Eaton Bank Academy

Introduction

In our ever changing world, Computer Science, Digital Literacy and Information Technology (collectively known as ‘Computing’) is a core skill for everything that we do. We are in the business of preparing our students for jobs which may not even have been invented yet, so embedding core digital skills through our curriculum is vital.

Within the department, we have high expectations of all students and rely on their total engagement in the varied activities that we provide. We will, of course, provide help and support where required both inside and outside lesson time.

Mr L Marling (l.marling@eatonbank.org)
Head of Maths and Computing Faculty

Mr M Roberts (m.roberts@eatonbank.org) 
Specialist Teacher of Computer Science 

 

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 

The aims of the Computing department at Key Stage 3 are: 

  • To develop the relevance of Computer Science, Digital Literacy and Information Technology to students’ lives, personal experiences and futures, to give them motivation to succeed in the subject and make learning enjoyable for them. 
  • To help students follow enquiries and solve problems, and enhance their skills in logical reasoning, questioning, analysis and research. 
  • To enable students to try out ideas, seek innovative alternatives, take risks with their thinking and make new connections without fear of failure. 
  • Encourage reflection on the growing use of technology and on its social, ethical and cultural implications for individuals and society. 

Year 7 

  • Baseline assessment 
  • Unit 1Impact of technology – Collaborating online respectfully 
  • This unit has been designed to ensure that learners are given sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the school network. It also allows the teacher to discuss appropriate use of the school network, and to update and remind learners of important online safety issues. Whilst completing this unit, learners will also learn how to use presentation software effectively. In terms of online safety, this unit focuses on respecting others online, spotting strangers, and the effects of cyberbullying.  

 

  • Unit 2: Modelling data – Spreadsheets 
  • The spreadsheet unit for Year 7 takes learners from having very little knowledge of spreadsheets to being able to confidently model data with a spreadsheet. The unit uses engaging activities to progress learners from using basic formulas to writing their own COUNTIF statements. This unit will give learners a good set of skills that they can use in computing lessons and in other subject areas. 

 

  • Unit 3: Networks from semaphores to the Internet 
  • Imagine a world without computer networks, and how different your life would be. There would be no more YouTube, Google, instant messaging, online video gaming, Netflix, and iTunes. There would be no online shopping, or quickly looking up directions to a location at the click of a button. There would be no more sharing of files or peripherals such as a printer, and no more central backups of information. As networks have evolved, society has become increasingly reliant on the services that they provide. They have changed the way we learn, work, play, and communicate. This unit begins by defining a network and addressing the benefits of networking, before covering how data is transmitted across networks using protocols. The types of hardware required are explained, as is wired and wireless data transmission. Learners will develop an understanding of the terms ‘internet’ and ‘World Wide Web’, and of the key services and protocols used. Practical exercises are included throughout to help strengthen understanding. 

 

  • Unit 4: Programming essentials in Scratch – part I 
  • This unit is the first programming unit of KS3. The aim of this unit and the following unit (‘programming essentials in scratch – part 2’) is to build learners’ confidence and knowledge of the key programming constructs. Importantly, this unit does not assume any previous programming experience, but it does offer learners the opportunity to expand on their knowledge throughout the unit. 
  • The main programming concepts covered in this unit are sequencing, variables, selection, and count-controlled iteration. All of the examples and activities for this unit use Scratch 3. 

 

  • Unit 5: Programming essentials in Scratch – part 2 
  • This unit begins right where ‘Programming I’ left off. Learners will build on their understanding of the control structures’ sequence, selection, and iteration (the big three), and develop their problem-solving skills. Learners will learn how to create their own subroutines, develop their understanding of decomposition, learn how to create and use lists, and build upon their problem-solving skills by working through a larger project at the end of the unit.  

 

  • Unit 6: Using media – Gaining support for a cause 
  • During this unit, learners develop their understanding of information technology and digital literacy skills. They will use the skills learnt across the unit to create a blog post about a real-world cause that they would like to gain support for. Learners will develop software formatting skills and explore concerns surrounding the use of other people’s work, including licensing and legal issues. 

 

Year 8 

  • Recap Assessment 
  • Good practice reminders 
  • Unit 1Computing systems 
  • This unit takes learners on a tour through the different layers of computing systems: from programs and the operating system, to the physical components that store and execute these programs, to the fundamental binary building blocks that these components consist of.  
  • The last lessons cover two interesting contemporary topics: artificial intelligence and open source software. These are linked back to the content of the unit, helping learners to both broaden their knowledge and focus on the topics addressed in the unit. 

 

  • Unit 2: Developing for the web 
  • In this unit, learners will explore the technologies that make up the internet and World Wide Web. Starting with an exploration of the building blocks of the World Wide Web, HTML, and CSS, learners will investigate how websites are catalogued and organised for effective retrieval using search engines. They will also consider the hidden network technologies that protect us from the threats that a connected world brings, as well as looking at the impact of these services and technologies. 

 

  • Unit 3: Introduction to Python programming 
  • This unit introduces learners to text-based programming with Python. The lessons form a journey that starts with simple programs involving input and output, and gradually moves on through arithmetic operations, randomness, selection, and iteration. Emphasis is placed on tackling common misconceptions and elucidating the mechanics of program execution.  
  • A range of pedagogical tools is employed throughout the unit, with the most prominent being pair programming, live coding, and worked examples 

 

  • Unit 4: Media – Vector graphics  
  • This unit offers students the opportunity to design graphics using vector graphic editing software. The lessons are tailored to Inkscape (inkscape.org), which is open source and cross-platform, but the resources should be readily adaptable to any vector graphics editor. 
  • Vector graphics can be used to design anything from logos and icons to posters, board games, and complex illustrations. Through this unit, students will be able to better understand the processes involved in creating such graphics and will be provided with the knowledge and tools to create their own. 
  • One of the most interesting and challenging aspects of creating vector graphics is their unlikely link to computational thinking. Creating a complex design is a multi-step process that starts with elementary shapes and involves combining them into more intricate ones using operations such as union, difference, and intersection. There are usually multiple paths to achieving the goal and the process involves decomposition, evaluation, and plenty of inventiveness! 

 

  • Unit 5: Mobile app development 
  • In a world where there’s an app for every possible need, this unit aims to take the learners from designer to project manager to developer in order to create their own mobile app. Using App Lab from code.org, learners will familiarise themselves with the coding environment and have an opportunity to build on the programming concepts they used in previous units before undertaking their project. Learners will work in pairs to consider the needs of the user; decompose the project into smaller, more manageable parts; use the pair programming approach to develop their app together; and finish off by evaluating the success of the project against the needs of the user. 

 

  • Unit 6: Representations – from clay to silicon 
  • This unit conveys essential knowledge relating to binary representations. The activities gradually introduce learners to binary digits and how they can be used to represent text and numbers. The concepts are linked to practical applications and problems that the learners are familiar with. 

 

 

 

Year 9 

  • Recap Assessment 
  • Good practice reminders 
  • Unit 1Cybersecurity 
  • This unit takes the learners on an eye-opening journey of discovery about techniques used by cybercriminals to steal data, disrupt systems, and infiltrate networks. The learners will start by considering the value of their data to organisations and what they might use it for. They will then look at social engineering techniques used by cybercriminals to try to trick users into giving away their personal data. The unit will look at the more common cybercrimes such as hacking, DDoS attacks, and malware, as well as looking at methods to protect ourselves and our networks against these attacks. 

 

  • Unit 2: Data science 
  • In this unit, learners will be introduced to data science, and by the end of the unit they will be empowered by knowing how to use data to investigate problems and make changes to the world around them. Learners will be exposed to both global and local data sets and gain an understanding of how visualising data can help with the process of identifying patterns and trends. Towards the end of the unit, the learners will go through the steps of the investigative cycle to try to solve a problem in the school using data 

 

  • Unit 3: Media – Animations 
  • Films, television, computer games, advertising, and architecture have been revolutionised by computer-based 3D modelling and animation. In this unit learners will discover how professionals create 3D animations using the industry-standard software package, Blender.  By completing this unit learners will gain a greater understanding of how this important creative field is used to make the media products that we consume. Sessions will take learners through the basics of modelling, texturing, and animating; outputs will include 3D models, short videos, and VR. Links are made throughout to computer science, computational thinking, and the world of work. Tools and techniques learnt in this unit can also be used for 3D printing. 

 

  • Unit 4: Physical computing 
  • This unit applies and enhances the learners’ programming skills in a new engaging context: physical computing, using the BBC micro:bit. 
  • In the first half of the unit, learners will get acquainted with the host of components built into the micro:bit, and write simple programs that use these components to interact with the physical world. In the process, they will refresh their Python programming skills and encounter a range of programming patterns that arise frequently in physical computing applications.  
  • In the second half, learners will work in pairs to build a physical computing project. They will be required to select and design their project purposefully, apply what they have learnt by building a prototype, and keep a structured diary throughout the process. 

 

  • Unit 5: Python programming with sequences of data 
  • This unit introduces learners to how data can be represented and processed in sequences, such as lists and strings. The lessons cover a spectrum of operations on sequences of data, that range from accessing an individual element to manipulating the entire sequence. Great care has been taken so that the selection of problems used in the programming tasks are realistic and engaging: learners will process solar system planets, book texts, capital cities, leaked passwords, word dictionaries, ECG data, and more. 
  • A range of pedagogical tools are employed throughout the unit, with the most prominent being pair programming, live coding, and worked examples 

 

  • Unit 6: Representations – going audiovisual 
  • In this unit, learners will focus on digital media such as images and sounds, and discover the binary digits that lie beneath these types of media.  
  • Just like in the previous unit, where learners examined characters and numbers, the ideas that learners need to understand are not really new to them. You will draw on familiar examples of composing images out of individual elements, mixing elementary colours to produce new ones, and taking samples of analogue signals, to illustrate these ideas and bring them together in a coherent narrative. 
  • This unit also has a significant practical aspect. Learners will use relevant software (GIMP and Audacity, in this case) to manipulate images and sounds and get an idea of how the underlying principles of digital representations are applied in real settings 

Key Stage 3 Assessment 

Each unit will end a summative assessment which will provide immediate feedback to the students on their attainment. This will typically be a quiz with multiple choice and short answers to be completed online using Microsoft Forms. 

Extra-Curricular Opportunities 

The department will offer the following extracurricular activities at Key Stage 3 … 

How you can help to support their son’s / daughter’s learning 

  • Regular checking of homework 
  • Ask your child questions about what they are learning 
  • Encourage your child to use computers to enhance their learning 
  • Encourage the use of the Internet for its educational purpose 
  • Keep up to date with technological advances 

One of the key aims of Key Stage 3 Computing is to provide your son / daughter with an understanding of Computer Science, Digital Literacy and Information Technology, equip them with some of the core skills necessary to allow them to be successful in the digital world and prepare them for further study beyond the key stage. 

If you have any queries, please contact Mr M Roberts(m.roberts@eatonbank.org) 

 

If you have any queries, please contact Mr L Marling (l.marling@eatonbank.org)

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 – Edexcel GCSE Computer Science, 1CP2

 A modern course for a modern world 

This is a course that has real relevance in our modern world. While learners will no doubt already have some knowledge of computers and related areas, the course will give them an in-depth understanding of how computer technology actually works and a look at what goes on “behind the screens”. As part of this, they will investigate computer programming, which many learners find interesting. 

The fun of computing 

Through this study of computer programming, the course will help learners develop critical / computational thinking, analysis and problem solving skills. For many, it will be a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-to-day life. In this way, the course will stimulate interest and engagement with technology and technology-related careers. 

Looking to the future 

In fact, 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 learners 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. Learners 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. 

Areas studied 

The GCSE Computer Science curriculum at Eaton Bank Academy covers the following main areas of study … 

  • Computer fundamentals / Programming: Covers fundamental aspects of computer systems, input / output devices and learning to program (using the Python programming language) 
  • Data handling: Covers file handling, databases and sorting / searching algorithms 
  • Software design: Covering validation, verification and authentication techniques, writing robust programs, testing and algorithm / programming challenges. 
  • Data representation: We learn about how numbers, images and sounds are stored and manipulated by computer systems and also fundamentals of compression techniques. 
  • Hardware / software: We will learn about computer hardware and software. 
  • Networking: Where we learn about local and wide area networks, networking components and cyber security. 

 

Key Stage 4 Assessment 

 Each of the modules of study in the course is assessed through a series of multiple-choice quizzes and written assessments at, and shortly after, the end of study of topic itself. Each assessment includes questions from previous areas of study to encourage revision and there are summary assessments at the end of each term. During November and March students will sit mock examinations which cover the content studied to date and will be in the style of the GCSE assessment papers. 

Homework activities will be set when regularly and may include completing tasks not completed in lesson, research tasks and further study or preparing for assessments. 

Students are encouraged to practice programming with Python at home regularly in their own time or when there is no other homework set. 

During Year 11, students will also be issued with bespoke revision packs and have to opportunity to purchase third party revision guides to help them prepare for the examinations. 

The 2020 Edexcel GCSE is assessed through two examinations: one a paper-based exam:  the other a computer-based programming exam. 

Paper 1Principles of Computer Science [1CP2/01] (75 Marks / 1 hour and 30 minutes) 

Content overview… 

  • Topic 1: Computational thinking – understanding of what algorithms are, what they are used for and how they work; ability to follow, amend and write algorithms; ability to construct truth tables. 
  • Topic 2: Data – understanding of binary, data representation, data storage and compression. 
  • Topic 3: Computers – understanding of hardware and software components of computer systems and characteristics of programming languages. 
  • Topic 4: Networks – understanding of computer networks and network security. 
  • Topic 5: Issues and impact – awareness of emerging trends in computing technologies, and the impact of computing on individuals, society and the environment, including ethical, legal and ownership issues.

 

Paper 2Application of Computational Thinking [1CP2/02]  (75 Marks / 2 hours) 

Content overview… 

  • understanding what algorithms are, what they are used for and how they work in relation to creating programs 
  • understanding how to decompose and analyse problems 
  • ability to read, write, refine and evaluate programs

Extra Curricular Opportunities 

The department will offer the following extra-curricular opportunities at Key Stage 4 … 

  • Codeclub (https://www.codeclub.org.uk/) 
  • Bebras UK Intermediate / Senior Challenges (http://www.bebras.uk/) 
  • Cyber Discovery Challenge (https://www.joincyberdiscovery.com/) 

If you have any queries, please contact Mr M Roberts (m.roberts@eatonbank.org) 

 

Social media feed