Computer Science & IT

Subject Overview

The school is well-equipped with modern PC computer hardware and software. The whole-school network connects all buildings using fibre-optic technology. There are four dedicated computer rooms, plus another suite with PCs which is used for Technology. The main computer suites are installed with interactive whiteboards and digital projectors for class demonstrations. Students have access to over 150 computers on the school network, both during and outside their normal lessons, and all using the latest Windows and CD multimedia software. We have a well-developed school website which not only provides information about the school but is also widely used to celebrate school life.

Throughout Years 7 – 11 students are provided with lessons dedicated to Computer Science and IT, which are taught by specialist staff. The topics covered include computer awareness and health and safety, computer programming, practice with various application programs such as word processing, spreadsheets, data-handling, multimedia and presentation, desktop publishing (DTP), control of external devices, web design and image manipulation with the use of Photoshop.

Information retrieval from the school intranet and internet plays a significant part in any project work in Computer Science and IT and also in many other areas of the curriculum.

Teaching Aims and Objectives

Aims

To develop in all students:
  • Confidence and proficiency in the use of IT
  • The ability to decide when it is appropriate to use IT and utilise suitable software
and also:
  • To provide continuity and progression in the Key Stage 3 curriculum for students in Years 7 and 8
  • To provide the opportunity for students in Year 9 to select and undertake a GCSE in Computer Science
  • To provide the opportunity for all students to study the Cambridge National Award which is equivalent to Full-course GCSE at Key Stage 4 and a single award A Level qualification at post-16
  • To encourage students to develop an understanding of the wider application and effects of information technology
  • To enhance and enrich learning across the curriculum, promoting self-study and group work
  • To provide students with a broad and balanced view of the range of applications and information systems and an understanding of their capabilities and limitations
  • To provide an environment that enables every individual, regardless of gender, race or ability, to develop their IT skills to their fullest potential.


Objectives
  • To provide a rounded Computing curriculum that delivers the National Curriculum in each key stage
  • To provide a Computing curriculum that relates to the wider applications and effects of IT in everyday life
  • To provide opportunities for students to use Information Technology independently and to show awareness of how IT improves efficiency and supports new ways of working
  • To provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge, skills and understanding of IT to a range of situations
  • To provide opportunities for students to consider the social, legal, ethical and moral issues surrounding the handling of data
  • To provide opportunities for students to consider the security needs for handling data in this increasingly technological world.
Course Information

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 - 8)

Students have differing levels of knowledge in IT when they arrive at Waddesdon. They also find themselves in a new environment and are therefore eased into their programme of Computer Science and IT.

The Computing curriculum is based around the National Strategy for ICT, but all units undertaken by students have been adapted to make them as innovative and fit for purpose as possible. The curriculum gives students the opportunity to learn exciting new skills such as becoming proficient in creating interactive multimedia products that make use of sound and video, editing and manipulating images, as well as giving them the Microsoft knowledge and skills that they will need later in life. The main aim of the curriculum at Key Stage 3 is to equip students to understand the fundamental concepts of ICT, as well as to help them further improve their practical skills base from Key Stage 2.

All students at Key Stage 3 will also have the opportunity to learn material that is recognisably ‘Computer Science’.  Computer Science is the study of how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed.  Students will be encouraged to develop their computational thinking skills and apply these to all kinds of systems. We explore these through the following topics: Algorithms, Hardware and Processing, Communication and Networks, Data and Data Representation, and Programming and Coding.

Key Stage 4 (Years 9 – 11)

All students work towards their Cambridge National Award in IT which is the equivalent to a GCSE. Other students opt to undertake a GCSE in Computer Science from OCR.

Key Stage 5 (Years 12 – 13)

Students opt to undertake a GCE in Applied ICT. The syllabus followed is offered by Edexcel.

Examinations

Students complete examinations and coursework in the following areas of the Computer Science and IT curriculum:

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 students follow the Cambridge National Award:

J810 – Unit R001 – Written Examination

J810 – Unit R002 – Controlled Assessment

J810 – Unit R004 – Controlled Assessment

J810 – Unit R006 – Controlled Assessment

GCSE Computer Science:

J276 – Unit 01 – Written Examination

J276 – Unit 02 – Written Examination

J276 – Unit 03 – Programming Project

Key Stage 5

GCE Applied ICT

During the first year of the qualification, students study the following units for the AS award:

6951 – The Information Age - Internally Assessed

6952 – The Digital Economy - Internally Assessed

6953 – The Knowledge Worker - Externally Assessed

  During the second year of the A Level, students undertake the following units of work:

6957 – Using Database Software – Externally Assessed. Students complete a 10-hour exam

6958 – Managing a Project – Internally Assessed

6960 – Multimedia – Internally Assessed

Hardware and Software

There are four fully-equipped computer suites with thirty-one stations in each suite, a laser printer, a scanner, an interactive whiteboard and a digital projector.

All computers have access to:
  • the internet
  • the intranet
  • subject-specific software
  • interactive multimedia software


User Access Policy

The school network is a valued resource, available to all pupils and staff. It is a highly efficient system, capable of being personalised to each user; this allows specific user policies to be employed for each user-type. Therefore access can be controlled for each specific user and the network exposure can be kept to a minimum.

The school network is fully accessible from any station throughout the building that has network access. This means that users can access their work from any location at any time. Users have their own unique user-name and password to gain access to personalised network services; this also includes their specific security policy. This username and password remain the same for the rest of their school career. However, should a student return for Sixth Form, they will be issued a new user account. Users are encouraged to keep their password secure by not making it available to anyone else.

Internet Security

The internet is readily available to anyone with access to the network. It is a highly valued resource used by all departments. However, much information made available by the internet is unsuitable; in school, precautions are taken to ensure that inappropriate sites do not become available within school. It should be noted, however, that preventing students from seeing information that may not be suitable is very difficult and not all information can be blocked. Therefore students are supervised to the highest extent possible during timetabled lessons.

The following guidelines are adhered to:
  • The internet may only be accessed on week-days between 8am and 4:30pm and during term-time only.
  • Access to many, if not most, sites considered to contain "unsuitable" material is prevented by a filtering system used by our Internet Service Provider. As new sites of this nature come online and come to the attention of teachers county-wide, they are filtered out as soon as the service provider is notified. Websites are also filtered and recorded by our own proxy server. Access is prevented to all web-based email servers (i.e Hotmail), "hacking" sites, executable files and many advertisements.
  • Chat rooms are not considered to be a suitable use of a busy school network system nor of students’ school time. The school Internet Service Provider does not allow access to these.
  • Precautions are taken to reduce the chances of infection by computer viruses via the internet or email, which may then be inadvertently taken home on a removable storage device. The antivirus software, installed on all school network stations, is updated every day.
  • New students joining the school are issued with an Internet Access Agreement Contract. This gives them the opportunity to read through carefully what is expected of them as users of the internet whilst in school.
  • Subject Leader: Avnish Majethia
  • Teachers: Yousaf Amir, James Grace
  • Network and Systems Manager: Duncan Purchase
  • Technicians: Christopher Kellett, Rory Scrivener