Balcarras
School

Computer Science

Overview

In today’s ever advancing technological climate, it is important that pupils are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to enable them to understand and utilise computers effectively and safely. We are pleased to be able offer pupils a curriculum that allows them to explore the scientific aspects of technology, whilst also enabling them to use it creatively.

Our curriculum design has been informed by looking at technology sectors and higher education to identify what students need to succeed in these areas. We have developed a close link with our local university and are continuing to develop links with industry and IT professionals to ensure our courses are relevant and purposeful.

The department is well qualified and experienced consisting of two full time teachers with degrees in computing, who are also specialist trained computer science teachers, with the addition of another computing qualified part-time teacher.

Key Stage 3 

Year 7: One hour every two weeks.

Students follow a course which ranges from binary counting and algorithm design to building cardboard computers and digital graphics. There are a wide range of clubs and activities aimed at students who wish to develop their core skills further.

Year 8: One hour every two weeks.

The course builds on from year 7, focusing on computer science and graphic design exploring both strands in more depth and detail using practical and theory work.

Year 9: One hour every week.

During their final year of KS3, pupils are able to explore in further depth, elements of both Digital Applications and Computer Science GCSE, to help them identify the strand or area they would like to pursue further in KS4.

Key Stage 4 

Pupils have the option of choosing either GCSE Computer Science or Digital Applications.

GCSE Computer Science

Examination Board: OCR

Breakdown:    

Exam Paper 1 - Computer Systems

(1 hour and 30 minutes) – 40% of total GCSE

  • Systems architecture

  • Memory

  • Storage

  • Wired and wireless networks

  • Network topologies, protocols and layers

  • System security

  • System software

  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

Exam Paper 2 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming

(1 hour and 30 minutes) – 40% of total GCSE

  • Algorithms

  • Programming techniques

  • Producing robust solutions

  • Computational logic

  • Translators and facilities of languages

  • Data representation

Programming Project – 20 hours controlled assessment – 20% of total GCSE

  • Programming techniques

  • Analysis

  • Design

  • Development

  • Testing and evaluation and conclusions

CiDA (Certificate in Digital Applications)

Equivalent to one GCSE

Examination board: Pearson

Coursework – Artwork and Imaging - 40 % of total course

  • Design and develop scaleable images and artwork

  • Develop scaleable images and artwork

  • Develop bitmap images and artwork

  • Exhibit work in an eportfolio

  • Review the products

Exam – Developing Web Products (2 hours and 30 minutes) – 60% of total course

  • Content preparation and selection

  • Coding

  • Testing

  • Evaluation

Key Stage 5  

Pupils in sixth form are able to choose from A Level Computer Science or BTEC Creative Media (Game Design).

AS Computer Science

Exam 1 – Computing Principles

(1 hour 15 minutes) – 50% of AS level

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices

  • Software and software development

  • Programming

  • Exchanging data

  • Data types, data structures and algorithms

  • Legal, moral, ethical and cultural issues

Exam 2 – Algorithms and Problem Solving

(1 hour 15 minutes) – 50% of AS level

  • Elements of computational thinking

  • Problem solving and programming

  • Algorithms

*AS does not count towards A2 (it is a standalone AS)

A Level Computer Science

Exam 1 – Computer Systems

(2 hours and 30 Minutes) – 40% of total A level

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices

  • Software and software development

  • Exchanging data

  • Data types, data structures and algorithms

  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues

Exam 2 – Algorithms and Programming

(2 hours and 30 Minutes) – 40% of total A level

  • Elements of computational thinking

  • Problem solving and programming

  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms

Programming Project

20% of total A level

The learner will choose a computing problem to work through according to the guidance in the specification.

  • Analysis of the problem

  • Design of the solution

  • Developing the solution

BTEC Level 3 Creative Media (Games Design)

Equivalent to one A Level

AS

  • Communication techniques

  • Pre-production techniques

  • 3D modelling

  • 3D animation

  • Research skills

A2

  • Concept art

  • Games graphics

Future Possibilities:

Programmer, Data Analyst, Information Systems Manager, IT Consultant, Web Designer, Graphic Designer, Games Designer.