Skip to main content

Computer Science

Head of Department/Faculty

Mrs Jenny McMullen
Head of Faculty
jmcmullen@commonweal.co.uk

Overview

Does creating the next software application, website or mobile app interest you?

Do you want to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Are you interested in finding out how technology works?

Our aim is to provide a fun, interesting and challenging curriculum which addresses the needs of modern life. Computing is of enormous importance to the economy, and the role of Computer Science as a discipline itself and as an ‘underpinning’ subject across science and engineering is growing rapidly. Computers are now part of everyday life.  For most of us, technology is essential to our lives, at home and at work.  ‘Computational thinking’ is a skill that can be learnt and help ready you for the workplace and able to participate effectively in this digital world.  Studying Computer Science opens many doors in a range of different careers, many of which don’t even exist yet.

Computer Science is also included as part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

In lessons students can expect to take part in a range of activities, some in groups and some individually, from taking computers apart to designing your own programmes.

Tops Tips to do well in Computer Science

  1. Learn the keywords.

    Computing terminology is like a whole new language, you need to know the meanings of keywords from algorithm to network topology.

  2. Investigate and experiment.

    There are many ways to complete tasks in computing. Trying different features of software will help develop your skills. If it doesn’t work first time, don’t get frustrated use the undo button and try something new.

  3. Practice the skills.

    A lot of the software used is available from the Internet for free. Download it and practice at home to improve your understanding and knowledge.

  4. Once you’ve learnt something, use it again and again.

    Our most successful students learn a concept (some theory / software features) and then practice questions or practice using the software.

  5. Go above and beyond.

    The best students ask questions, complete all their work to a detailed standard and reach the extension tasks in class. They challenge themselves in coding tasks and complete programmes in their own time.

The Curriculum

The Computer Science Curriculum

Computer Science is delivered to years 7 – 9 over 2 one-hour lessons a fortnight. To study Computer Science or Creative iMedia at GCSE, students have to choose it as one of their four options. Both GCSE options are delivered over 5 hours within the fortnight

Year 7 – Mixed Ability

  • Information Technology – organisation and file management.
  • Communication and Networks – introduction to network topologies.
  • Data and Data Representation – using the binary system and logic.
  • Algorithm Design – design using flowcharts.
  • Programming – introduction to Python.
  • Ad hoc e-Safety lessons.

Year 8 –Set

  • Information Technology
  • Communication and Networks – network components.
  • Data and Data Representation – sound and images and logic.
  • Algorithm Design – design using pseudo code.
  • Programming – using Python
  • Ad hoc e-Safety lessons.

Year 9 – Set

  • Programming – using Python
  • Algorithm design – problem solving and dry tracing.
  • Game making – design and implementing their own game
  • Web design project – using Dreamweaver.
  • Programming – using Logo

Year 10 & 11

The GCSE options are split into two courses: Computer Science or Creative iMedia

AQA Computer Science (Level 2)

There are two units that make up the GCSE in Computer Science.

Paper 1 – Computational thinking and programming skills

Overview of content

  • Computational thinking
  • Code tracing
  • Problem-solving
  • Programming concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing and refining of code

Overview of Assessment

Written examination: 2 hours, 90 marks, 50% of GCSE

Paper 2 – Written assessment

Overview of content

  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Computer system
  • Fundamentals of computer networks
  • Fundamentals of cyber security
  • Relational databases and structured query language (SQL)
  • Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy

Overview of Assessment

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes, 90 marks, 50% of GCSE

Both Paper 1 and Paper 2 examinations are taken at the end of Year 11.

OCR Creative iMedia (Level 2)

Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia are targeted at 14-16 year olds in a school environment. They’re available as an Award or Certificate with the Certificate being the same size as a GCSE. They use both internal and external assessment and the Certificate is recognised by the DfE Performance Tables.

Overview of content

R081: Pre-production skills

This unit will enable learners to understand pre-production skills used in the creative and digital media sector. It will develop their understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques that form part of the planning and creation process.

R082: Creating Digital Graphics

The aim of this unit is for learners to understand the basics of digital graphics editing for the creative and digital media sector. They will learn where and why digital graphics are used and what techniques are involved in their creation. This unit will develop learners’ understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques as part of the planning and creation process.

R085: Creating a multipage website

This unit will enable learners to understand the basics of creating multipage websites. It will enable learners to demonstrate their creativity by combining components to create a functional, intuitive and aesthetically pleasing website. It will allow them to interpret a client brief and to use planning and preparation techniques when developing a multipage website.

R087: Creating interactive multimedia products

This unit will enable learners to develop their knowledge and understanding of about where and why different interactive multimedia products are used and what features are needed for a given purpose. They learn how to interpret a client brief, and how to use time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques as part of the planning and creation process.

Overview of Assessment

  • R081: Pre-production skills – 1 hour and 15 minute exam worth 25%
  • R082: Creating Digital Graphics – 10 hour centred assessed task worth 25%
  • R085: Creating a multipage website – 10 hour centre assessed task worth 25%
  • R087: Creating interactive multimedia products – 10 hour centre assessed task worth 25%

Independent learning

Students in years 7 to 9 will be assessed through lesson booklets, homework and assessments which occur twice a year.

Computer Science students in years 10 to 11 will be assessed through regular theory and programming homework as well as end of theory module test.

Creative iMedia students in years 10 to 11 will be assessed through regular homework and assessments in class.

Enrichment and trip possibilities

  • Year 10 Bletchley Park Computing Museum. Open to the GCSE Computer Science students
  • Harry Potter World. Open to the GCSE iMedia students

Teachers in the Faculty

  • Mrs J McMullen
  • Mrs M Ryan
  • Mr M Scandling

Contact: Mrs J McMullen jmcmullen@commonweal.co.uk