Computing and Information Technology
The Computing department is a high achieving and successful department. We believe that every student should be prepared to function in the ever developing digital world. The courses offered at GCSE and A Level provide students with the skills and understanding to unlock various opportunities in higher education, leading to future career success.
We aim to prepare our students for their future by giving them the opportunities to gain knowledge and develop skills that will equip them for an ever-changing digital society and business world. Knowledge and understanding of computer technologies is of increasing importance for every child’s future both at home, during education, and for future employment.
The Computing curriculum focuses on a progression of skills in digital literacy, computer science, information technology, and online safety, to ensure that students become competent in safely using, as well as understanding, these technologies. These various strands are revisited through a range of themes during Key Stage 3 to ensure the learning is embedded and skills are successfully developed. The intention is to support every student’s creativity, and cross curricular learning, to engage and enrich their experience. Thus, to hopefully encourage them to further study Computing or Information Technology through the completion of GCSE Computer Science or the BTEC Tech in Digital Information Technology at Key Stage 4 and then A Level Computer Science and BTEC National Information Technology courses in the Sixth Form. The strategy being to develop well-rounded users of computers and technology who want to develop their skills further at degree level or through the completion of a related apprenticeship role.
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision to provide a rich, innovative and inclusive curriculum which aims to enable all students, regardless of background, ability or additional needs, to flourish to become competent users of computer technology in all its forms.
Within the Computing curriculum, we teach various areas of the Computer Science National Curriculum at Key Stage 3, supported by clear skills and knowledge progression throughout Years 7 to 9. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all students. To ensure a broad range of skills and understanding, Computing is taught across the three main strands: digital literacy, computer science and information technology.
As part of information technology, students learn to use and express themselves and develop their ideas and understanding through the use of software applications both within their Computing lessons, for example website design, and across the curriculum, such as exploring art and design using the use of multimedia.
Within digital literacy, students develop practical skills in the safe use of Information Technology and the ability to apply these skills to solving relevant, worthwhile problems for example understanding safe use of the Internet, networks and email.
In Computer Science, students are taught to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation. They also learn to analyse computational problems such as through the use of coding to write computer programs to provide solutions to various scenarios. We also teach a progression of Computing vocabulary to support students in their understanding as they travel through Key Stage 3 and on to Key Stage 4 and 5 courses in Computer Science.
Importantly, online safety is taught annually to all Key Stage 3 groups and revisited within GCSE, BTEC and A Level courses plus through the PSHCE provision within the school.
Students experience a rich curriculum during KS3 Computing lessons which hopefully drives their enthusiasm to continue to study Computer Science at GCSE/A Level and beyond. In 2021-22, there will be an increased number of students studying both GCSE and A Level Computer Science compared to previous years. It is hoped this trend will continue following further developments to KS3 delivery and the introduction of new topics such as App design.
The destinations of students taking A Level Computer Science or BTEC National Information Technology have recently included:
- Liverpool University – Computer Science
- University of Chester – Games Development
- Liverpool John Moores University – Computing
- Edge Hill University – Computing
- NHS Apprenticeship – IT Network Management
The impact of KS3 Computing delivery, for students who don’t continue to study the subject as KS4, shows that they are equipped with valuable skills which will support their learning at KS4/5 and beyond such as spreadsheet modelling. Other important areas include the benefits and risks of social media/online communication, to allow them to make informed decisions about how to behave online both on a personal basis or when in employment.
The Computing department is staffed by a hardworking and committed team of four teachers. Student attainment is high, at all levels with GCSE and A level performance above the national average. The courses we offer are extremely popular at Key Stage 4 with a significant number going on to study these courses in the Sixth Form too. The department is constantly striving to raise attainment through curriculum development; focusing on sharing good practice and resources within our team and we utilise up to date research to inform and improve our teaching and learning strategies. Continued evaluation of all aspects of the department allow us to support all students to realise their full potential.
The department is made up of 5 classrooms which are fully equipped with up to date teaching technology, including an HD visualiser and 20+ desktop computers with a range of software applications and full access to the internet. There is also a 20 unit laptop trolley available within the department for classroom use so every student has their own computer in every lesson. The department are at the forefront of remote learning and E-learning strategies, leading the way with the use of Google Classroom to extend learning beyond the physical classroom.
The ICT classrooms are available within the department at lunch time and after school to allow students to gain additional help and guidance and also continue with their practical work. We also encourage all students to explore and develop their ICT and computing skills at home. There are also extra revision clinics available for all students before they sit their GCSE and Advanced Level examinations.
There are a wide range of popular extra-curricular events including Computer Science Club and a wealth of clinics/support sessions for each course on offer. A further important focus is on enrichment opportunities and these include the Hour of Code and UK Bebras Challenge, which are both completed by all students in Key Stage 3.
Links with industry are a vital part of the study of Computing and Business and the department has developed important links with many business organisations including local, national and internationally renowned companies across an array of business sectors, including Unilever, UK Fast, Inn2 Web Design, Owen Drew Candles, Hoylake Sailing School and John Percival Associates.
The Computing department is a high achieving and successful department. We believe that every student should be prepared to function in the ever developing digital world. The courses offered at GCSE, BTEC and A Level provide students with the skills and understanding to unlock various opportunities in higher education, leading to future career success.