ICT and Computer Science

Intent

Digital literacy is now essential for all members of society both for inclusion at a social level, but also for future employment potential.  Employers are looking out for future staff who are confident with different types of software and programming, indeed we are quite possibly preparing our students for careers that do not even exist yet.

The aim of the Computer Science/ICT department is to encourage curiosity and creativity within the subjects as well as confidence to experiment in a safe environment.  Technological progress is continuous and most of our students will have to constantly adapt to new applications and technology throughout their lives.  It is therefore key to foster inquisitiveness and resilience by dispelling the fear of failure at trying new things, so that they can really develop their potential.  


Implementation

KS3 (Year 7 and 9)

In Key Stage 3 we aim to foster an interest and a love of all things to do with computers!

Year 7

Students spend one term with our department during year 7 where we introduce them to concepts of their safety online.  They are encouraged to recognise that not only is their own personal safety of paramount importance, they learn how to conduct themselves in a safe and appropriate manner online.

As a difficult and emotive area, e-Safety is covered with sensitivity but has a strong underlying message about the consequences of their actions using technology and social media.

In the second half of the term a programming module is taught, where they build a computer game using visual programming.  This introduces students to programming in a non-intimidating (and enjoyable) way – the emphasis here is fun!

Workshops are offered to all year 7 students at the start of the year for parents to come along with their children and have a go at some of the game building (and programming) concepts covered so that they can see what their children are learning and help them at home.  Feedback has always been excellent and it is definitely worth responding quickly as places go fast!

 

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Year 9

As the pre-cursor to their GCSE options, it is important for students to be able to experience some aspects of both Computer Science and ICT so that they can make a fully informed choice when they come to make their options choices.

During Year 9 students cover the following:

  • Understanding Data Types
  • Basic Python Skills (this is the programming language used in the GCSE Computer Science course)
  • Understanding Binary and Hexadecimal in Computing
  • Flowcharts, Logic Gates and Logical thinking
  • Parts of a computer (a close look at the hardware that is inside)
  • Building Websites
  • Security and Legal aspects of Computing in Society
  • Networking
  • Ethical and environmental considerations (social media, technology waste)

These explore a broad spectrum of the areas covered in both Computer Science and ICT courses offered at Beauchamps High School.

We have run very successful workshops to encourage girls into Tech subjects (a nationwide issue) and have even been shortlisted in the final competitions.
 

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KS4 (Year 10 and Year 11)

Two different courses are available to our students at GCSE Level and there is the potential to study both if they wish.

COMPUTER SCIENCE GCSE

Examination Board: AQA (Syllabus Number 8520)

Why should I pick this and what will I study?

This qualification has been created to get students working with real-world programming and provides a good understanding of the fundamental principles of computing.  Employers are increasingly looking to recruit programmers who are proficient in the Python programming language which we use here at Beauchamps to deliver the course.  The syllabus been designed to assess candidates’ achievement through both external exams and non-exam assessment.

The areas covered by the external exam are:

  • Fundamentals of algorithms
  • Programming
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Computer Systems
  • Fundamentals of computer networks
  • Fundamentals of cyber security
  • Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
  • Aspects of software development
  • Non-exam assessment

The non-exam assessment (NEA) allows students to develop their practical skills in a problem-solving context by coding a solution to a given problem (by the examining body) using Python programming language (which is free to download). Students work independently over a period of time, extending their programming skills and increasing their understanding of practical, real world applications of computer science.

This is a reformed GCSE and is graded 9-1

ASSESSMENT:

Paper 1 – 50% of overall grade

Paper 2 – 50% of overall grade

Non-exam assessment – contributes to overall grade for Paper 1.

All software used in Computer Science (at any stage) is free to download so that all students can access their work at home. 

BTEC LEVEL 1/2 TECH AWARD IN DIGITAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Examination Board: Pearson (Syllabus Number 603/2740/6)

Why should I pick this and what will I study?

The Edexcel BTEC Level 1/2 Tech Award in Digital Information Technology has been designed primarily for young people aged 14-19 (here at Beauchamps it’s offered to 14-16 year olds, not at sixth form) who may wish to explore a vocational route throughout Key Stage 4.  It is suitable for learners who want a vocationally focused introduction to this area of study.  The course has been developed to inspire and enthuse learners to become technology savvy – producers of technology products and systems, not just consumers.  It gives learners the opportunity to gain a broad understanding and knowledge of the Information Technology Sector and some aspects of the creative industries (e.g. electronic publishing or multimedia production). Exploring the fundamentals of technology and gaining the practical skills, knowledge and understanding to design, make and review encouraging personal development, motivation and confidence, through practical participation and by giving learners responsibility for their own projects.

Students will study 3 units:

  • Component 1: Exploring User Interface Design Principles and Project Planning Techniques
  • Component 2: Collecting, Presenting and Interpreting Data
  • Component 3: Effective Digital Working Practices

This adds up to 120 Guided Learning Hours which is equivalent to 1 GCSE; graded:

  • Level 1 Pass;
  • Level 1 Merit;
  • Level 1 Distinction;
  • Level 2 Pass;
  • Level 2 Merit;
  • Level 2 Distinction; and
  • Level 2 Distinction *

ASSESSMENT

Component 1: Internal assessment comprised of 3 assignments

Component 2: Internal assessment comprised of 3 assignments

Component 3: Externally assessed examination.

Units that are externally assessed will be undertaken at Beauchamps but within a controlled environment, under strict timing, then sent off for external marking.  Units that are internally assessed will be a series of assignments that are marked by BTEC verified staff and moderated to ensure accuracy.

Timings for assessments will be notified to students early in the course.

KS5 (Year 12 and Year 13)

Two different courses are available to our students in Sixth Form and it is likely that students would study one OR the other.

COMPUTER SCIENCE A’LEVEL

Entry requirements: Grade B or above in GCSE Computer Science

Examination Board: AQA (Syllabus number: 7517)

Why should I pick this and what will I study?

Advances in computing are transforming the way we work and the Computer Science A-Level allows students to keep up with the times.  The course focuses on the knowledge, understanding and skills students need to progress to higher education or thrive in the workplace.  It is the perfect pre-cursor for accessing many undergraduate degree courses, with universities looking extremely favourably on a student including this on their portfolio of qualifications.

Students will study the following areas:

  • Fundamentals of programming​
  • Fundamentals of data structures​
  • Fundamentals of algorithms​
  • Theory of computation​
  • Systematic approach to problem solving​
  • Fundamentals of data representation​​
  • Fundamentals of computer systems​​
  • Fundamentals of computer organisationand architecture​​
  • Consequences of uses of computing​​
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking​​
  • Fundamentals of databases​​
  • Big Data​​
  • Fundamentals of functional programming​​

All students will also complete a non-examined assessment.  This is a computing practical project where students choose, design and create their own project​, some examples include:

  • a computer game
  • an application of artificial intelligence
  • a control system, operated using a device such as an Arduino board
  • a website with dynamic content, driven by a database back-end
  • an app for a mobile phone or tablet
  • an investigation into an area of computing, such as rendering a three-dimensional world on screen
  • investigating an area of data science using, for example, Twitter feed data or online public data sets
  • investigating machine learning algorithms.

ASSESSMENT:

  • Paper 1 – On screen exam worth 40% of the overall mark
  • Paper 2 – Written exam worth 40% of the overall mark
  • Non examined assessment (coursework piece) – worth 20% of overall mark (out of 75 marks awarded)

BTEC LEVEL 3 NATIONAL EXTENDED CERTIFICATE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Entry requirements: Four GCSE Grade 4 or above, including English and Mathematics

Examination Board: Pearson (Syllabus number: 601/7575/8)

Why should I pick this and what will I study?

BTECs are a learner-centred approach to study with a flexible, unit based structure and knowledge applied in project-based assessments.  Students completing their BTEC Nationals in Information Technology will be aiming to go onto employment, often via the stepping stone of higher education.  This qualification is being offered because it has been developed in close collaboration with experts from professional bodies, businesses and universities to ensure that students have the highest quality preparation for progression onto the next stage of their lives.

This course works extremely well alongside other BTEC provisions offered at Beauchamps, allowing our students to study a well-rounded combination of qualifications that can prepare them to step straight into an apprenticeship or access a university placement.

Course structure:

UnitUnit TitleMandatory/
Optional?
Assessed
1​Information Technology Systems​M​Externally​
2​Creating Systems to Manage Information​M​Externally​
3​Using Social Media in Business​M​Internally​
5​Data Modelling​O​Internally​
6​Website Development​O​Internally​

ASSESSMENT:

Units that are externally assessed will be undertaken at Beauchamps but within a controlled environment, under strict timing, then sent off for external marking.  Units that are internally assessed will be a series of assignments that are marked by BTEC verified staff and moderated to ensure accuracy.

Timings for assessments will be notified to students early in the course.

Impact

Here at Beauchamps High School we are passionate about enabling our students to see and use technology in as wide a context as possible so we also try to work with other departments to ensure cross-curricular application.  The courses offered have many real world scenarios which help students understand why they are studying the topics and really put things into context for them, especially when it comes to looking at their career choices.