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What will I learn?

The aim of the computing department at Hill House School is to be a centre of excellence and lead the way in providing cutting-edge, exciting, challenging and inclusive learning opportunities for all of our pupils, to encourage creativity and equip them with the knowledge and skills to understand and change the world in our digital age.  Hence the department mission statement: think | create | understand | change.

From September 2014, ICT in the National Curriculum has been replaced by computing with new statutory programmes of study. Computing is an academic discipline with its own body of knowledge that can equip pupils to become independent learners, evaluators and potentially designers of new technologies. There are three distinct strands within computing, each of which is complementary to the others: computer science, information technology and digital literacy

At Hill House School we are proud to offer an exciting and new curriculum that is designed to inspire learning and excite our learners in preparing them for further study or vocational opportunities in an increasingly digital workplace.

Year 7 

All pupils in Year 7 have two computing lessons each week. Half-termly topics follow a theme and involve elements of computational thinking, practical coding challenges and computing theory. Assessments are taken towards the end of each half-term, concluding with a final assessment in the summer term.

Michaelmas Term
Using computers safely effectively and responsibly (e-safety).
UK Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge (all pupils take part in this international competition).
Database development.
Lent Term
Physical computing using the BBC micro:bit.
Understanding computers (binary, understanding the CPU).
Summer Term
Games programming in Scratch.
First steps in Small Basic programming.

Year 8 

All pupils in Year 8 have two computing lessons each week. Building on the skills and knowledge gained in Year 7, termly topics follow a theme and involve elements of computational thinking, practical coding challenges and computing theory. Assessments are taken towards the end of each half-term, concluding with a final assessment in the summer term.

Michaelmas Term
HTML and website development.
UK Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge (all pupils take part in this international competition).
Spreadsheet modelling.
Lent Term
Flowcharts and Pseudocode.
Modelling in Small Basic.
Summer Term
Introduction to Python programming.
Computer crime and cyber security (e-safety).

Year 9 

All pupils in Year 9 have two computing lessons each week for one term. The primary aim of the programmes of study are to inform and prepare pupils for GCSE computer science, and to further their programming and problem-solving skills. During this year pupils may select GCSE computer science as an option for Year 10.

Topics
Python – next steps.
Website development and publishing (HTML, CSS and JavaScript).
Extracurricular opportunities

There is an after-school ‘Coding Club’ on Mondays from 4pm to 5pm.

Resources 

In computing lessons we use a variety of both online and ‘desktop’ applications and resources to support learning and teaching. Many of these are freely available to download or access online, either on laptops/desktop PCs or mobile devices such as phones and tablets. Links to some of these resources are given below for pupils to access in their own time. Before accessing or downloading resources please check that you have permission from parents/guardians. 

GCSE

Pupils will follow the OCR GCSE J276 specification.

Why Computer Science? What happened to ICT?

“ICT used to focus purely on computer literacy - teaching pupils, over and over again, how to word process, how to work a spreadsheet, how to use programs already creaking into obsolescence; about as much use as teaching children to send a telex or travel in a zeppelin … Now, our new curriculum teaches children computer science, information technology, and digital literacy: teaching them how to code, and how to create their own programs; not just how to work a computer; but how a computer works, and how to make it work for you … These are precisely the sort of skills which the jobs of the future - and, for that matter, the jobs of the present - demand.”  - Former Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Computer science is a challenging and exciting qualification that builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills established through the computer science elements of our Key Stage 3 programmes of study. The content has been designed not only to allow for a solid basis of understanding but to engage learners and get them thinking about real world applications. This course will be of particular interest to pupils who are passionate about computers and interested in problem solving and programming.

Programmes of Study

Unit 1: Computer systems

Topics include: systems architecture, memory, storage, wired and wireless networks, Network topologies, protocols and layers, system security, system software, ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns.
 

Unit 2: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

Topics include: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic, translators and facilities of languages, Data representation.
 

Programming and problem solving

Alongside the theoretical aspects of the course, this is a practical subject where learners can apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world problems. It is therefore creative and involves invention and excitement, using computational thinking skills to solve problems and design systems.

Programming project

A 20-hour practical project set by the exam board and completed towards the end of Year 10. Programming techniques, Analysis, Design, Development, Testing and evaluation and conclusions.

Scheme of assessment

Written paper 1: computer systems - 50% of GCSE

80 marks, 1 hour and 30 minutes (no calculators allowed)

Written paper 2: computational thinking, algorithms and programming - 50% of GCSE

80 marks, 1 hour and 30 minutes (no calculators allowed)