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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

Computer Science & ICT

Our young people need a knowledge and understanding of digital technology in order to be successful in future careers dominated by computer technology and to remain safe and secure within their digital lives. All pupils need to develop an awareness of how organisations communicate and operate using computers, and many will require specific knowledge on how systems function.

We aim to ensure that all our pupils are digitally literate, can use IT securely, creatively and independently, and have the ability and confidence to remain up-to-date with future developments. Digital resilience is essential for all of us, and Cirencester Deer Park School aims to cultivate an adaptable mindset to deal with the constant changes we encounter in technology.

The faculty has embraced the new Computer Science curriculum, providing opportunities for pupils to study algorithmic thinking, programming techniques and computer hardware throughout Key Stages 3 and 4.

Find out about each Key Stage in Computer Science and Business:

KS3 Computer Science

These are four broad areas of learning at KS3:

  • Algorithms and Coding (Programming)
  • Computers (Hardware, Software & Networks)
  • Handling Data (Databases & Spreadsheets)
  • Digital Literacy (Digital Media & E-Safety)

Information Technology is ever changing, and impacts on every aspect of young peoples' lives. We aim to prepare pupils with skills that enable them to flourish in an environment dominated by technology. To that end, pupils:

  • are taught to use the IT facilities provided by the school to communicate effectively.  Pupils are issued with their own email address and user area on the school network as soon as they arrive in Year 7, and they use these facilities to communicate and store their work. Pupils learn how to use programs consistently across subjects, and to logically organise their work. They are also shown how to use the school VLE (iDeer) which enables communication from home and access to lesson resources used throughout the school.
  • are regularly reminded about e-safety, which is integral to their wellbeing.  We look at possible dangers they may be exposed to through social media and mobile communications, and the steps they can take to avoid problems. The benefits and dangers of social networking are explored, together with the dangers of trusting others with personal information and images. The concept of cyber-bullying is explored, and the actions they can take to resolve such issues are highlighted.
  • are taught to think logically when solving problems (algorithmic thinking), and gain experience in programming computers using various development tools (block programming, text based programing and game oriented programming). Key Stage 3 pupils can expect to program in Scratch, Python, Visual Basic, Kodu, AppInventor and Flash. Opportunities to use other languages and environments may occur as they become available.
  • will know and understand the purpose of computer hardware and software. Our homes, schools, offices and vehicles are full of different computing devices, and pupils investigate such items in context.
  • will gain experience in using a wide range of applications, learning how to integrate various media formats creatively, ensuring they are fit for audience and purpose (digital imaging, web design/programming and video editing). We use industry-standard Adobe creative tools, but have alternatives available wherever possible.

Throughout Key Stage 3 there are strong links to other faculties, particularly in the logical thinking required for programming (Mathematics) and including creating websites about the rainforest (Geography) or Solar System (Science).  Our curriculum is largely based on the Computing at School framework, which was set up in response to the government initiative to introduce Computer Science in schools.

KS4 Computer Science

As a school we have always offered both IT User and IT Developer pathways.

For developers, we now teach the OCR 9-1 Computer Science GCSE, which offers the chance to study computer theory and programming. The course has a controlled assessment task worth 20% of the total marks, plus two examinations on computer theory. This course is an excellent choice for learners who wish to develop their computational thinking and algorithmic skills, as well as learning to program and understanding hardware and networking systems. Our current Year 10 class is now very familiar with Visual Basic, and also with matching pseudocode. This course is now a requirement for those wishing to study Computer Science at A Level.

Many of our pupils choose to develop their existing IT skills further at GCSE, and from 2018 we will offer the Edexcel CiDA (Certificate in Digital Applications) course. This is a Level 2 course graded at A*-C rather than a GCSE. It is a hands-on practical course that allows pupils to develop their practical ICT skills in a number of ways including web design, artwork and imaging and game making. The course is assessed through an exam and project. The exam is worth 25% of the final grade and the project is worth 75%. Further information can be found on the Edexcel website. This course can lead into Level 3 vocational IT/Media qualifications such as IT Application Developer, Creative Media Production or Creative Computer Games.

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