ICT

Computing

Computing

Staff

We have four specialist members of staff within the department who deliver ICT and Computing at KS3/4 and Business at KS4.

  • Miss S Clews (Director of Learning and Standards and teacher of Computing and Business)
  • Mr J Bell (2nd in Department and teacher of Computing)
  • Miss M Moore (Assistant head teacher and teacher of Computing and Business)
  • Mr C Campbell (Director of Learning and Standards for PSHE and teacher of Computing)
Extra-curricular activities

A very successful and oversubscribed computer game design club takes place most lunchtimes in C2 with Mr Bell. Pupils have the chance to use a range of programming software such as Scratch, Small Basic and Python to create computer games. Giving pupils a chance to experience and learn a programming language in a relaxed and fun environment. A number of pupils from this club go on to choose Computer Science as an option subject at KS4.

Events

To help pupils with their option choices we are developing links with local colleges to deliver Computer Science workshops to give a flavour of post 16 courses available in ICT and Computer Science.

How many teaching periods do pupils get a week?

KS3 pupils undertake 2 periods of dedicated ICT/Computing periods each week.

GCSE ICT pupils undertake 3 periods a week.

GCSE Computer Science pupils undertake 3 periods a week.

GCSE Business Studies pupils undertake 3 periods a week.

 

Departmental Aims 
  • To deliver outstanding standards in teaching and learning throughout the curriculum.
  • To develop pupils understanding of the impact that ICT has on society.
  • To prepare pupils to embrace changes in technological advancements in ICT and Computing.
  • Allow pupils creativity to flourish and give them high quality skills to compete in creative and technological industries.
  • To develop pupils capabilities of computational thinking.
  • Create strong cross curricular links to allow pupils to use their ICT skills as a means to progress in all other subjects.
  • Give pupils skills to become safer more responsible users of digital devices.
  • To develop a culture of life-long learning. 

At Little Lever School we are proud of our KS3 Computing curriculum. All members of the department have worked hard over the last few years to meet the challenging demands brought about by the national changes to ICT programme of study. All staff in the department are committed to meeting these challenges head on. We are ever changing the content of the curriculum to ensure that our pupils are being taught up to date knowledge, skills and understanding. Enabling them to harness the educational wealth from digital devices to help them to learn and progress in all subjects. We feel confident that our computing curriculum at KS3 will enable pupils to become confident and safer users of digital devices.

Pupils don’t require access to digital devices at home to succeed in ICT at Little Lever School. However, if they do have access to a PC or laptop we would encourage pupils to practice skills they have learnt in lesson at home. One easy way pupils can do this is to complete homework from other subjects using a PC. All our pupils have their own school email account that they can use this to email completed homework to their teachers or themselves (in the absence of a pen drive to bring their homework back into school).

 

Year 7
  • E-safety – pupils begin Little Lever School undertaking an in depth topic surrounding safe and responsible use of digital devices. Issues such as cyber bullying are discussed with emphasis on the effect that cyberbullying has on the victim. With a view that pupils will become more conscious of the knock on effects and be more proactive about helping themselves and each other if they were to fall victim. Online threats from paedophiles, misuse of social networking and security measures to keep digital devices safe from hackers and viruses are just some of the other topics covered in this important unit. A critical review of some of the ways pupils can keep themselves safe is also undertaken.
  • Planning a Trip – this topic is designed to give pupils a flavour of the type of project based work they will undertake at KS4. Pupils will use creative software packages to design and create a logo and website along with learning how to effectively search for and source information from the Internet. Pupils will undertake a consistent approach to each part of the topic from the initial planning stages, creating the products and culminating in an evaluation. We use professional software packages at Little Lever School such as Fireworks and Dreamweaver to ensure that our pupils will be able to compete in the work place.
  • Control and Monitoring – This topic introduces pupils to computational thinking, algorithms and the building blocks of programming languages.  Pupils will build on these skills year on year to allow them to ultimately learn textual programming languages and understand how computers control and monitor a vast swath of information around us. From how simple digital devices use sensors to complex computer models.
  • Scratch programming – This visual programming software introduces pupils to programming in a fun and interactive way. Pupils learn that programming only works if the building blocks of the program are using the correct instructions and placed in the correct order. Pupils can create games in scratch and program them to have a working score for example.
  • Small Basic – An introduction to textual programming using a language that is designed to make programming easy and approachable for novice users. Pupils are challenged to write sequences of accurate instructions developing their mathematical and analytical mind. Pupils become quizzical problem solvers who are not afraid to get it wrong if it means they learn from their mistakes to get it right next time.
Year 8
  • Data and Data Representation: A challenging unit introducing pupils to Computer Science theory. Pupils will learn that computers are excellent at calculations and use only a series of 1’s and 0’s (binary). Pupils will learn how to convert binary numbers into decimal numbers and vice versa. They will know how different types of data compression can be lossless and lossy and explain why file types like MP3 are a lossy type of compression for example. They will understand how bit patterns represent numbers, images and sounds and the relationship between binary and file size. Pupils will also demonstrates an understanding of the relationship between binary and electrical circuits including Boolean logic amongst other key learning within this interesting topic.
  • Databases – pupils will learn what databases are and how they are useful in organising and processing data. They will learn how to collect data and set up flat file and relational databases and search them to retrieve data using simple and advanced searching techniques including SQL. Pupils will learn about DBMS and the role of databases in the world of work.
  • Python Programming: Basics – Building on the Small Basic topic studied in year 7, this textual programming topic gives pupils a flavour of the type of programming languages used by professionals. Computational thinking is developed in this topic and pupils are encouraged to further develop their problem solving skills to create programming solutions. Pupils enjoy the challenging nature of this topic and some will start to think about whether opting for Computer Science at KS4 is right for them. Python is the textual programming language used in the controlled assessment element of the GCSE Computer Science.
  • Fundamentals of Cyber Security – This theory topic draws upon the e-safety unit in year 7 and covers theory outlined in the program of study for GCSE Computer Science and the GCSE ICT. Pupils will get the chance to practice GCSE style questions. They will be able to define the term cyber security and be able to describe the main purposes of cyber security. Pupils will be taught that cyber security consists of the processes, practices and technologies designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorised access. They will be able to explain a range of cyber security threats including social engineering.
  • Web Authoring (HTML) – this topic builds upon the skills developed during the planning the trip project in year 7 whereby pupils had to design and create a website using Dreamweaver. However, pupils will learn this time that websites can also be created using code and will create a webpage entirely from HTML code. Both web design and web authoring skills are needed if pupils were to embark on a career in web development. Our pupils will be able to progress further onto post 16 courses and pathways in web development if this is a career they are interested in.
  • Legislation – It is important that pupils understand that legislation exists in the use (and misuse) of digital devices. Pupils will be able to explain how legislation and ethics impacts on the pupils’ use of digital devices & information. They will learn to explain legislative constraints that apply to their use, stating how they would comply with them. Some pupils will be able to evaluate the impact of legislation on individuals, business & society.
Year 9
  • Communication and Networks – A technical theory unit introducing pupils to the reasons why computers are connected together in a network. They will understand the different types of networks and be aware of the network media needed to create a network. Pupils will learn about network data speeds and the role of and need for network protocols. They will know that data can be transmitted over networks using packets and the concept of and need for network addressing and host names.
  • Python Programming – Building on pupils learning in year 8, pupils will learn more complex programming techniques and prepare pupils for KS4 if they were to choose the GCSE in Computer Science as an option.
  • The bigger Picture – Pupils will learn to be aware of emerging trends in computing technology and recognise that computing has an impact on nearly every aspect of the world in which they live. Interesting topics such as quantum computing, DNA computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and nano technology will be explored. Pupils will become more aware of the impact of computing on individuals, society and the environment.
  • GCSE ICT practice project: video – This first of three units to prepare pupils for KS4 GCSE ICT. Pupils will learn a range of advanced features of video editing software and undertake a practice controlled assessment project to give them a flavour of the expectations set at GCSE level.
  • GCSE ICT practice project: Spreadsheet – Advanced features of spreadsheet software are explored in this unit. Pupils will create a spreadsheet that models a particular situation and use their model to ask ‘what if’ questions. Pupils will be focussed on how spreadsheets are used in business as a practical solution to a range of business related problems.
  • GCSE ICT theory: Mobile Phones – This is the first theoretical unit pupils will undertake in preparation to their exam in Year 11. Amongst other things, pupils will learn the purpose and target audience for digital devices, features of digital devices, how to select devices/features to meet particular needs and the impact of age, gender and disability on individual’s choice/use of digital devices. 
Overview

Understanding how computers work and being able to use them creatively gives students the power to shape the world around them; our Computing teachers strive to provide learning experiences that engage, inspire and enable students to become active and responsible participants in today’s exciting and dynamic world. Teaching is supported by excellent facilities, including five ICT suites. There are four courses offered to pupils at KS4:

  • Edexcel GCSE ICT
  • Edexcel GCSE Computer Science
  • Edexcel GCSE Business Studies
  • European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
GCSE ICT

At key stage 4, all of our students are either entered for Edexcel GCSE ICT or the ECDL. The GCSE specification explores students’ ability to master and adapt technology to suit their own needs, helping them to understand the challenges and potential implications of their actions in this ever changing digital environment. During GCSE ICT lessons, we will deliver the compulsory KS4 computing element of the national curriculum. The course is broken down into two main units:

Unit 1: Living in a Digital World (Theory 40%)

Unit 2: Using Digital Tools (Coursework 60%)

Unit 1

Overview of content

In this unit students explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society. They learn about current and emerging digital technologies and the issues raised by their use in a range of contexts (learning and earning, leisure, shopping and money management, health and wellbeing and on the move). They develop awareness of the risks that are inherent in using ICT and the features of safe, secure and responsible practice.

 

  • Topic 1: Personal digital devices - Students will learn about the developing range of personal digital devices that are available to individuals. They will explore their availability and range of use and impacts on society.
  • Topic 2: Connectivity - Students will understand the ways in which personal digital devices exchange data and communicate with each other and with the larger systems supporting online organisations. They will be aware of the increasing importance of ‘access everywhere’ developments.
  • Topic 3: Operating online - Topic 1 Personal Digital Devices explores the features and functions of digital devices and Topic 2 Connectivity investigates the use of networks. This topic moves away from the technology and focuses on how individuals operate safely online and protect themselves from risk.
  • Topic 4: Online goods and services - This topic explores a range of online services and investigates their impact on individuals, organisations and society.
  • Topic 5: Online communities - The development of online communities has implications for an individual’s learning, leisure and social interactions. Students will examine how the growth of social networking has potential risks as well as benefits.
  • Topic 6: Issues – Students will learn how to make sensible choices and develop safe, secure and responsible practice. They will become aware of and be able to assess the impact of emerging technologies and of the impact on individuals and communities of limited or no access to digital technologies (digital divide).

Overview of assessment

This unit is assessed through a 1 hour 30 minute examination paper set and marked by Edexcel.

Unit 2

Overview of content

This is a practical unit. Students broaden and enhance their ICT skills and capability. They work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts. They learn to reflect critically on their own and others’ use of ICT and to adopt safe, secure and responsible practice.

Topic 1: Research and information gathering;

  • Differentiate between data and information
  • Use secondary sources
  • Use primary sources
  • Use databases

Topic 2: Modelling;

  • Adapt and enhance spreadsheet models
  • Use models to explore ideas 

Topic 3: Digital publishing;

  • Design digital products which are fit for purpose and audience
  • Prepare and organise different types of digital content
  • Develop digital products which are fit for purpose and audience

Topic 4: Evaluating outcomes

  • Review outcomes
  • Work collaboratively
  • Self-review

Topic 5: Working efficiently and safely

  • Manage files
  • Manage themselves and their work
  • Quality assure what they produce
  • Know about and adhere to legislation and codes of practice

Overview of assessment

Students must complete a controlled assessment task provided by Edexcel. The unit is internally assessed under controlled conditions.

 

Recommended Revision Guides

Revise Edexcel: Edexcel GCSE ICT Revision Guide by Nicky Hughes and David Waller

Edexcel GCSE ICT Student Book

Revise Edexcel: Edexcel GCSE ICT Revision Workbook

 

GCSE results from summer 2015

A*-A: 20%

A*-C: 85.1%

A*-G: 100%

 

GCSE Computer Science

Students who opt to study Edexcel Computer Science at key stage 4 will develop their knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science and apply their computational thinking skills to analyse problems and design solutions across a range of contexts. Students gain practical experience of designing, writing and testing computer programs that accomplish specific goals. The course is broken down into two main units:

 

Unit 1: Principles of Computer Science

Unit 2: Practical Programming

 

Unit 1

Overview of content

Pupils will understand what algorithms are, what they are used for and how they work. They will have the ability to interpret, amend and create algorithms.  Pupils will understand binary representation, data representation, data storage and compression, encryption and databases with the ability to use SQL to insert, amend and extract data stored in a structured database. They will understand the components of computer systems and be able to construct truth tables, produce logic statements and read and interpret fragments of assembly code. They will develop their understanding of computer networks, the internet and the world wide web and be able to use HTML and CSS to construct web pages. They will demonstrate an awareness of emerging trends in computing technologies, the impact of computing on individuals, society and the environment, including ethical, legal and ownership issues.

Unit 2

Overview of content

This is a practical ‘making task’ that enables students to demonstrate their computational techniques using the programming language Python. Students will decompose problems into sub-problems, create original algorithms or work with algorithms produced by others. They will design, write, test, and evaluate programs.

 Recommended revision guide

Edexcel GCSE Computer Science by Steve Cushing

 

GCSE results from summer 2015

  • A*-A: 10.2%
  • A*-C: 67.3%
  • A*-G: 98%