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Computer science

Our aim in the Computer Science Department is to give all students, of all abilities, the skills and opportunity to experience and use a range of exciting coding applications. We aim to provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills to use technological tools to find, explore, communicate and present information safely and responsibly. We prepare students for life as digital citizens, able to use and assess digital resources with an understanding of the principals underpinning them. Our broad curriculum is balanced and integrated.  It supports students in whichever pathway they choose at Key Stage 4 (Digital Information Technology or Computer Science) and beyond and is designed to inspire and challenge our students to enable them to become independent and ambitious learners.

The curriculum includes coding and computational thinking to develop hardworking, resilient and creative problem solvers. As students progress through the spiral curriculum, they will gain a deeper understanding of the digital world and gain the confidence to explore and develop new technologies in preparation for their future careers, perhaps even for jobs that have not yet been invented.

Our curriculum fits in with the school’s intention of being ambitious, with the challenging topics and high-level programming skills taught and the range of topical skills developed over the key stages.  It promotes students to be hardworking independent learners by teaching them how to decompose problems and by having the highest expectations of them in class and studying at home.  Students are taught to be resilient , working with a computational approach to problem solving using the departments mantra. Students will be taught about how they need to take responsibility for their actions both locally and globally as active and safe online citizens.
 
Students in Year 7 are initially taught how to stay safe online and how to organise themselves at St Catherine’s College in order for them to be safe and efficient users of our online, cloud-based curriculum and IT facilities. E-safety will feature as a first unit in years 7-9; enabling them to develop their digital safety skills. They will also engage in the creation of Scratch games exploring key concepts such as variables, sequences, selection and iteration as groundwork for using BBC micro;bits in project 3. They will explore exciting challenges within this unit which uses Python, our first text-based language of choice.  
 
Python and coding skills remain the focus of Year 8. Students create an e-safety quiz (in Python) and explore the world of computer control using a flowchart and pseudocode approach to solving input, process and output challenges within Flowol. This is a dedicated piece of software bought to support these skills in topical scenarios. They then, using html, our 2nd text-based language, create a website. This introduces them to the concept of creating a digital product for purpose and audience which is revisited in Y9 (as a taster of DiT BTEC expectation). 
 
Year 9 has 6 units to build on Y7 & Y8 experiences and to give a broad as taste as possible of the options at KS4; GCSE OCR Computer Science and BTEC DiT. 
 
Within unit 1, students create a digital product which presents to a chosen audience about how to stay safe online.  
 
Unit 2 revisits and explores the world of computer control, using flowcharts and pseudocode to solve problems allowing them to see that it is internationally acceptable to code in flowcharts, pseudocode or a high-level language. 
 
Unit 3 centres around students building on their html, web-based skills in order to create a touch screen interactive product for a big event, skills vital for the DiT; purpose and audience a strong focus.  
 
Unit 4 Explores the hardware of “My Phone” and is an engaging, topical and relevant way to explore and deliver hardware and data representation in a fun way.  
 
Unit 5 focuses on extending and developing Python skills ready for KS4 Computer Science. 
 
Unit 6 is a digital product which teaches students how to use excel in order to track the sales of seats for our drama production; again, essential skills for the DiT delivered within the context of a real-life event. 
 
If you have any queries, please contact Mr S Wilson, Head of Computer Science

Email: swilson@stcatherines.college

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