Spring Hill High School’s ICT/Computing department offers a range of courses relating to computer science, information technology and digital literacy. A range of modern, innovative and engaging learning tools are used to ensure that all students are able to access the subject, progress and achieve qualifications.
In an increasingly digital age, high quality teaching equips learners to use and apply fundamental concepts, principles and mathematical skill, using analytical, logical and evaluative computational thinking in a wide range of contexts to design and develop algorithmic solutions. Students will also be supported to understand how digital systems/networks process and represent data and instructions., as well as the societal impacts of contemporary technology. Computing has deep links with Mathematics, Science and Design Technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. Like numeracy and literacy there is a cognitive strand of computing that offers valuable thinking skills to learners of all ages (e.g. algorithmics, logic, visualisation, precision, abstraction). Opportunities are provided for learners to use their skills to take part in whole-school initiatives such as a ‘Robot Wars’ competition and STEM science fair.
The school provides that every student has the opportunity to learn about concepts relating to three strands of computing. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils develop digital literacy – by becoming able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
Key Stage 3:
At Key Stage 3, learners are introduced to the concepts and skills to prepare them to undertake a GCSE in Computer Science, whilst also achieving a Functional Skills in ICT qualification, which is discussed individually below. Learners will:
- Become familiar with several key algorithms and use logical reasoning to compare their performance and utility;
- Use a variety of programming languages including Scratch, Python, HTML/CSS and SQL and their natural curiosity and love of learning to design, develop, test and refine nested, modular solutions to solve computational problems making use of programming fundamentals such as input/output, variable assignment, functions and procedures and data structures;
- Understand simple Boolean logic and its uses in electrical systems and programming;
- Discover how different data types are represented by a computer system, including how numbers, text, images and audio are encoded in binary and hexadecimal. Learners will carry out operations including number base conversion and binary addition;
- Investigate the hardware and software components that make up computer systems and how they communicate with one another and other systems by disassembling and examining a real desktop system, creating networks and using network hardware to experiencing server/client-side programming and web desig;
- Demonstrate a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely in recognising inappropriate content and protecting their online identity and privacy.
Key Stage 4:
At Key Stage 4 students will study computer science and information technology at a sufficient depth to allow them to progress to a higher level of study and professional career, whilst pursuing a GCSE qualification. They will do so by undertaking in-depth practical programming projects to produce a substantial solution to a complex problem and preparing for written assessments comprised of computational problem solving and theoretical knowledge.
- Develop their independence, imagination and creativity in software development, computing theory and interacting with digital media;
- Develop and apply their analytical, problem-solving, abstraction, pattern recognition and decomposition skills;
- Investigate contemporary changes in technology such as augmented reality and computational models and threats to safety and cyber-security.
Learners also have the opportunity to complete a Functional Skills in ICT course at Entry Level 1, 2 and 3 and Level 1 and 2. It is designed to help learners develop practical skills which will allow them to work confidently, effectively and independently in life. Learners will interact with ICT systems safely and securely to find and select information and develop, present and communicate it for purpose whilst demonstrating knowledge of safety and security practices and intellectual property rights. They will use a range of LibreOffice software and email applications in data handling, creative and professional contexts to meet requirements and needs.
Assessment in Computing
Assessment: This will be ongoing through in class study and pupil self assessment and peer assessment of work. End of topic summative assessments will be completed termly, comprised of past paper GCSE questions and assessments produced in-house at KS3 level. Pupils will complete practical programming projects and written assessments comprised of computational problem solving and theoretical knowledge. There is an opportunity for pupils to become certified in their study through the AQA Unit awards scheme.