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Everyone should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think

Steve Jobs

KS3 Mastery Curriculum

Intent: What are we trying to achieve with our curriculum?

The purpose of our Key Stage 3 curriculum is to:

  • Provide students with skills and knowledge to enable them to commence a Computing-related qualification at Key Stage 4 with confidence
  • Help them develop into confident users of IT in order to navigate the digital world
  • Give students an awareness of the potential dangers related to using connected technologies, and the skills and knowledge needed to stay safe
Implementation: how do we deliver our curriculum?

Students in Key Stage 3 complete a series of units which cover all components of the Computing Curriculum.  There are three broad areas under which each topic fits: Digital Literacy; Computational Thinking, and Hardware and Software.  In addition to this, each topic has been mapped to our Key Stage 4 curriculum in order to give students the best possible foundation of learning should they wish to choose Computer Science or Creative iMedia at GCSE level.

The Key Stage 3 Curriculum is as follows:

Year 7
Unit Details How this links to Key Stage 4 Assessment
E-Safety and Using Computers This first unit familiarises students with academy systems including how to access files on the school network and how to use Google Classroom.  The following topics are covered:
  • Introduction to file management and Google Classroom
  • Social networking
  • Keeping your data safe
  • Using email
  • Extended writing task
Basic file management skills and knowledge of school systems is an integral aspect of how we deliver the Key Stage 4 curriculum End of unit test
Programming in Scratch In this unit, students will be introduced to the fundamentals of programming through the Scratch games programming environment. Coding is a core part of GCSE Computer Science, and early exposure to the core techniques provides a solid grounding for learning Python and other languages later on.

Project outcomes

End of unit test

Hardware & E-Safety Students learn about the key components that make up a computer system including:
  • The CPU
  • Memory
  • Input and output devices
  • Storage devices
They are also introduced to binary numbers, binary addition and why computers can only understand data in binary form.
Both Creative iMedia and GCSE Computer Science require students to understand the hardware that makes a up computer system, and to be able to answer questions on this in the exam. End of unit test
Hardware & E-Safety
Representation of data Building on what students learnt about binary in the previous unit, this unit introduces students to Boolean logic, and logic gates. Topics covered include:
  • How electric circuits work
  • AND, OR and NOT gates
  • Representation of text and
  • Representation of images
GCSE Computer Science focuses heavily on the representation of data in computers.
It is also useful for students to have an understanding of the processes that underpin the operation of a computer to aid them in Creative iMedia.
End of unit test
Computational Thinking This unit teaches students standard algorithms including:
  • Bubble sort
  • Merge sort
  • Linear search
  • Binary search

This is an “unplugged” unit, where students can see the principles behind these algorithms in a way that does not require to code them.
GCSE Computer Science has a heavy emphasis on understanding standard algorithms. End of unit test

 

Year 8

Unit Details How this links to Key Stage 4 Assessment
Programming in Python Having been introduced to programming concepts with the Scratch programming language in Year 7, students are now introduced to the Python programming language.  Students complete a series of skills-building tasks in order to learn the basic commands, before tackling a larger project to apply what they have learnt. Being able to write computer programs in order to solve problems underpins much of the GCSE Computer Science course on offer.

Completion of skills building tasks and project work

End of unit test

Web Design The aim of this unit is to provide students with a good understanding of common HTML tags, and how to format them with CSS, so that they are better able to produce their own web pages later on in the course. Most IT qualifications at KS4 have a web design element to them, and for students to be able to effectively create their own web pages, having an understanding of the language that underpins them is essential.

Completion of skills building work

End of unit test

Image Theory Images are widely used in almost every aspect of IT and Computing (e.g. websites, printed publications, apps and games etc).  The choice of image format, colour depth, file size, resolution and whether or not it is a bitmap or vector graphic can enormously impact the intended purpose for its use.
This all underpins what is taught at KS4 - both in Creative iMedia and GCSE Computer Science.
Understanding how images are represented in a computer is part of both GCSE Computer Science and Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia. End of unit test
Computational logic In this unit, students get an introduction into logic gates, including AND, OR and NOT gates.  They will learn how they can be combined in order to carry out simple operations on binary numbers. This topic forms a major part of the GCSE Computer Science specification. End of unit test
Graphics Programming in Processing The Processing language provides a fun and engaging way for students to learn how to programmatically create graphics on a computer.  Students will learn how to:
  • Use the Processing Language to create basic shapes
  • Solve a series of “digital artwork” challenges, using the techniques they have learnt
  • Learn to write programs that respond to user input to create interactive artwork
As with other programming units, this unit is intended to reinforce problem solving skills, which are needed in many areas of GCSE Computer Science.

Completion of skills building tasks

End of unit test

 

Year 9

Unit Details How this links to Key Stage 4 Assessment
Programming in Python Building on the programming skills students learn in Year 8, students complete a series of skills building tasks in Python and then apply them to a larger project. Learning a programming language is fundamental to the GCSE Computer Science course.  Students who opt for this course will have a solid grounding when they start in Year 10.

Completion of skills building tasks and project work

End of unit test

Web Design Like with the Python programming unit, the intention of this unit is to build on the skills students learnt in Year 8 and apply them to another project. Most IT qualifications at KS4 have a web design element to them, and for students to be able to effectively create their own web pages, having an understanding of the language that underpins them is essential.

Completion of skills building work

End of unit test

Computer Crime In this unit, students learn about legislation relating to the use of computers, and an awareness of potential hazards of using a computer.  This includes:
 
  • Recognising phishing email scams
  • The Computer Misuse Act
  • The Data Protection Act
  • Copyright law
  • Health and safety in relation to using computers
Knowledge of computing legislation is assessed in both GCSE Computer Science and Cambridge Nationals Creative iMedia. End of unit test
Representation of Data Building on work completed in Year 8, students learn how binary data is used to represent text, images and sounds.  They learn the difference between bitmap and vector graphics, and the different contexts in which they are used. This theory work feeds in to units in both Creative iMedia and GCSE Computer Science.. End of unit test
Photoshop Students complete a series of skills building tasks where they learn to use a wide range of features of Photoshop.  This unit is particularly useful for students opting for Creative iMedia in Key Stage 4. Completion of artwork portfolio

Key Stage 4

Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia

The Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia course equips students with the wide range of knowledge and skills needed to work in the creative digital media sector.  Over the two years, they complete the following four units:

  • R081 – Pre-Production Skills:  Assessed through a 1.5 hour exam
  • R082 – Creating Digital Graphics: Internally assessed via controlled assessment and externally moderated
  • R084 – Storytelling with a Comic Strip: Internally assessed via controlled assessment and externally moderated
  • R087 – Creating Interactive Multimedia Products: Internally assessed via controlled assessment and externally moderated

Creative iMedia is a great choice for students who wish to have an IT-related qualification and enjoy using software packages for creating media solutions.  It teaches excellent project management skills, and gives students an insight into how IT is used in the real world by media production companies.

As well as learning to use a wide range of digital tools, and working collaboratively, evaluating one another's work and providing constructive feedback is an integral part of the course.

GCSE Computer Science (OCR)

GCSE Computer Science offers an opportunity for students to develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming. The course provides a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-to-day life. The qualification is 100% exam-assessed, with students sitting the following two papers at the end of the course:

Paper 1: Computer Systems
  • Systems architecture
  • Memory and storage
  • Computer networks, connections and protocols
  • Network security
  • Systems software
  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impacts of digital technology
Paper 2: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming
  • Algorithms
  • Programming fundamentals
  • Producing robust programs
  • Boolean logic
  • Programming languages and integrated development environments

We have three computer suites, and a dedicated classroom with laptops, as well as access to a range of other facilities including digital cameras, flip video cameras, "stand alone" machines and Raspberry Pis. In addition, there are three IT suites in the Sixth Form building which are used to deliver the BTEC and A Level courses.

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