Skip to main content

Computer Science

Head of Department/Faculty

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

Mr Tom Campbell
Head of Faculty
tcampbell@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

Computer Science is delivered to years 7 and 8 over 3 one-hour lessons a fortnight. Year 9 study Computer Science 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.
  • Hardware and Processing – inside a computer.
  • Data and Data Representation – using the binary system and logic.
  • Algorithm Design – design using flowcharts.
  • Programming – introduction to Python.

Year 8 –Set

  • Information Technology
  • Communication and Networks – network components.
  • Hardware and Processing – role of the processor.
  • Data and Data Representation – sound and images and logic.
  • Algorithm Design – design using pseudo code.
  • Programming – using Python

Year 9 – Set

  • Programming – using Python
  • Algorithm design – problem solving and dry tracing.
  • Web design project – using Dreamweaver.
  • Communications and Networks – network security and protocols.
  • Data and Data Representation – introduction to ASCII, Unicode, Hexadecimal and binary arithmetic.
  • Hardware and Processing – logic gate, truth tables and computer architecture.
  • Game making – design and implementing their own game

Year 10 & 11

The GCSE options are split into two courses:

AQA Computer Science (Level 2)

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

Paper 1 – Computational thinking and problem solving

Overview of content

  • Fundamentals of algorithms
  • Programming
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Computer system

Overview of Assessment
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes (50% of GCSE)

Paper 2 – Written assessment

Overview of content

  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Computer system
  • Fundamentals of computer networks
  • Fundamentals of cyber security
  • Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy

Overview of Assessment

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes (50% of GCSE)

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

Non-exam assessment (NEA)

Overview of content

The non-exam assessment assesses a student’s ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical programming problem.

Overview of Assessment

Report: totalling 20 hours of work, not formally assessed but is part of the course requirement

Independent learning

Students in Yrs 7 to 9 will be assessed through keyword tests, a homework and an end of module test.

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

CiDA students in Yrs 10 to 11 will be assessed through regular homework and assessments in class.

Enrichment and trip possibilities

  • Year 9 trip to Thorpe Park containing a computing workshop.
  • Year 10 Bletchley Park Computing Museum. Open to the GCSE Computer Science students

Teachers in the Faculty

  • Mrs J McMullen
  • Mr T Campbell
  • Mrs M Ryan
  • Mr M Scandling
  • Mr P Chivers