Hodge Hill College

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Computer Science

As a subject rich in opportunity for creativity, investigation, and teamwork, our curriculum embraces these characteristics. We know the power of our subject, we know that it can raise aspirations, open doors to wider learning, and secure those important transferable skills our students will need when they graduate from our College.

Learners routinely explore contemporary issues presented by technology and form clear, articulated opinions on how these affect them, and their local and wider communities. More often than not, students propose solutions too.

It is important to show pupils the world of Computer Science outside of the lesson setting. We provide the following enrichment activities:

  • KS3 Computer Science club offers students time to do project-based work in a relaxed but purposeful environment
  • KS4 Programming club, run by a student volunteer who helps students deliver programming skills that will, in time, lead to opportunities including app development and software solutions to an everyday issue
  • Chess club (open to all years) teaches computational thinking and strategy, as well as cultivating a healthy environment of competition
  • Visits to the national computer science museum allow the student to see the impact Computer Science has already had on the history of the world and the future it may usher in

Our curriculum aims to develop:

Personal learning:  We are determined that our learners will gain transferable, useful skills that are applicable across a broad range of subjects and disciplines. We encourage learners to discover how technology can develop their personal growth when used independently and safely.

Social learning:  Problems cannot be solved alone, and we embrace the collaborative opportunities provided by the internet and examples in the industry. Our students discuss ideas, share solutions, plan their approaches, and work to support others across the classroom.

Cultural learning:  We acknowledge that technology is now intertwined with our cultural growth. Our learners explore where technology has directly and indirectly impacted our cultural development. This includes those moments where technology gets it wrong (hate speech, fake news, etc.) and where it gets it right (charitable causes, democratic freedoms, etc.).

Economic learning:  As a part of the STEM group, we recognise the broad field of options available to learners that are successful in our subject. From the earliest stages of learning, our curriculum emphasises the skills that our students need to access economic opportunities. We shape our lessons to promote career objectives, improve academic outcomes, and ensure learners see the wider context for their learning and how this reflects industry standards.

 

Five Year Plan

 

Key Stage Four

 Year 10

GCSE Computer Science
Exam board Edexcel Course code 1CP2
Examined by

One written paper worth 50% of the qualification.  This is a 1 hour 30 minutes examination worth 75 marks.  This is sat at the end of Year 11. 

One onscreen worth 50% of the qualification.  This is a 2-hour examination worth 75 marks.  This is sat at the end of Year 11.

Key topics taught
  • Computation thinking - understanding of what algorithms are, what they are used for and how they work; ability to follow, amend and write algorithms; ability to construct truth tables
  • Data - understanding of binary, data representation, data storage and compression
  • Computers - understanding of hardware and software components of computer systems and characteristics of programming languages
  • Networks - understanding of computer networks and network security
  • Issues and impact - – awareness of emerging trends in computing
  • Technologies, and the impact of computing on individuals, society and the
  • Environment, including ethical, legal and ownership issues

In Year 10 our students begin their GCSE curriculum immediately. This is based upon the content that they will have learnt in years 7, 8, and 9, and uses those skills as the foundation upon which to access the topics demanding greater skill.

Our students commence their studies with computation thinking, where they will discover and learn how to program in the text-based programming language Python. They will learn how to think computationally, solving algorithmic challenges from an early stage. Students will be assessed through a combination of mid-and end-of-topic assessments and written responses to programming challenges called “assessment points”. This will culminate in an end-of-year mock examination taking place in June.

Year 11

GCSE Computer Science
Exam board Edexcel Course code 1CP1
Examined by

Two exam papers worth 50% of the grade each. One paper is 1 hour 40 minutes and the other is 2 hours. Both are assessed at the end of Year 11. 

One compulsory project assignment completed within controlled conditions over 20 hours. This is assessed at the end of Year 10.

Key topics taught

Principles of Computer Science such as:

  • Data representation
  • Networking
  • Emerging trends in Computing

 

Application of computational thinking:

  • Binary representation
  • Hardware components
  • Databases

 

Programming project:

  • Algorithms (decomposition and abstraction)
  • Designing, writing, and testing programs

During the final year of the course, students will study the remaining four topics of Computer Science. They will explore how data is represented within a computer system, how the physical components within a standard computer architecture work together, how data is transmitted online, and the key social, moral, spiritual, and cultural issues arising from Computer Science in the 21st century.

Students are assessed via mid- and end-of-topic assessments and a mock exam taking place in January of their final year. Students will be supported in their learning through access to dedicated revision drop-in sessions, after-school masterclasses, online webinars and tutorials, and access to a wide range of independent study materials including recordings, revision cards, and past paper questions.

Students will study the GCSE Computer Science qualification provided by Edexcel. There are three components to this qualification:

  • Compulsory project programming task – a 20-hour programming task
  • Principles of Computer Science – a 1 hour 40-minute examination taken in Year 11
  • Application of Computation thinking – a 2-hour examination taken in Year 11

This linked overview has been issued by the exam board. Each examination taken in year 11 is worth 50% of the final grade. The programming project is not graded, but nevertheless is a requirement for the completion of the qualification.