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Computing

LGGS  MG 5902

The Computing Department currently comprises of the Head of Computing, Miss Jo Clapham and full time teacher of Computing and Mathematics, Mrs Julia Foster and Head of Technology, Mrs Jacqui Sandbach.

It is the aim of the department to enable students to develop skills and knowledge in computer science and digital technologies to prepare them for a future in a world where the use of this technology is fully embodied. We wish to enthuse and challenge students to have an understanding far deeper than the interface that they currently operate.  

We strive to enable students to develop a love of learning for computing and an understanding that there are no limits to their own development in programming and IT. An important life skill for anyone is to problem solve. Using the strands of computational thinking will aid learners with their Computer Science studies and, as it is embedded within everyday life activities, they will understand that they cannot run before they can walk. We care about our student’s safety and they will be given guidance on how to work safely on-line so that it will be second nature to carry out all the necessary steps for their own safety as well as those around them.

At KS3 students will be given the opportunity to develop their computer coding and digital technology skills. Learning the language of code is an important added bonus as students who develop their coding skills will be able to grasp the magic behind the computers. This will allow them to take their studies onto KS4 and to Further and Higher education if they desire and ultimately secure a career within a large range of industries. We aim to encourage students to contribute in extra-curricular activities within the field of computing by giving the older students chance to run code club for KS3 students as well as the lower students taking part in both local and national competitions.

The School Values
The Computing Department contributes to the three school values in many ways:

Care: We aim to equip pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. We support students who want to develop their interests in the field of computing by holding talks, competitions and networking with local businesses to create work experience opportunities.
When students leave LGGS they are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

Contribute: We have various programmes on offer to the older students to get involved in KS3 lessons to support younger students develop their computational thinking skills. KS5 have the chance to help in one-to-one study sessions with KS4 students who may need extra help or guidance. We have a KS3 code club that is a safe space for students to come if they enjoy anything computing related. In the next academic year we have students coming from Lancaster University to run the code club and implement some new technology to encourage students to continue with computing related subjects at both KS4 and KS5.

Challenge: 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 challenged to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. We promote resilience in Computer Science as in programming lessons it can be very frustrating if code doesn’t work and students can be very quick to give up if they think it is too challenging. To combat this we have the ‘rubber duck debugging’ programme where students are given a rubber duck and they debug their code by forcing themselves to explain it, line-by-line, to the duck which allows the student thinking time but also chance to spot where the error is rather than asking for the answer straightaway.
 

GCSE Exam Board: AQA: Specification J277

A-level Exam Board: AQA:Specification 7517

If you need any further details about any of the above courses please contact: 
Miss J Clapham, Head of Computing.
Computing KS3 Learning Overview

Computer Science A-level

Computing Department Twitter

Key Stage 3 Computing

Key Stage 3: In recent years there has been a shift towards Computer Science, which has seen some fantastic changes in the curriculum.

The KS3 curriculum gives students access to 1 hour of computing a week. During this time Year 7 cover topics including Microsoft Office, Micro:bit, Cryptography, Scratch and Kodu. The Year 8 scheme of work includes topics such as HTML, Networks, Technology, Computational Thinking and Databases with SQL. Finally Year 9 cover areas in Python programming, the CPU, Data Representation, Artificial Intelligence and a project on E-Safety. We want to broaden understanding of Computing as well as also preparing students that may opt for a GCSE in the subject.

The KS3 Units are as follows:
YEAR 7 YEAR 8 YEAR 9
Office Projects HTML Python
Microbit Networks CPU
Scratch History of technology Data Representation
Cryptography Computational Thinking Artifical Intelligence
Kodu Databases and SQL E-safety

We use the Python programming language which is a fantastic language for teaching and is well-known in industry. It is also free to download at home and we are currently using Python 3.8. We also teach HTML in Year 8 with Scratch, Kodu and Micro:bit being taught in Year which are all graphical programming languages which we use to allow students to gain a different perspective on programming.  We use this to bring to life some of the Computer Science concepts we want students to understand from an early stage.  Again these can be downloaded for free at home or accessed through the web.

Access to Computers
We have several Windows based suites which are used for most of our day to day teaching.  These are available at lunchtimes, break times and before & after school for students to complete research, print or do Computer Science homework.  We understand that students may not be able to access the software they require at home, which is why these labs are available throughout the day.

 

Key Stage 4 (KS4)

Key Stage 4:  At KS4, the Computer Science department offers GCSE Computer Science:
Specification J277 

The links give details as to how the courses are structured and assessed.  
The list below shows some of the topics studied in the course. 

GCSE Computer Science
Programming in Python Computer Architecture Memory and Storage
Networking Network Threats Data Representation
Issues in Computing Algorithms Boolean Language

Assessment:    100% Examinations with two written papers both worth 50%.
 

GCSE Computer Science is concerned with building the infrastructure in the first place. Computer Science students may be considering careers directly in the field (Software Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Computer Scientist etc) or indirectly in related fields (the Sciences, many forms of Engineering, research, Medicine).
University admissions' offices are increasingly viewing Computer Science as a desirable subject, even for apparently unrelated fields.

Key Stage 5 (KS5)

Key Stage 5: At KS5 level, the Computing department offers one option, namely: 
A-level Computer Science (AQA).

Computer Science is a well-established course offered by the AQA exam board. The subject is a valuable addition to the school curriculum as computer science is at the forefront of technology and innovation and is very relevant to our modern world. The syllabus covers a wealth of information from programming, object orientated programming, algorithms, Dijkstra's Algorithm software design and ethics to name but a few.
In terms of choice of programming language, we make use of the Python programming language. It is a fantastic language for teaching students to program.
It is modern and cleanly incorporates all of the features that students need to understand. It is becoming increasingly popular in industry and at universities.

This course is well matched to various university courses including Computer Science, Software Engineering, Maths, any of the Sciences or even fields such as Medicine.
For students who wish to consider an alternative career path, Computer Science is a fantastic way to demonstrate a logical way of thinking.  It gives a good understanding of how many of the systems and machines around us operate.

Specific Topics covered are:

  1. Fundamentals of programming
  2. Fundamentals of data structures
  3. Fundamentals of algorithms
  4. Theory of computation
  5. Fundamentals of data representation
  6. Fundamentals of computer systems
  7. Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  8. Consequences of uses of computing
  9. Fundamentals of communication and networking
  10. Fundamentals of databases
  11. Big Data
  12. Fundamentals of functional programming
  13. Systematic approach to problem solving

Paper 1 

What's assessed: this paper tests a student's ability to program, as well as their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science from subject content 1-4 above and the skills required from section 13 above. 

Assessed

  • On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 40% of A-level

Questions

Students answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend programs in an Electronic Answer Document provided by us.

We will issue Preliminary Material, a Skeleton Program (available in each of the Programming Languages) and, where appropriate, test data, for use in the exam.

Paper 2

What's assessed: this paper tests a student's ability to answer questions from subject content 5-12 above.

Assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 40% of A-level

Questions

Compulsory short-answer and extended-answer questions.

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