Department of Computing

Ada Lovelace Computer Science Building opening event video

 

Aims

Computing has been a specialist subject at Townley for over 5 years. The aim of the department is to provide students with the opportunity to embrace technology and to inspire them in this subject.  Our students enjoy the challenge of problem solving and this subject provides the right forum for them to discover the realms of technology.

The department has been recognised as a leader in paving the way of how computer science should be delivered in schools both secondary and primary. We are actively working with primary schools in how computer science can be delivered as a subject through our outreach program The Digital Schoolhouse.  We are a Computing at Schools hub (“CAS”) delivering training to teachers locally.

Further afield a film company from Holland recorded a documentary in the department and we have hosted delegates from Malaysia and Sweden.

Staff and Resources

The department has 6 members of staff coming from a wide variety of specialisms within technology, from robotics to programming.  Many have had experience of working in technology industries and therefore come with a depth of industry knowledge which complements their academic expertise. 

Each class is taught in small groups of 20 pupils as it is a recognised part-theory part-practical subject.  The department provides 6 classrooms fully equipped with networked PCs and a range of industry standard software.  This enables students to be more interactive with the subject as well as being able to encourage group work and individual tasks to expand their skills.  Each student is provided with an email account as well as having access to the school's virtual learning environment (VLE). Access is also given to the computer suites at lunchtime and after school.

Key Stage 3 - Years 7-9 Computer Science

 

Due to the nature of the subject, the department constantly evaluates and improves our Key Stage 3 curriculum each year. Our current Key Stage 3 curriculum for Computing is set out below, with the aims of challenging our students’ abilities and empowering them with the confidence and skills required to move forward into an ever-expanding world of technology.  

 

Year 7 :  

 

During a weekly fifty minute lesson, they are able to learn an excellent balance of ICT and Computer Science skills necessary to build confidence and form a solid foundation for further development in the years to follow in Key Stage 3.  Upon entering Townley students are allocated student accounts to the school network, where they can store their work and access any resources required for all subjects. Although our aims are to challenge new Townley students, no previous learning is necessary for the following topics listed below:

  • E-Safety Media Project incorporating cyberbullying, online safety and computer protection
  • An introduction to Computer Programming using Scratch
  • Understanding computer systems and learning features functions of a spreadsheet system, in order to create a model using MS Excel

  • Control Systems using Flowol helps to reinforce programming concepts

  • An Introduction to Databases, using logical operators to search

  • First Steps in Small Basic uses code to build on programming techniques 

 

Year 8:

 

Students continue to build on their computing and digital literacy skills with the units of work taught below.  Concepts and skills are designed to stretch all abilities during one fifty minute lesson a week, where their knowledge and skills are reinforced and developed further with the projects taught below.

  • An Introduction to Photoshop and Flash, provides the students the skills they need to prepare elements for their website to follow

  • Design and develop a website for a small business using HTML code

  • Manipulating audio using Audacity

  • An Introduction to Relational databases using MS Access

  • Using Python to code a maths quiz, helps to review programming techniques

  • Computer Systems, in order to gain the knowledge for data representation and the parts that make up a computer

 

Year 9 :

Computing is a specialist subject at TGS so Year 9 is used to prepare the students for when they choose their options on whether to choose GCSE Computing which is offered as a full course GCSE option.

The Computer Science syllabus in Year 9, continues to build on the computing skills the students will have developed in years 7 & 8.  This will involve problem solving skills using Visual Basic  in order to prepare them for the rigours of the GCSE course.  See the below an outline of the some of the modules the students may study:

During this year of study the Computer Science syllabus continues to build on the computing skills and knowledge students will have developed in Years 7 and 8:

  • A Dummies Guide to Computer is produced, helping to reinforce knowledge of data representation, hardware and software.

  • Creating apps using App Inventor helps to develop students design and programming skills further.

  • Students learn theory relating to Graphics before revisiting their Photoshop skills to produce a movie poster.

  • For this unit students have the opportunity of expanding their skills set further using Python to make a game.

  • The final project of the year is called ‘Google Time’ where they are able to research into a particular area of computing present it using a program of their choice.

Key Stage 4 - GCSE Computer Science

 

Why Choose Computing?

 


There are various reasons to study Computing, but the main reason is that it is guaranteed to equip students with valuable skills and knowledge for a solid foundation, for any career they wish to pursue in the future. These skills can also be developed further at higher education and for a future career in the industry to work with variety of technologies, such as web design and games development. The courses offered at Townley are engaging and enjoyable to study. Designed to nurture digital literacy and provide the student with up-to-date skills and an excellent understanding of the rapidly developing digital world.
The Key Stage 3 curriculum prepares students for the demands of the GCSE syllabus, where Computer Science course is offered at GCSE.


OCR GCSE Computer Science

 


Students will have experienced some theoretical knowledge of computer systems and basic programming through their Computer Science lessons in Year 9. This course is challenging yet it offers a fun and interesting way to develop skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and applied in day-to-day life.
Students are helped to improve analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming.

The course provides excellent preparation for study in higher education and employment in the field of Computer Science that rely on these skills, especially where they are applied to technical problems. Careers include engineering, financial, science and medicine.

Student Testimony:

 

“I took Computer Science because I knew that there is a high demand for it in the workplace, but also because I really enjoy solving problems and using logic. Also, I enjoy being creative, so Computer Science combines those two aspects as you get to make your own programs from scratch but also you have a lot of problems to solve to get them to work. I actually enjoy it when something doesn’t work and you have to really twist your brain to come up with a solution! There can be so many ways to solve a problem and there is never just one answer. The feeling when you have written some code that solves a problem is fantastic! I find the theory fascinating and am considering taking Computer Science at A level after my GCSEs. I would recommend this subject for students who are good at subjects like Maths or Science and are both logical and creative.”

Tharushi Wijesena 11Hera




OCR GCSE Computer Science Course Components:

 

This new specification is split into three components:

Component 01 – Computer Systems (40% of total GCSE)

Just how do computers work? How can we keep safe whilst using computers? This first component is an exam focused on computer systems covering the physical elements of computer science and the associated theory.

Component 02 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming (40% of total GCSE)

How can we get computers to solve problems? How do computers run and store the programs we write? This component is focused on the core theory of computer science and the application of computer science principles.

Component 02 – Programming Project (non-exam assessment) (20% of total GCSE)

Programming in action! This component is the non-exam assessment where you will be challenged by a range of exciting and engaging tasks to apply the knowledge and skills you have learned. 

 

Related Careers / A Level progression

 

This Computer Science qualification will, above all else, be relevant to the modern and changing world of computer science. Computer Science is a practical subject where you can apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world problems. It is an intensely creative subject that involves invention and excitement. This qualification values computational thinking, helping you to develop the skills to solve problems and design systems that do so. You will be equipped with lifelong skills that you can use in a whole variety of A Level courses, including A Level Computer Science, as well as enabling you to work in Technology companies large and small anywhere in the world.

 

Key Stage 5 - A Level Computer Science

 

Benefits of Studying Computing at AS and A2 Level – OCR

 

Information technologies continue to have a growing importance. This means there will be a bigger demand for professionals who are qualified in this area. If students want to go on to higher study and employment in the field of Computer Science, they will find that this course provides a superb stepping stone.  Students who study Computing can go on to a career in Medicine, Law, Business, Politics or any type of Science.

Students who have taken a Computing GCSE and who then progress to study the subject at A-level or university will have a sound underpinning knowledge of this subject area.

 

  • Gives learners a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works

  • Provides excellent preparation for higher study and employment in the field of Computer Science. 

  • Develops critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming

 

AS :

 

Unit 1:  

This unit provides 50% of the AS mark. This unit covers the course theory, including topics such as the use of binary, the representation of data within a computer, the function of commonly used hardware and the Design Life Cycle.

Unit 2:

This unit provides 50% of the AS mark. This units is primarily concerned with teaching students how to program. This involves introducing students to the programming languages Python and Visual Basic. Students are set a number of programming tasks of increasing complexity, as well as being taught a framework for understanding the commands and structures found in most programming languages. The final exam presents students with questions which both test their knowledge of the subject, but also their ability to solve algorithm problems under time pressure.

  

A2 :

 

Unit 3: 

This unit provides 60% of the A2 mark. This unit covers the course theory, including topics such as use of the functions of the Operating System, Databases, Floating Point Binary, Manipulating Data Structures and the functions of a compiler.

Unit 4:

This unit provides 40% of the A2 mark. This unit is a coursework unit. It consists of creating a fully functional programmed system (using a programming language of choice).

 

Course Requirements :

 

Candidates wanting to study A Level Computing would have preferably achieved a grade B at GCSE Computing or an equivalent GCSE ICT qualification.  Computing is a valuable skill and as such would be beneficial to the majority of students, and relevant to a range of careers.

 

 

 

Enrichment

 

Throughout the school year students are offered various opportunities to take part in school trips.  So far this year the department has run a trip for Year 8 "Teentech Trip", and  for Year 11 "Think Computer Science" run by Microsoft at their Cambridge offices.

 

Year 7 Maths and Computing Day – students are introduced to a variety of Computer Science concepts

Digital Day – Students work with industry professionals on different project ideas in teams

GCSE Trip to Oxford University

GCSE Trip to ‘Think Computer Science’ at Cambridge

Year 9 Trip to "Bloomsbury Hack Day"  University College London

STEM Day  the school hosts a technology themed day whereby speakers from education as well as investment companies have come into school to speak to students about their careers in the technology industry. Workshops are also held throughout the day for all year groups to participate in technology themed activities.

 

Silicon Valley Trip - GCSE Students

 

The students have an opportunity to apply for a place on a week long trip to Silicon Valley in San Francisco.  Here the students are given the chance to visit offices such as Google and Microsoft and have speakers talk to them about life in the technology industry.  This trip has been hugely successful in promoting girls especially to consider a career in the fields of technology. 

 

After School Activities

 

All the computer suites  are available to students after school.  There are also computers available in the library.

Coding Club

 

Coding club is aimed at the upper school students and sessions are  on Tuesday and Thursday afterschool. The aim of the club is to help students with their programming skills.  The classes are run by qualified teachers in programming skills.

 

Animation Club

 

Tuesday lunchtime:  Aimed at Year 7 & 8 students the club allows students to combine their creative skills with technical skills in Flash.

 

Computing Club

Wednesday lunchtime:  Aimed at lower school students the club explores different areas of computing, from coding to building hand held games consoles.

 

 

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