Computer Science is the study of how computers and computer systems work and how they are constructed and programmed. From the design of computers to programming, Computer Science has broadened applications in areas as diverse as science, engineering, mathematics and the arts. Computer Science has replaced ICT in the National Curriculum from September 2014 and we are pleased to offer a varied and exciting curriculum all the way through Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.
The Computer Science faculty boasts excellent facilities, including a new classroom within the recently opened I Block. All of our Computer Science facilities are well equipped with the most modern technologies running the latest industry standard software. Our teaching spaces provide room for practical activities as well as theory based work.
We also have a range of additional hardware to support practical and investigatory style work, this includes; Raspberry Pis; BBC Micro:Bits; Arduino Boards; Pico Boards; Vex Robots; and much more!
The faculty is well staffed with subject experts who are passionate about both their subject and teaching. Sandringham School is a lead school in the Computing at Schools Network of Excellence. This status recognises the quality of our curriculum as well as the outreach and support we provide to other schools locally.
Our Computer Science curriculum is both fun and stretching, covering aspects of computer science, digital literacy and creativity. The areas of study offer students broad experiences within the subject area. Over the course of Key Stage 3, students will have experienced and studied many different areas of Computer Science to give them a taste of what the subject entails.
Students study Computer Science for 1 hour a week in Years 7, 8 and 9.
Students can select to study OCR GCSE Computer Science in Key Stage 4. This qualification builds on the foundation of knowledge acquired at Key Stage 3 and is intensely practical in nature. This qualification is assessed through two theory based examinations and one controlled assessment.
Students develop programming skills throughout the course in preparation to complete a controlled assessment during Year 11. This is a substantial project of 20 hours in duration. Topics are chosen from a range set by the examination board, but in recent years students have designed and developed programs such as complex calculators, hangman games, arithmetic quizzes and technical trouble-shooters.
As part of the theory based examination, students study many key topic areas; Systems Architecture, Networking and Protocols, Systems Security, Systems Software, Computational Thinking, Programming Techniques, Computational Logic, Data Representation and Ethical, Legal, Cultural and Environmental Concerns.
From September 2016, the faculty has also offered a vocational IT route within the Key Stage 4 curriculum – Cambridge Nationals in IT Level 2. This course is assessed through 75% coursework and 25% examination. Through this hands on and intensely practical course, students study the following units:
- Understanding computer systems
- Using IT to create business solutions
- Creating interactive products using multimedia components
- Handling data using databases
OCR A Level Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It is an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, and can look at the natural world through a digital prism. Through this qualification, students can develop:
- The capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
- An understanding of the design and construction of computer systems
- The ability to apply computational thinking in a range of contexts to solve problems
- An appreciation of the power and limits of human and machine intelligence
- An understanding of the consequences of using computers, an awareness of emerging technologies and an appreciation of their potential impact on society
The KS5 curriculum remains broad and encompasses; the characteristics of contemporary processors; input, output and storage devices; software development programming; Data types, data structures and algorithms; Legal, moral, ethical and cultural issues; Elements of computational thinking; problem solving and programming.
OCR A Level in Computer Science (H446). The course has three key components:
|Unit 1: Computer Systems (01)||(Written Exam – 140 marks, 2.5 hours, 40% of A Level)|
|Unit 2: Algorithms and Programming (02)||(Written Exam – 140 marks, 2.5 hours, 40% of A Level)|
|Unit 3: Programming Project (03/04)||(Coursework – 70 marks, 20% of A Level)|
Unit 1: Computing Principles. This covers the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture; software and software development; exchanging data; data types, data structures and algorithms; and legal, ethical, moral and cultural issues.
Unit 2: Programming Techniques and Logical Methods. This covers elements of computational thinking, programming techniques, software development methodologies and standard algorithms. A scenario will be given and you will be asked to design an appropriate solution.
Unit 3: Programming Project. Through coursework, you will gain an understanding of definition, investigation and analysis, system design, software development and testing and evaluating. Your project will be of your own choice, assessed internally and moderated by an external examiner.
Further detail on Key Stage 5 study is available on the BeauSandVer website for Computer Science.
Beyond the Classroom
Extra curricular opportunities are available for students to participate in throughout their time at Sandringham. At present we offer a Year 7 Computer Science Club, a Games Design Club and a more hands on and advanced Computer Science Club where students get to experiment with hardware less frequently used within curriculum time. In addition to these weekly clubs, we also offer students opportunities to enter both local and national competitions, this includes, Bafta Young Games Designer Competition, CISCO’s Little Big Award and many others.
The Computer Science faculty aims to enrich students learning beyond the classroom. We have developed close links with the University of Hertfordshire Computer Science faculty, as well as other companies and organisations, to assist us in providing exciting opportunities such as talks and lectures, hack days and other events for our students to participate in. In recent times we have secured activities, talks and visits from University of Hertfordshire, University College London, CISCO, Google, Intel, Silicon Abbey, just to name a few.
Optional trips such as the Silicon Valley and San Francisco trip, National Computing Museum, and Farnborough Air Show Careers Days provide students with a chance to further their interests and allow them to see first-hand where Computer Science can lead them towards.
Director of Learning: Mark Allday
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