The department aims for students to foster an understanding of computers as binary machines able to support a wide range of software applications, develop an appreciation of the benefits and dangers arising from the use of computers in a variety of contexts, and develop thinking skills through programme writing. Besides the principles of Computing, the appropriate use of general-purpose applications software is also covered.
A range of programming tools is used across Key Stage 3 including Scratch, Python and Visual Basic. Pupils are taught in mixed-ability groups of no more than 24 class members. By the conclusion of this Key Stage, pupils will have learnt how to write self-contained applications programs to perform a variety of tasks ranging from working out averages to calculating insurance premiums.
Computing is a subject that encourages students to develop problem-solving skills. By breaking down ideas into smaller and smaller parts, students become critical-thinkers. The subject offers students the opportunity of furthering their knowledge of computers as machines controlled by software. It is not a subject about simply using software; it is about being creative and imaginative! The GCSE course focuses upon the theory and the practice of writing software. The theory of software design is referenced through the development of algorithms, while its practice is achieved by converting algorithms into program code.
A Level Computing reflects both the applications of computers within society, as well as the theoretical principles of Computer Science. Students develop problem solving and coding skills including advanced techniques such as Object-oriented programming, recursion, declarative programming and assembly programming. In addition, pupils will understand how data is stored and manipulated as binary. Pupils will study the simplification of Boolean algebra expressions and logic gates. The operation of computer systems will be covered including the fetch and execute cycle, local area networks and wide area networking principles of TCP/IP protocols.
Access to IT facilities is available at designated lunchtime club sessions, allowing pupils both to brush up or extend their knowledge of techniques and practice or complete assignments. Help is available during club sessions.