Computing

Vision Statement – “We live in a world where our lives are surrounded by ever changing computer-based Technology. Our aim is to inspire the young minds of today to embrace this technology. To provide the knowledge/skills required for students to engage confidently with up to date developments in computing, by providing an exciting and challenging curriculum”.
The increasing use of technology in all aspects of society makes confident, creative and productive use of IT an essential skill for life. Computer capability encompasses not only the mastery of technical skills and techniques but also the understanding to apply these skills purposefully, safely and responsibly. Computing is fundamental to participation and engagement in modern society.
Here at Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College, the Computing department is committed to imparting to all students the practical competence, analytical ability and communication skills necessary to work with computing technology in later life.

The study of computing at KS3 equips students with the fundamental skills in computational thinking and forges links between other areas of study such as maths, science, Geography and DT. Students are taught the basics of what constitutes a computer system and how it works. The curriculum will ensure that pupils are confident problem solvers and can independently apply this skillset to a variety of problems in their Computing lessons and in their everyday lives.

As well as improving the computational thinking of our students, it is important that are students become competent users of IT. This includes the use of the school IT network, the hardware and software that uses the network. Furthermore, the design of the curriculum will safeguard that students use the technology safely and are conscious of the dangers of the internet.

Year 7:

The course is structured into half-termly themed projects, each of which develops a variety of computing and IT skills.

• Online safety –  This unit introduces students to the importance of behaving safely when using the internet and social networking.
• Computational thinking –  Students will learn the different methods of computational thinking to create working algorithms.
• Programming –  Students will create a variety of programs using the Scratch programming language.
• Spreadsheets –  This is a practical, skills-based unit covering the principles of creating and formatting basic spreadsheets to produce and use simple computer models.
• Hardware and software –  The introduction to hardware and software that are necessary components in a computer system.
• Maths in computing (binary) –  An introduction to binary and how to convert between binary and denary and how text is represented using ASCII.

Year 8:

The Year 8 course develops on their understanding of the concepts learnt in Year 7, whilst also introducing new topics.

• Online safety – This unit introduces the students to the importance of monitoring their online presence and the dangers of sexting.
• Searching and sorting algorithms – An introduction on how a computer searches and sorts data in an efficient way.
• Programming – Students will create a variety of programs using the Python programming language on the BBC Micro:Bit.
• Spreadsheets – This is a practical, skills-based unit covering the principles of creating and formatting spreadsheets using more complex formulas and functions.
• Cyber security – The aim of this unit is to teach students about cyber security and its importance in protecting a computer system.
• Computer control systems – This is a practical unit that allows the students to create a control system using Flowol.
• Maths in computing (binary) – This unit develops on the students understanding of binary and how images are stored as binary.
• Graphics project – Students to develop their understanding of image theory and how they it is used in the creation of graphics. The students will apply their theory of images in the creation of an image using Fireworks.

Year 9:

The Year 9 course develops on their understanding of the concepts learnt in Year 8, whilst also introducing new topics.

• Computational thinking – Students will learn the different methods of computational thinking to create working algorithms.
• Website design – Students to develop their understanding of website design. They will apply the theory they have learnt to create a basic webpage.
• Programming – Students will create a variety of programs using the Python programming language using the software Thonny
• Networking – An introduction to networking hardware and how the hardware is linked to make a working network.
• Maths in computing – This unit develops on the students understanding of binary and how sound is stored as binary.
• Computer control systems – This is a practical unit that allows the students to create a control system using Flowol.
• Online Safety – This unit introduces the students to fake news and how the WWW can be manipulate a viewer.

Key Stage 3 Assessment

All students have homework set at least once in the two-week timetable cycle. This will be one piece of Computing homework a fortnight. The homework will be assessed in a variety of ways, this will allow the students to receive feedback on their completed work.
Students will have a minimum of one graded piece of work per half term. The school grading system of 1- 9 will be used to grade the student’s work. Each student will have formative comments in the form of successes and next steps. The next steps will allow the students to reflect on their work using their purple pen.

 

Key Stage 4

In KS4 pupils have the option to develop their skills and knowledge with Computer Science, Information Technology and Creative iMedia courses.

The students are given the option to take a route with a mixture of traditional and vocational courses. These include: GCSE Computer Science, Cambridge National in Creative iMedia and BTEC Digital Information Technology.

The department offers courses to suit a range of learning styles, they courses help pupils learn the skills, knowledge and understanding of Computing/IT.

OCR GCSE Computing Science

This course gives students a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. Students will no doubt be familiar with the use of computers and other related technology from their other subjects and elsewhere. However, this course will give them an insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, including computer programming and the physical technology itself.

The course is broken down into two 50% exams.

Cambridge National in Creative iMedia

The Cambridge National in Creative iMedia provides candidates with high quality, industry-recognised qualification. It is a vocational qualification that provides valuable opportunities for individuals to develop online skills and gain underpinning knowledge and understanding, which will support entry into the Creative Media sector.
The course provides opportunities for candidates to develop skills and techniques in a wide range of multimedia assignments, e.g. graphical design, digital photography, web design and video.

The course is broken down to 75% coursework and 25% exam.

BTEC Digital Information Technology

The Award gives learners the opportunity to develop sector-specific knowledge and skills in a practical learning environment. It is a vocational qualification with main focuses on four areas of equal importance, which cover development of key skills that prove aptitude in digital information technology, such as project planning, designing and creating user interfaces, creating dashboards to present and interpret data.
The course is broken down to 60% coursework and 40% exam.

Key stage 4 and 5 assessment:

Theory

Theory books/online documents will be assessed on a regular basis and formative feedback will be provided, this will include successes and next steps. The students are given the opportunity to respond to feedback or given progress tasks to complete in their MRI pen.

Each unit will end in a test which will use exam style questions to assess the students understanding of the topics. The students will be graded and given next steps on how to improve their understanding of the questions.

Practical

Summative assessment is completed as per the exam board requirements. We are not allowed to provide formative feedback during any assessment period.
Coursework grades are collected by the teacher and shared with the students before submission.

Progress data

Teachers will award a holistic grade that represents a student’s current performance across both theory and coursework.

How do we know students engage with feedback?

Through the regular use of the student response to feedback in their end of unit feedback sheets. Students will also respond to the progress tasks on the media that the feedback was documented.

How is the feedback monitored?

We consistently scrutinise student’s work through: lesson observations, learning walks, shared practice and work sampling (a robust rigorous process which we do regularly to ensure consistency across the classes).

OCR A level Computer Science

This course gives students the opportunity to apply the academic principles of Computer Science learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It’s an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, that can look at the natural world through a digital prism.
The aims of this qualification are to enable learners to develop:

• An understanding and ability to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including: abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation.
• The ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including writing programs to do so.
• The capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
• The capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science.
The course is broken down to 80% exam and 20% coursework.

Cambridge Technical in IT

The objective of this qualification is to provide learners with the opportunity through applied learning to develop the core specialist knowledge, skills and understanding required in the IT sector. These include:

• Technical Skills: using a range of hardware and software.
• Project Management skills: organising and management IT based projects.
• Cognitive and problem-solving skills: use critical thinking; approach non-routine problems applying expert and creative solutions; and use systems and technology.
• Intrapersonal skills: communicating; working collaboratively; negotiating and influencing; and self-presentation.
• Interpersonal skills: self-management; adaptability and resilience; self-monitoring and development.
• We offer the Application Developer route which includes a range of theory and practical units to give candidates the knowledge and skills required to work in the IT industry.
The course is broken down to 50% coursework and 50% exam.

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Digital Media

This vocational qualification is designed for learners who want to study digital media concept and product development. Learners can take up to 7 units, three mandatory and between 2 and 4 optional units.

Learners will study the following mandatory units:
• Media products and audiences
• Pre-production and planning
• Create a media product
These units will give learners an understanding of how different media institutions operate to create products that appeal to specific target audiences. They will gain knowledge and understanding of the pre-production, planning and production processes and go on to create a media product.
The course is broken down to 50% coursework and 50% exam.

Key stage 4 and 5 assessment:

Theory

Theory books/online documents will be assessed on a regular basis and formative feedback will be provided, this will include successes and next steps. The students are given the opportunity to respond to feedback or given progress tasks to complete in their MRI pen.

Each unit will end in a test which will use exam style questions to assess the students understanding of the topics. The students will be graded and given next steps on how to improve their understanding of the questions.

Practical

Summative assessment is completed as per the exam board requirements. We are not allowed to provide formative feedback during any assessment period.
Coursework grades are collected by the teacher and shared with the students before submission.

Progress data

Teachers will award a holistic grade that represents a student’s current performance across both theory and coursework.

How do we know students engage with feedback?

Through the regular use of the student response to feedback in their end of unit feedback sheets. Students will also respond to the progress tasks on the media that the feedback was documented.

How is the feedback monitored?

We consistently scrutinise student’s work through: lesson observations, learning walks, shared practice and work sampling (a robust rigorous process which we do regularly to ensure consistency across the classes).