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 five broad areas of learning at KS3:
- Algorithms and Coding (Programming)
- Computers (Hardware, Software & Networks)
- Creativity (Photoshop & Video Editing)
- Digital Citizenship (Digital Media & E-Safety)
- Workplace Preparation (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
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 ICT 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 Microsoft Teams, 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 communication, 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, HTML, Kodu 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.
- Will feel confident in the use of Office 365, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook in preparation of the world of work. These key skills are now crucial in any workplace and are embedded within our curriculum.
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 History of the Internet or Solar System (Science). Our curriculum aims to offer our young people the opportunity to experience a broad range of ICT and computing topics, building a large skillset and a well-rounded approach to technology.
KS4 Computer Science
For developers, we 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.
The OCR Cambridge National in Creative iMedia is a hands-on, practical course that allows you to develop your practical ICT skills in a number of ways. 4 units are split across the 2 years of study, ranging from digital graphics to animation, pre-production and filming to interactive multimedia products. Through the Digital Graphics unit in Year 10, pupils will learn a lot about the use and design influences of imagery including adverts, DVD covers and informative posters. They will also look at design techniques, file formats and the planning stages of a digital imagery project. Using various different applications, such as Photoshop, pupils will then follow a brief to create professional looking graphics. Developing skills such as time management, project management and using their own research to influence design decisions are extremely useful and will support their studies in other areas as well as increasing your employability. This is followed by a Year 10 exam, all about planning and pre-production in the film industry, taking the approach of ‘Script to Screen’. In Year 11, pupils will continue with two further ‘optional’ units, Creating Interactive Multimedia Products and Creating a Digital Animation, although these can change.