KS3 Computer Science
KS3 Computer Science
Our focus is to provide a Computing curriculum which is ambitious, coherent, and inclusive of all learners.
The department aims to provide purposeful lessons which build upon students' prior learning, allowing them to develop their skills and knowledge across Computer Science, Digital Literacy, and IT. We want to encourage students to become independent learners who solve problems and develop their own programs and who will then consider taking the subject further.
At KS3, DGS students will be given the opportunity to develop their computing, IT, and digital skills. These skills are carefully planned throughout the curriculum, providing opportunities for the three Computing benchmarks (Computer Science, IT and Digital literacy) to be covered and built upon within the KS3 curriculum
Lessons are planned using the NCCE Teach Computing curriculum, which is carefully sequenced so that each lesson builds on the learning from the previous ones and, where appropriate, activities are scaffolded so that all pupils can succeed and thrive.
The work of the NCCE is underpinned by 12 principles of Computing Pedagogy; the department focuses on:
Lead with concepts
Unplug, unpack, repack
Poster program comprehension
Read and explore code first
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- Can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- Can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- Are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Meeting the needs of SEND and disadvantaged students
The Computer Science Department will ensure that SEND and disadvantaged students are supported during lessons. The following are used throughout the department to ensure that these groups of learners are making progress:
- Teachers will ensure groups of learners are identified on seating plans
- Teachers will ensure that students' understanding is checked regularly by circulating the classroom and using targeted hands-down questioning.
- Students will often work collaboratively, especially using ‘paired programming’ and when collaborating on creating digital artifacts.
- Modelling is used throughout the curriculum, as it supports students with the structure and approach in developing programs and digital artifacts as well as providing all students with access to the skills/knowledge needed to be successful.
- Programming activities will often be scaffolded with step-by-step instructions, allowing the task to be broken down so that all students can access the set tasks.
- The use of multiple-choice retrieval starters offer the opportunity for all students to revisit and embed prior learning.
- The explicit teaching of key vocabulary ensures access to the subject and its terminology.
- Where possible, teaching assistants are fully utilised to support students with SEND.
The department are continuing to develop the curriculum and pedagogy by embedding retrieval exercises within the lessons, including the use of multiple-choice questions set digitally on Forms. The class teacher can provide instant feedback through reviewing student responses live.
The topics studied at KS3 enable to re-visit and deepen prior knowledge and skills. An example of this is in Year 7 where students create programs using Scratch. The skills learnt in this topic are then revisited and built upon in Year 8 when studying the Mobile App Development unit.
Every unit includes a summative assessment in the form of either a multiple-choice quiz (MCQ) or a rubric. All units are designed to cover knowledge, skills and concepts from across the computing national curriculum.
Units that focus on conceptual development include an MCQ. Units that focus more on skills development end with a project and include a rubric.
Each of the MCQ questions has been carefully chosen to represent learning that should have been achieved within the unit.
The rubric is a tool to help teachers assess project-based work. Each rubric covers the application of skills that have been directly taught across the unit. It allows teachers to assess projects that pupils have created, focussing on the appropriate application of computing skills and concepts.
Online safety is an important aspect of the Computing curriculum. Once a term, the department will deliver an Online Safety lesson, with each lesson having a different theme. Online Safety is also covered as part of topic 7.1 - Impact of technology: collaborating online respectfully.
GCSE Computer Science
This course provides a framework that allows students to develop their understanding and application of the core concepts in Computer Science. The course allows students to analyse problems in computational terms and devise creative solutions by designing, writing, testing and evaluating programs.
Component 01 – Computer Systems
Introduces students to the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, data representation, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with computer science.
Component 02 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming
Students apply knowledge and understanding gained in component 01. They develop skills and understanding in computational thinking: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic and translators.
Students are to be given the opportunity to undertake a programming task(s) during their course of study which allows them to develop their skills to design, write, test and refine programs using a high-level programming language. Students will be assessed on these skills during the written examinations, in particular component 02 (section B).
How it’s assessed:
Marks & Duration
Computer systems (01)
1 hour 30 mins
Computational thinking, algorithms and programming (02)
1 hour 30 mins
Assessment and Progression
Component 1: This paper consists of multiple-choice questions, short response questions and extended response questions.
Component 2: This paper has two sections: Section A and Section B. Students must answer both sections. In Section B, questions assessing students’ ability to write or refine algorithms must be answered using either the OCR Exam Reference Language or the high- level programming language they are familiar with.
Progression to Post-16:
A-Level Computer Science
Future career links:
Web designer, cyber security analyst, software engineer, game developer, big data analyst, accountants, robotics programmer
Director of Computer Science: Mr N Rees