Computing is a new subject which has replaced â€˜information and communications technology (ICT)â€™. Computing comprises the three disciplines of computer science, digital literacy and information technology (IT). Broadly speaking:-
- Computer science is the study of how computers work, the mathematical basis of their operation and how they can be programmed;
- Information technology is the study of the design and use of computer systems by individuals and businesses;
- Digital literacy is the ability to use computer systems effectively (e.g. becoming proficient in â€˜office productivityâ€™ and other applications such as image editors, email and internet browsing) and to understand the social and ethical issues such systems raise.
Computing is an academic subject with mathematical foundations and application to a wide range of business sectors including the financial, commercial and scientific sectors. A recent government report showed that 93% of UK jobs require at least digital literacy skills while 56% require higher-level IT skills such as in project management, finance or design.
At AGGS, students study all three disciplines from Year 7 both in computing lessons and, in the case of digital literacy, across the curriculum. By the end of Year 9 we aim for students to:
- Have a secure grounding in the fundamentals of computer systems including the hardware, software and how they are integrated;
- Be independent and creative users of IT, equipped with skills that will support their learning in all subjects; and
- Begin to understand the complex social, moral, cultural and legal implications of the impact of computer technology on society, including their own online safety and privacy.
Students have the option from Year 10 to study GCSE and A level qualifications in computer science which focus on computer science, while other course choices will further develop their digital literacy skills.
Extra Curricular Activities
|Computer Club â€“ all years||Weekdays||12:40||12a & 12b||ICT Staff
|Computing Support||Thursday||12:35||B7||Computing Teachers|
* In Computing Club students have the chance to be involved in games programming, film-making, animation and robotics. Â Older and more experienced students lead other students in projects of their choosing; we also enter national competitions when they are available.
Key Stage 3 – Year 7-9
Key Stage 3 students have 1 or 2 computing lessons per cycle depending on year group.
The course is structured into half-termly themed projects each of which develops at least two of the aims above. For example: the first project in Year 7 teaches students about online safety, in which students demonstrate their learning by creating a digital product e.g. electronic presentation, poster, video or audio recording; in Year 8 students use an application to develop a website, learn about copyright issues and learn how websites are stored as HTML code.
In each year, students complete projects whose main themes are:
- The safe use of computer systems including the internet (â€˜e-safetyâ€™)
- Computing fundamentals (how a computer works, how data is stored in computers)
- Programming and algorithms
- Application skills development (e.g. producing presentations and spreadsheets)
- Multimedia products (e.g. making an animation or â€˜podcastâ€™)
Key Stage 4 – GCSE
Students can choose to study computer science as a GCSE option in Years 10-11.
From September 2016, students will follow the OCR Computer Science course (J276).
There are three assessments, all submitted at the end of Year 11: two examination papers worth 40% each and an investigations worth 20%. The examination papers cover computer systems architecture and algorithms and programming. Â The investigation is a programming task set by the examination board at the start of Year 11.
Current GCSE students sitting examinations in 2016 and 2017 are following the OCR Computing (J275) course which comprises one written examination worth 40% and two controlled assessment tasks worth 30% each, one being a research investigation the other a programming task.
Key Stage 5 – A Level Computer Science
We follow the OCR Computer Science A level course (H446) lasting 2 years comprising three units:
- Computer Systems
- Algorithms and Programming
- Programming Project*
* Not part of the AS assessment
The content of Units 1 and 2 in the AS and A level is similar, with a lot of overlapping topics, although the demand of examination questions increases at A level.
All students are entered for the AS examination (H046) in the summer of Year 12. Units 1 and 2 make up 50% each of the final mark.
In Year 13, students will concentrate on their own choice of programming project which also develops their understanding of Unit 2. They will be revising and deepening their understanding of the Unit 1 theory topics in the remaining lessons and because of this structure we expect students who do well at AS to find the step-up to A level more comfortable. Examination papers make up 40% each of the final mark while the project is worth 20%.