also get further opportunities to develop their programming skills.

GCSE courses

At KS4 we offer two GCSE courses:

Cambridge Nationals – iMedia allows students to explore the process in planning, creating and reviewing digital media products.  They will complete units in Digital Graphics, Interactive Multimedia and Web Design.

GCSE Computer Science covers programming and how computer systems actually work.  We use the OCR course which is 100% examined at the end of the course.  Students will study a range of Computer Science concepts, from Systems Architecture to Sorting/Searching Algorithms.

Students will also have the opportunity to undertake a significant amount of programming, taking their first steps in learning the Python programming language.

A-level courses

At KS5 we offer A Level Computer Science

A-level Computer Science 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, at least a 6 at GCSE.  This course is 80% exam with a Programming Project that contributes the final 20% of their grade.

 

Homework Expectations

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 Computer Science, students can expect to receive a home learning task following each sub-topic/concept.  This will approximately relate to three theory home learning tasks per week.  This will be accompanied by a weekly programming task that will be submitted for feedback.

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