The Computing Department teaches Computing to all students in Year 6, 7, 8 and 9. In Years 10 and 11, we offer IGCSE Computer Science to those who opt for the subject. Computer Science is also offered in the Sixth Form, following CIE’s A Level syllabus. Through the medium of Computational Thinking, students are given the opportunity to allow their problem solving skills and analytical thinking to flourish and overcome a myriad of challenges.
The Department also provides significant input in to the Technology component of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). STEM work consists of programming and using microcontrollers, learning to program in Visual Basic within Excel spreadsheets, and Electronics.
The Computing Department aims to enthuse and challenge the boys at all ages, and to foster a love for the subject. Through development of analytical thinking, decomposition, problem formulation and abstraction, students will move towards becoming competent problem solvers. Independent thought and resilience are two key areas that students develop during their Computing studies and the Department looks to draw these traits out from the students through a myriad of different topics and exercises. These aims are coupled with a constant aspiration for academic excellence and preparation for public examinations, university courses and the world of work.
The Department aims to provide basic skills and education in Computing (the generic term covering both ICT and Computer Science), to meet the specialised needs of those who need more, and to inspire students with the vast possibilities that Computing explores.
In Year 6, 7, 8 and 9, the courses the students follow are based on the National Curriculum descriptors for Computing, while still allowing flexibility to investigate areas of greater importance and interest. In Years 10-11, the Department offers Cambridge International’s IGCSE Computer Science, and CIE’s syllabus for A Level Computing in Years 12-13.
The Department’s core methodology is based on ‘teaching by doing’, while reinforcing through wider theory. Students are often shown what can be done, and given specific instructions to follow to provide scaffolding for their learning. They are often then asked to do similar tasks with enhancements and increased difficulty that will challenge their problem solving skills and logical thinking. Work is primarily submitted via an online platform for assessment, and only accepted once it has reached the desired standard. Assessment of completed work is therefore on the ability to complete the task, and the ability to follow technical instructions accurately and efficiently, the ability to move beyond example work, and proof of comprehensive testing.
Schemes of work
Schemes of work are written to reflect Computing skills based on the National Curriculum:
- understanding and application of abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- analysing problems in computational terms
- gaining practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve problems
- evaluating and applying information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
In order for these to be effective, we employ a range of software and technologies including mobile devices, robotics, web development packages, IDEs and database packages.
Above Year 9, the Schemes of Work in any Year are determined by the exam specifications. At GCSE and A Level, there is a significant emphasis on the practical work, accounting for approximately 50% of the contact time with the students.
We are frequent competitors in the British Informatics Olympiad, regularly enter and win student Hackathons, and often have winning or commended entries in computing essay competitions.
The Department runs an annual trip to Bletchley Park for the GCSE students and also ad-hoc trips to universities for talks, conferences on developments in computing technology and exhibitions on technologies related to the schemes of work being studied.