The Computing and IT curriculum at St Mary’s envisions a future in which students
- Critically engage in public discussion on computer science topics;
- Develop as learners, users, and creators of computer science knowledge and artifacts;
- Better understand the role of computing in the world around them; and
- Use technology to learn, perform, and express themselves in other subjects and interests.
The link below allows you to see when topics may be covered; this is a guide for information only and has the potential to change as the year progresses.
Key Stage 3
The ICT Curriculum at Key Stage 3 consists of 3 sections which are: E-Safety, Information Technology (IT) and Computing.
Year 7 Beginning, Emerging or Attempting
Term 1: Baseline Testing, Introduction to the school network, Safe use of Email and School VLE.
Introduction to a text-based programming language (Python), use of the turtle module to explore - basic maths on variables, Boolean and comparative operators and a limited attempt at using Micro Python for BBC Micro:bit.
- Computer Basics: Students are introduced to some computer science basics such as hardware, software, data representation (Number systems) and networks.
- Computer Modelling: Students are introduced to data modelling using spreadsheets. The topic uses water as focal point – students model their water usage and explore the global issue of water usage. They compare their water usage to people in underprivileged areas of the world. They discuss ways in which they can save water and model these ways using a spreadsheet.
Year 8: Developing or competent
Term 1: Code web pages using HTML and CSS Technologies
- Students undertake a web design project - skills they acquire include:
- Responsible use of the internet (E-safety)
- Basics of HTML
- Code web pages using HTML
- Use div tags to layout content
- Control layout and presentation of web pages by writing external style sheets
- Learn about image properties, optimisation
- Creation of hyperlinks both internal and external links are used.
Term 2: Introduction to programming using a textual language (Python)
Students are introduced to a text based programming language. They solve computational problems by applying the following concepts:
- User Input and output, use of variables
- Introduction to data types (String, Integer and Boolean)
- Write simple programs which use the key programming constructs (Sequencing, Selection statements (if…else, if ….. elif…else), nested ifs may be discussed, count and condition controlled loops), use of simple built in and custom functions.
Term 3 - Game Design with Game Maker
In this unit students will be introduced to event driven programming using Game Maker Studio, they begin by reverse-engineering an existing game. They then progress to planning and developing their own games, learning to incorporate variables, events, and actions, and making use of object-orientated programming techniques. Finally, they will learn to test and debug their programs.
Year 9: Confident, convincing or skilful
Term 1: Students study the following aspects of computer systems:
Computer Systems Fundamentals:
- Computer systems model, importance of computer systems in the modern world
- The CPU and the fetch decode execute cycle
- Writing Basic assembly coding programs using Littleman computer Simulator, different types of memory and importance of memory
- The operating systems, its functions and different types of user interfaces
- Why data in computer systems is represented in binary, number conversions – binary to denary, binary to Hex, Hex to denary and vice versa, character sets ASCII and UNICODE encoding
- Representation of images and Sound.
Term 2: Animal Farm Project
The ICT department collaborates with the English department this term to help students prepare for the book they are about to start studying in their English lessons. This book is called ‘Animal Farm’. Within their IT lessons students gain transferable IT skills by researching and creating digital artefacts / products. The products and the research they undertake is based on events and characters in the book.
ICT Skills developed include:
- Being able to choose reliable information sources and check information source plausibility.
- Use information sourced, while respecting copyright laws
- Be able to search for information effectively and document information sources
- Develop IT skills needed to manipulate existing graphics and create their own custom graphics
- Plan and create digital video
- Plan for and create audio podcasts.
Assessment at Key Stage 3
KS3 assessment is mainly formative and focuses on skills gained in each of the three main knowledge and skills strands of the curriculum which are:
- Information Technology
- Computer Science
- Digital Literacy
Progress is measured based on students’ performance in the following areas:
- Lesson tasks and assignments
- End of topic / Lesson Quizzes
- Peer and Self-Assessment
- Contribution to lesson discussions
Key Stage 4
We offer Optional Courses at KS4:
OCR GCSE Computer Science (9-1)
Awarding body: OCR
Why you should choose GCSE Computer Science?
- Engaging and contemporary: Recommended by companies like Microsoft, Google and Cisco, organisations like Computing At School (CAS), plus teachers and academics
- Focus on cyber security: It looks at phishing, malware, firewalls and people as the ‘weak point’ in secure systems, which students will study for the first time at this level
- Focus on Computational thinking skills: Having programming and other technical computer skills will open many career opportunities for students across a wide variety of industries. All industry sectors need people with programming skills to create applications for them. In particular, the video games industry needs more people with programming skills to create the next generation of games in this lucrative industry. As more people depend on their Smartphones on a day-to-day basis, creating apps for these phones is also likely to be a big growth area requiring programming skills.
Students must be good at Maths and have a strong logical mind to do this course. Advice will be sought from the Maths Department as to whether individual students are suited to GCSE Computing.
In IT, I have really enjoyed learning about the Micro:Bit and doing coding, because I find it quite fun to be able to create a small program. Some aspects of our spreadsheets topic was quite challenging, but I managed to work out the formulas and use the correct ones. IT is exciting, because you get to learn about what's behind the screen, how computers actually work and how to use them properly!
- Anna, Year 7
Computing is a really interesting and challenging subject. I enjoy sharing and listening to ideas, discussing and thinking. This subject has helped me discover skills that I didn't know I had. Of course there are many challenges, but I find that when we work together as a class we always find a way to solve the problem together.
- Harriet, Year 7