Curriculum – Computer Science

Curriculum – Computer Science

Computer Science

The Curriculum

Curriculum Intent

Our intent at SHSG is to promote computational thinking and digital creativity. We want our students to develop the foundations to enable them to be discerning, life-long learners in a constantly changing technological landscape.  Computer Science is a subject in demand within in a globally competitive world. It has become an ever-growing part of human life, affecting many aspects of a person’s day. Computer systems are embedded ubiquitously in everyday devices, smart phones, washing machines, heating systems and vehicles, as our world embraces “The Internet of Things”. Computer scientists have an impact on how our society advances by developing and maintaining these systems: whether it be for our home, work, learning or entertainment environments. Computer Science is an exciting and rapidly evolving subject that offers excellent employment prospects and well-paid careers. The Computer Science department aims to develop the mind-set of a computer scientist through equipping students with the skills to participate in a rapidly-changing world. The curriculum journey incorporates challenging and engaging topics, giving students the opportunity to develop their capability, creativity and subject knowledge. It also capitalises upon, and feeds into, learning within other subject disciplines including mathematics, science and design and technology. It is these opportunities that enable students to develop and hone skills that can be applied in day-to-day life. Steve Jobs said “Everyone should learn how to code, it teaches you to think.”  Computational thinking is an essential skill for everyone to have and helps in all subject areas and careers. The curriculum has been designed to ensure learners have sufficient knowledge to stay safe online and use computers safely in life. We want students to not only understand how to use technology effectively, safely and responsibly, but also how technology is developed and constantly redeveloped into new and exciting tools. The curriculum also provides a focus on developing resilient learners who are able to recover from mistakes and effectively solve problems. This will help develop a lifelong effect of learning and how to develop themselves further and prepare for the future.

What does it feel like to be a student in the Computer Science Department?

Computer science will teach you skills that are applicable to many situations – you must be logical and able to identify key points within a problem, you need to be able to explain how a system is appropriate for a situation and justify your answer, you need to be able to understand and write algorithms and work with binary numbers. You don’t need to be a computer programmer to use these skills they are applicable to lots of different careers and even within computer science there are multiple career pathways to explore.

During project work you are asked to come up with a system you would like to build and take it from the idea stage, analyse the requirements, then design, build and test it. This allows you to be as creative as you like and explore languages and systems you are interested in. It is really a great way to showcase your programming talents and build something you are passionate about.

There is quite rightly an importance placed on coding ability and the ability to think logically, computing provides the opportunity to develop these skills. There’s also a large element of research and finding existing solutions to problems, the ability to read and understand other people’s programs is instrumental in developing your own knowledge.

By nature, computer science is a very challenging subject. It involves many areas from how computers functions to how to operate one. Due to this, the subject is inherently difficult, but is very rewarding. The skills you gain by being challenged will aid in life and feel very fulfilling acquiring.

Again, many concepts and projects are a challenge, requiring students to be able to construct and document a functioning system within their ability, whilst also increasing their ability concurrently. This is a struggle, but I believe there’s nothing more satisfying than that “ah ha!” moment when you get a program to finally run, or you fix that annoying bug.

The challenging and mentally stimulating tasks will show you what you are capable of and will help improve your thinking and problem-solving ability, which will be greatly applicable in the future.  The ability to decompose massive problems into workable steps is another skill. Many people rightly feel overwhelmed by the thought of a huge project, however being a computer scientist teaches you how to abstract unnecessary information and devise a very manageable and scalable solution step by step.   You learn all sorts about the world. Due to the nature of the subject, you end up consistently looking into contemporary topics, with the course needing you to be aware of current affairs, legislation and technology, you are always up to date on happenings.

We will support you by regular open house drop-in sessions at lunchtimes for you to work with others and get help from both peers and teachers.  We use online collaborative tools such as Teams, Office 365 and Onenote to enhance your learning and make resources available from any location.  In addition, we will signpost and direct you to useful websites that will allow you to work independently and build your retrieval of key concepts so that you are prepared and ready for the challenges of assessments and examinations.  Students regularly have gone on to pursue Computer Science at degree level at the UK’s top universities and shown that they were inspired to choose a career path that directly led from their Computing education and experiences here at SHSG.

Journey

Computer Science Curriculum

At Southend High School for Girls we teach a curriculum that is ambitious and takes students on a learning journey beyond the National Curriculum for Computer Science. The SHSG Computer Science curriculum is what we believe will expose and challenge students to a cultural capital in Computer Science that is the best that has been thought and said in this subject.

Our  subject curriculum is carefully organised to take our students from their end of primary school point to the higher outcomes at the end of Year 9

The Computer Science curriculum is planned and delivered using the intellectual framework of the classical education model, the Trivium:

  • Grammar (Knowledge and skills) knowledge, learning by heart, subject terminology, cultural capital
  • Dialectic (Enquiry and exploration) debate, question, challenge, analyse, evaluate
  • Rhetoric (Communication) essays, speeches, performances, presentations

Year 7 – 9

Pre-requisite or helpful knowledge from Year 6 Computer Science ready to study in Year 7 if applicable

During their Upper KS2 studies as per the National Curriculum, students should have studied topics including: using the internet, designing / writing / debugging programs, using logical reasoning, using a variety of software, use technology safely. All of this knowledge is revisited and drawn upon at KS3

Adjustments from the Pandemic for years 7 – 9 if applicable?

A greater focus on coding skills, to catch up with what was disrupted by the Pandemic when students were working independently or without appropriate computer and IDE resources.

The topics below have been chosen as they reflect the ambitions of the National Curriculum, and as a Grammar school, also challenge students beyond the National Curriculum. They have been carefully sequenced in this order to build a student’s learning journey to achieve the aims of our Computer Science intent. Along the way students are assessed and topics will be revisited in assessments to keep each stage of this learning journey alive.

Year 7

Term 1

Topics

  • Introduction to Computer Science /network / office 365/ teams
  • Baseline assessment
  • Programming essentials in Scratch:
    Part 1
  • Bebras computational thinking competition

Assessment

  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marked cumulative assessment

Term 2

Topics

  • Programming essentials in Scratch:
    part 2

Assessment

  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Teacher-marked cumulative assessment

Term 3

Topics

  • Networks: from semaphores to the internet

Assessment

  • Self-marked cumulative assessment
  • PUP Exam

Year 8

Term 1

Topics

  • Design Vector Graphics
  • Bebras computational thinking competition
  • Mobile app development (JavaScript)

Assessment

  • Self-marked cumulative assessment
  • Peer assessments

Term 2

Topics

  • Computing systems.
  • Intro to Python programming

 Assessment

  • PUP Exam

Term 3

Topics

  • Development for the Web
  • Representations: from clay to silicon

Assessment

  • Teacher-marker cumulative assessment
  • Peer assessments

Year 9

Term 1

Topics

Assessment

  • PUP Exam

Term 2

Topics

  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Science

Assessment

  • Self-marked cumulative assessment

Term 3

Topics

  • Representations: going audio-visual
  • Physical Computing Programming (microbits)

 

Assessment

  • Seneca learning assessment
  • Teacher-marker cumulative assessment

Achieving mastery in Computer Science knowing and remembering even more than what is expected in a grammar school Year 7 curriculum.

Our assessment practice at SHSG reflects on how successful students have been in knowing, remembering and doing more through the above topics. They are either emerging, developing or proficient in this journey throughout Year 7.

To go beyond being proficient in what is expected of a Computer Science student in Year 7 and achieve mastery in Computer Science, students should read widely, engage in watching Ted Talks, Computerphile and recommended research, and learn key language and subject specific terminology.

Students should relish the challenging nature of Computer Science and not be afraid of making mistakes, as students will recognise that making mistakes is an opportunity for learning. Good mistakes are therefore celebrated.

To achieve mastery students will regularly revisit prior learning so that knowledge can be built upon ensuring that knowledge is embedded in long term memory via this spaced repetition.

Recommended reading in Computer Science for Lower School (Years 7 – 9)

Useful websites, TED Talks and research for Lower School (Years 7 – 9)

  • Computer science is for everyone | Hadi Partovi | TEDxRainier
  • TED Talk | Madeline Griswold: How Computer Science Made Me Brave
  • Problem Solve Like a Computer Programmer | TED Talk
  • George Dyson: The birth of the computer | TED Talk

Computer Science-specific language to master in Lower School (Years 7 – 9)

At Southend High School for Girls we teach a curriculum that is ambitious and takes students on a learning journey beyond the National Curriculum for Computer Science. The SHSG Computer Science curriculum is what we believe will expose and challenge students to a cultural capital in Computer Science that is the best that has been thought and said in this subject.

The Computer Science curriculum is planned and delivered using the intellectual framework of the classical education model, the Trivium:

  • Grammar (Knowledge and skills) knowledge, learning by heart, subject terminology, cultural capital
  • Dialectic (Enquiry and exploration) debate, question, challenge, analyse, evaluate
  • Rhetoric (Communication) essays, speeches, performances, presentations

Pre-requisite or helpful knowledge from KS3 Computer Science ready to study in Year 10 if applicable

  • Understanding of the key hardware and software components of computer systems
  • To be familiar with key Python coding and debugging concepts
  • To be able to decompose a problem, and using abstraction and algorithmic thinking construct a program to solve it
  • understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely

Adjustments from the Pandemic for years 10-11 if applicable?

A proportion of Python coding took place at home and some students found it difficult without the teachers oversight to make connections between the example code and the decomposition process to solve related problems

The topics below have been chosen as they reflect the ambitions of the National Curriculum, and as a Grammar school, also challenge students beyond the National Curriculum. They have been carefully sequenced in this order to build a student’s learning journey to achieve the aims of our Computer Science intent. Along the way students are assessed and topics will be revisited in assessments to keep each stage of this learning journey alive.

Year 10

Term 1

Topics

  • Introduction to the course
  • SLR 1.1 Systems architecture
  • SLR 1.2 Memory and storage – Part 1
  • SLR 1.2 Memory and storage – Part 1
  • SLR 1.2 Memory and storage (Part 2)

Assessment

  • Online topic tests
  • Student workbooks
  • End-of-topic tests

Term 2

Topics

  • SLR 1.3 Computer networks, connections and protocols
  • SLR 1.3 Computer networks, connections and protocols
  • SLR 1.4 Network security

Assessment

  • Online topic tests
  • Student workbooks
  • End-of-topic tests

Term 3

Topics

  • SLR 1.4 Computer networks, connections and protocols
  • SLR 1.5 System software
  • SLR 1.6 Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns
  • text-based adventure game

Assessment

  • PPE

Year 11

Term 1

Topics

  • SLR 2.2 Programming fundamentals
  • SLR 2.1 Algorithms

Plus 3 paper 2 exam revision lessons

  • SLR 2.1 Algorithms

Plus 7 paper 2 exam revision lessons

Assessment

  • Teacher-marked cumulative assessment
  • PPE1

Term 2

Topics

  • SLR 2.3 Producing robust programs

Plus 7 paper 2 exam revision lessons

  • SLR 2.4 Boolean logic
  • SLR 2.5 Programming languages and IDEs

Plus 4 paper 2 exam revision lessons

Assessment

  • PPE2

Term 3

Topics

  • Revision for GCSE exam

Assessment

GCSE examination

Achieving mastery in Computer Science knowing and remembering even more than what is expected in a grammar school key stage 4 curriculum

Our assessment practice at SHSG reflects on how successful students have been in knowing, remembering and doing more through the above topics.

To go beyond what is expected of a Computer Science student in Year 7 and achieve outstanding outcomes in Computer Science, students should read widely, engage in watching Ted Talks and recommended research, and learn key language and subject specific terminology.

Recommended reading in Computer Science for Lower School (Years 10 – 11)

Computer Sciencespecific language to master in Middle School (Years 10 – 11)

  • OCR pseudocode reference language (see document)
  • Data types
  • Defensive design
  • IDEs
  • Modular design: procedures and functions
  • CPU registers and buses
  • Virtual memory

Pre-requisite or helpful knowledge from KS4 Computer Science ready to study in Year 12 if applicable

  • Ability to use modular programming techniques
  • Can debug programs effectively
  • Able to confidently use the Python language, including file handling , functions, parameters, lists
  • Strong interest in CS current affairs

Adjustments from the Pandemic for years 12 -13 if applicable?

Python programming maybe a weak area so offer tutorials and open house sessions to boost weaker students.

The topics below have been chosen as they reflect the ambitions of the National Curriculum, and as a Grammar school, also challenge students beyond the National Curriculum. They have been carefully sequenced in this order to build a student’s learning journey to achieve the aims of our Computer Science intent. Along the way students are assessed and topics will be revisited in assessments to keep each stage of this learning journey alive.

Year 12

Term 1

Topics

  • Computational thinking
  • Programming challenges GCSE to A-level booster
  • System architecture
  • Python Pygame
  • Components of a computer

Assessment

  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Computer Science assignments/ testandtrack
  • Programming baseline assessment

Term 2

Topics

  • Python Pygame
  • Programming techniques
  • Systems software
  • Software development
  • Exchanging data
  • Coursework analysis

Assessment

  • RAG cumulative assessment
  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Computer Science assignments / testandtrack
  • self-marked exam question homework packs.

Term 3

Topics

  • Networks and Web tech
  • Coursework design

Assessment

  • PPE teacher marked end of year assessment FRAG
  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Computer Science assignments
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Year 13

Term 1

Topics

  • Data types
  • Coursework design
  • Data structures
  • Coursework implementation

Assessment

  • UCAS Final Assessment RAG
  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Computer Science assignments/ test and track
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Term 2

Topics

  • Boolean algebra
  • Legal moral ethical issues
  • Coursework implementation finish
  • Coursework evaluation
  • Algorithms

Assessment

  • PPE1 and PPE2 Assessments (teacher marked)
  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Computer Science assignments/ test and track
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Term 3

Topics

  • Coursework finish
  • Algorithms completed
  • Revision

Assessment

  • Self-marking Isaac Computer Science assignments
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Achieving outstanding outcomes in Computer Science knowing and remembering even more than what is expected in a grammar school Year 12 and 13 curriculum

Our assessment practice at SHSG reflects on how successful students have been in knowing, remembering and doing more through the above topics.

To go beyond what is expected of a Computer Science student in Year 112 and 13 and achieve outstanding outcomes  in Computer Science, students should read widely, engage in watching Ted Talks and recommended research, and learn key language and subject specific terminology.

Recommended reading in Computer Science for A level

  • Computational Fairy Tales by Jeremy Kubica; CreateSpace, 2012. A romp through the principles of computational thinking, illustrating high-level computer science concepts, the motivation behind them, and their application via the medium of a fairy tale. Aimed at secondary school students. “Bonkers, but very enjoyable.”
  • Artificial Intelligence: A Ladybird Expert Book by Michael Wooldridge; Michael Joseph Books, 2018. Written by our Head of Department, this book “…chronicles the development of intelligent machines, from Turing’s dream of machines that think, to today’s digital assistants like Siri and Alexa.”
  • Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing by Martin Erwig; MIT Press, 2017. Concepts in Computer Science explained through familiar stories such as Hansel and Gretel, Sherlock Holmes, the movie Groundhog Day, and Harry Potter.
  • Computer Science: An Overview by J. Glenn Brookshear; Pearson, 2014. Overview of what computer science is all about: each topic is presented with its historical perspective, current state, and future potential, as well as ethical issues.
  • Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold. Microsoft Press, 2000. “What do flashlights, the British invasion, black cats, and seesaws have to do with computers? …see how ingenuity and our very human compulsion to communicate have driven the technological innovations of the past two centuries.”

Useful websites, TED Talks and research for A level

  • Isaac Computer Science – free online learning platform for A-level Computer Science
  • Computerphile videos
  • Computer Science Unplugged – a Computer Science curriculum for pre-university students developed in New Zealand.
  • CS4FN (Computer Science for Fun) is a magazine on computer science aimed at school students “Explore how computer science is also about people, solving puzzles, creativity, changing the future and, most of all, having fun.” It was printed twice a year (up to 2018) and has an associated website with additional articles.

Computer Science-specific language to master at A level

  • A – level terminology powerpoint – uploaded to teams for student access.