Computer Science

Subject Overview

We are becoming increasingly dependent on computers for our every day tasks and our computers are becoming increasingly interconnected.
In Computer Science we aim to make our students more aware of what makes computers work; the thinking behind the tool we take for granted.
ICT is a separate subject. Please look at the ICT webpage for that subject.

Syllabuses (Course Outline and Structure)

Year 7

In this year we aim to develop a strong understanding of e-safety, the basics of computational thinking, a general foundation in some essential ICT skills and to start at programming with an introductory course to Python.

Students are invited to join the lunchtime club “Cake and Coding” where they are supported in programming (in Python, or Scratch) by 6th form students.

Year 8 and 9

In these years we build on the work of Year 7 whilst adding in more computational thinking and more knowledge of the science behind computing. Students learn about binary maths, we extend their knowledge of Python to consider selection and iteration and relate this thinking to the Boolean logic of logic gates.

Interested students are welcome to continue attending Cake and Coding club, particularly if they are thinking about choosing Computer Science as a GCSE subject.

At KS4 all new students follow the OCR specification which can be found at www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse-computer-science-j276-from-2016/ which supports our specification of choice for KS5: www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-computer-science-h046-h446-from-2015/

Entry Requirements and Prohibited Options

GCSE Computer Science is a very challenging subject, ranked 3rd most difficult by Ofqual. It utilises a lot of mathematical and linguistic skills as well as logic. You need to have a logical brain, be good at maths and problem solving, be able to communicate well and study hard. It is also vital that you are interested in the subject. Students who are below set 2 in maths will struggle and may find it hard to remain motivated.

If you plan to study A level Computer Science you must have completed GCSE Computer Science and achieved at least a grade C (or level 4, high level 5).

Activities and Trips

We are in communication with the local universities and promote their activities.

Year 9 students are usually allocated 2 places on the Royal Institution activities for engineering at Warwick University in the January of every year.

KS4 and KS5 students are given access to talks via the Outreach program from universities and, where possible, participate in webinars with e.g. IBM.

We have had visits from people who are working in computer technology related business and live or work locally and this is a facility we continue to welcome as it relates education to the real world. Please contact the school if you would like to be involved with this.

Complementary Subject Combinations and Enrichment Activities

Computer Science links very successfully and most commonly to maths and physics at all levels. It is also helpful for business, and languages, or any subject where a logical approach is required.

Subject Resources

Schemes of Work

We provide an overview of the year’s work for all students of our subject on the Library drive in the Computing folder.

Please bear in mind that this is not a fixed schedule. It can be adjusted as required in order to best support the students of the class.

Past Papers

Past papers are an invaluable aid to revision and exam success, as are examiners reports (they are full of handy tips, but are often overlooked during revision).

At the moment there are not many available for the new specifications which we are teaching but there are sample papers on:

In addition ‘old’ specification material for Computing can be found via www.ocr.org.uk/i-want-to/download-past-papers/.

Courses References

 

  • GCSE: ISBN 978-1-910523-08-7 OCR GCSE (9-1) Computer Science by Robson & Heathcote from PG Online
  • A Level: ISBN 978-1-910523-05-6 OCR AS and A Level Computer Science Textbook by Heathcote & Heathcote from PG Online.

 

Useful Links

The site: www.teach-ict.com/indexformer.html has a wealth of information for both GCSE and A Level Computer Science but is oriented towards the old specification and is free.

The site: cambridgegcsecomputing.org/index.php is also free, but requires students to register before use (we recommend students use their school email).

For programming all students should consider using codecademy.com or khan academy although there are plenty of coding courses available online for interested students of any language (we may emphasize Python, but we are keen for our students to embrace other languages)

Multimedia links

For the complete A level specification try Craig Dave’s youtube channel: new videos are still being added. There are lots of other videos on there, but Hurray Banana has some excellent ones, particularly those relating to Karnaugh Maps.

The CambridgeGCSEComputing.org website above has plenty of multimedia material, but may be usefully augmented with cherry picked material relating to the new specification from

Other Information

The British Computer Society and the Computing at School sites are both useful for finding out about Computer Science at school, but keeping an observant eye on any technical information on the news and television, social media feeds etc will give any student an advantage.