CURRICULUM AIMS AND VALUES

Our intent is to promote computational thinking and digital creativity. We want our pupils to develop the foundations to enable them to be discerning, life-long learners in a fast moving landscape. We want the pupils to assess the effects of this sometimes disruptive influence and make changes based on a solid knowledge of the computing sector.

Computer Science Vision

The vision for the department is to provide a balanced and informed curriculum across all key stages in the school. The aim is for the pupils to be active and engaged users and creators in the emerging digital economy. The curriculum is designed to allow pupils to have access to Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy skills and for pupils to make informed choices on how they pursue the subject as they continue their learning journey through the school. The vision is for the pupils to learn transferable skills that can be applied to all subjects and aspects of learning to speed up the research and analysis required to pinpoint key information to further progress in their education.

 

The curriculum is designed around the three principles:

  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Digital Literacy

Computer science is the scientific and practical study of computation: what can be computed, how to compute it, and how computation may be applied to the solution of problems. Information technology is concerned with: how computers and telecommunications equipment work, and how they may be applied to the storage, retrieval, transmission and manipulation of data. Digital literacy is: the ability to effectively, responsibly, safely and critically navigate, evaluate and create digital artefacts using a range of digital technologies. The creation of digital artefacts will be integral to much of the learning of computing. Digital artefacts can take many forms, including digital images, computer programs, websites, animations, spreadsheets, presentations and documents.

Sequencing of concepts is progressive through the individual topics and entire scheme of work. Building on digital literacy skills from Key Stage 2 such as using word processing and/or presentation software. Also developing from visual (block) programming into higher level programming languages.

The curriculum is broad, balanced and integrated, with the breadth and depth that will support pupils whichever option they choose at Key Stage 4. Furthermore Computer Science enables pupils to use, express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communication technology at a level suitable for future studies and the workplace, as active participants in a digital world. We provide pupils with an understanding of the foundations of computing, to help them better apply information technology and better understand the implications of the technologies they use every day. Computers and information technology is used to evidence and enhance learning. We will use computational thinking challenges in the curriculum to develop confident, creative and resilient problem solvers. Teaching and learning focuses on solving (scalable) real-life problems, and there are strong links to other curriculum subjects through regular skill audits. We use programming tools to bridge the gap between good computational thinking (problem solving) and computers, selecting the appropriate programming language for the challenge and teaching key programming concepts rather than teaching a select programming language exclusively.

CURRICULUM ORGANISATION AND DELIVERY

All pupils are taught in mixed ability groups through all key stages.

Designated outcomes, for each of the three principles of computing, are achieved through a structured programme of learning. Focused around encouraging creative learning and innovative problem solvers. All outcomes are linked to the National Curriculum for Computer Science

Outcomes: Pupils

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology. They understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns.

Their digital literacy on mobile devices and tablets overshadows their ability on a desktop computer. Gaps in knowledge and misconceptions are addressed in the beginning. The majority of pupils come with varying but little to no skills in computer science so this is addressed through a topic about the development of computing and computer science. Scratch programming/coding is improved upon and developed into coding in Python. Coding principles are also covered though web design.

Working with Digital Graphics and Graphics Design is included in the curriculum to prepare pupils for progression to Creative iMedia GCSE option.

Key concept covered through the Computer Science Curriculum

These concepts are not taught as discrete topics in their own right.  They are used as a way to understand and organise computing knowledge, and are more easily recognised by pupils after they have encountered several examples of the concept in action.

Coding languages, programming and computation

The main Coding Language chosen at Greenbank is Python. However other domain specific languages such as HTML and SQL are used in the relevant schemes of work for specific topics. The teaching of computation and algorithms is coved during programming tasks within specific topics.

 

Data and representation

How data is represented, stored and transmitted.

Communication and coordination

Input>process>output concept. TCP/IP or HTTP protocols. Network Routing, Authentication, Privacy and Anonymity. Comparisons of a Network and the Internet.

The wider context of computing

Intelligence and consciousness (Turing Test). Creativity (Animation, Games, Music, Graphic Design, Web Design, Apps, etc.). Moral and Ethical implications of using a computer.

Assessment Strategies

Teachers assess pupils work in computing by making informal judgments during lessons. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher assesses the work, and uses this assessment to plan for future learning. Written and/or verbal feedback is given to the child to help guide their progress. Pupils are encouraged to make judgments about how they can improve their own work according to specific assessment criteria.

 

The subject leader monitors samples of the pupil’s work. This demonstrates the expected level of achievement in computing for each year group and key stage in the school.

 

All teachers use a list of descriptors showing expected skill and knowledge at each level to help assess and plan for further development throughout the computer science curriculum.

Development and Retention of key concepts

Skills are built upon with units of work developing on skills and techniques as well as demanding new skills.

(See Learning Journey)

We are fortunate to be supported by a SLT who understand and share our vision for Computing at Greenbank.  Investment in computers and associated infrastructure has ensured we have had access to quality equipment and crucially the necessary software needed for us to implement the curriculum at both KS3 and KS4.

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