Computer Science is a very broad subject that crosses into many other subjects and areas of our lives. Computer Science is all about problem solving. Computer scientists use hardware and software to help solve complex problems.
At Trinity Catholic College we have developed our own bespoke Computer Science curriculum, designed for our students and with computational thinking and problem solving skills at its heart. In Year 9, Computer Science is an optional subject and the course is designed to develop the basic skills necessary for GCSE.
KEY STAGE 3
- Half Term 1 – GSuite skills
The first topic focuses on developing ICT skills using Gsuite
- Half Term 2 – Scratch Programming
Students continue to develop their computational thinking and problem solving
by designing computer programs using MIT’s Scratch.
- Half Term 3 – What is Computing? part 1
Students find out about computer hardware, software, data and learn to count in binary.
- Half Term 4 – Solving a Murder
Using databases and ICT, students gather evidence to solve a crime.
- Half term 5 – Using computers safely and responsibly
This unit focuses on e-safety and develops students understanding of how to conduct themselves online and some of the threats that they face
- Half Term 6 – BBC Microbits
Students continue to develop their programming skills and understanding of hardware and software using the BBC microbit micro-computers.
- Half Term 1 – Binary
Students find out about computers work with binary data and develops some of the math skills required in computer science
- Half Term 2 – What is computing? part 2
Students find out about computer hardware, software, data and learn to count and add in binary
- Half Term 3 – Spies
Students learn about encryption in the context of WWII and the work of Alan Turing and the codebreakers at Bletchley park.
- Half Term 4 – Programming with Python
Students develop their computational thinking and problem solving skills through learning to program in Python
- Half term 5 – Spreadsheet modelling
Students develop their skills in one of the more complex ICT areas – spreadsheets and data handling
- Half term 6 – Computer Crime and Cyber Security
Students learn about one of the wider issues caused by computing – cyber crime, and the measures that can be taken to protect against it
- Half Term 1-2 – Computational Thinking and Programming
Students learn about computational thinking
and problem solving while creating programs to
solve problems using Scratch, Python and the
- Half Term 3-4 – Programming
Students develop their Python programming skills further with a focus on the skills necessary for GCSE computer science
- Half Term 5 – Logic Gates and Binary
Students develop their understanding of how computers process data and make decisions by looking at some of the decision circuits that are inside a computer and how they work with binary numbers
- Half Term 6 – Networks
This unit gives the students a chance to explore one of the more complex theory areas from the GCSE, looking at how computers communicate over networks
To assess the student’s’ progress, we have designed our own assessment model based
on the Computing at Schools assessment framework. Students are assessed against 6
different areas of computer science and gain digital badges as they progress. Students’ work is assessed every 3-4 lessons during a project and then formally assessed at the end of each project.
Students may additionally be set homework tasks to complete and improve work for their
current class project. All of the work can be accessed by the students using Google
Classroom from the College website.
In Year 9 students will also be set regular problems to solve that allow them to focus on their problem solving and computational thinking skills.
There is a constantly growing number of online resources to help develop computer science.
Some of our favorites are:
Homework support – as we use electronic homework resources that have a reliance on the
Internet, students are able to use the ICT suites at lunch time and Tuesday evening to complete homework tasks and receive additional support.
KEY STAGE 4
Computer Science (GCSE)
The GCSE in Computer Science is an academic qualification which provides students with an opportunity to develop their understanding and skills in computer science and computational thinking and problem solving. This course has a broad focus across all aspects of computing, investigating how computers work, communicate and are programmed. It provides a good balance of theory and practical investigation. This is a new-style GCSE.
The course is split into 3 units of study that cover a broad range of theory and practical
- Unit 1 – Computer Systems – 50% of the assessment
This unit covers all of the computer science theory and principles including input, output, storage, the CPU and systems architecture, software, computer networks and legal and ethical issues.
- Unit 2 – Computational thinking, Algorithms and Programming – 50% of the assessment
This unit develops students’ abilities to think like a computer scientist, taking complex
problems and breaking them down into manageable and achievable components that
can then be coded and solved computationally.
- Unit 3 – Programming Project – 20 hours
This unit gives the students the experience of working on a large, extended programming project. Although no longer part of the final assessment, this is still a course requirement and the student work will be sent to the exam board. The experience of this practical project is incredibly beneficial for preparing students for the Unit 2 exam and preparing for transition into A-Level
Unit 1 and Unit 2 are both assessed at the end of year 11, each with a 1 hour 30 minute written exam.
Unit 3 is an NEA (Non-examined assessment) taken during Y11 and takes 20 hours to
complete. During this time, the students work in a controlled environment with no Internet
access and strict rules of conduct to ensure that the assessment is accurate.
Throughout the course, regular feedback is given, in line with the school policy. Feedback
is always given electronically using Google Classroom.
Homework is an essential part of GCSE Computer Science. Through year 10, homework
focuses on developing computational thinking skills and problem solving. In Year 11 this shifts to developing the subject knowledge and skills that are required for the examinations.
There are a range of additional online resources that we use to support Computer Science:
- Codio.com – online programming and development environment
- CraignDave youtube channel
- www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects – BBC bitesizse revision
To support students with Computer Science, we offer catch-up sessions every Tuesday evening.
Mrs S Futo – Subject Teacher
Miss F Harrington – Subject Teacher
Miss E Rossi – Subject Teacher
Mr S Withers – Subject Teacher