Computing at Dormston aims to provide pupils with the skills and knowledge for an ever evolving Digital future. It is an innovative subject designed to challenge and inspire pupils to think logically, critically and creatively to solve problems.
The department boasts 3 dedicated classrooms each with 28 or more computers. The school benefits from having 2 full time network managers who keep the system operational and up to date with the latest software to support learning.
A weekly after school code club runs that lets pupils experiment with all different aspects of computing. Whilst mainly focussed on developing pupils’ love of, and ability to program, the club also gets pupils looking at different types of computer systems (raspberry pi, retro computers) as well as game design and creation.
Computing Department Staff
Mr T Parr – Head of Computing
Mrs C Hill – Computing and Business Studies
Miss L Fensome – Computing and Business Studies
In Key Stage 3, pupils are taught a wide range of topics which cover the three main strands of Digital Literacy, Information Technology and Computer Science. As part of a 5 year curriculum, elements of GCSE Computer Science are introduced as early as Year 7 in order to stretch and challenge pupils.
Year 7 topics include Hardware and Software, Computational Thinking, Programming in Scratch, Computer Graphics and Computer based modelling.
In Year 8, pupils develop their programming skills further by using different languages, investigate how computers process data including how binary numbers work, learn about computer networks, the Internet and how to create a web page using HTML.
Year 9 begins with an introduction to computer crime and security, followed by a challenging unit looking at how to write, develop and interpret algorithms. This provides pupils with the fundamental understanding of how to construct a program which can then be applied to the next unit where they are introduced to a text based programming language, Python. Here, pupils will learn how to write and develop programs to solve problems efficiently and use industry standard techniques. This is followed by a unit in Computer Networks where pupils investigate the technical side of home and wider ranging networks. The final unit of the year allows pupils to develop their technical and creative skills in developing an app prototype.
Pupils are assessed using GCSE 9-1 levels. For each unit, assessment will be in the form of portfolio evidence (for more practical units) and/or a written test. Pupils work is regularly marked with feedback to either consolidate learning or challenge pupils to achieve higher levels.
Pupils who choose to study Computer Science at GCSE will build upon the skills and knowledge developed in Years 7,8 and 9. As pupils have been following the 5 year curriculum, the transition to GCSE from KS3 will be seamless. More challenge and GCSE aspects has been introduced at an earlier stage that helps our pupils prepare for their Computer Science qualification.
The OCR GCSE in Computer Science involves 2 written exam papers each worth 50% of the overall grade. Pupils also have to complete a programming project over 20 hours.
Exam 1 – Computer Systems (50%)
Systems Architecture, Memory, Storage, Wired and wireless networks, Network topologies, protocols and layers, System security, System software, Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns.
Exam 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms, programming (50%)
Algorithms, Programming techniques, Producing robust programs, Computational logic, Translators and facilities of languages, Data representation.
Programming techniques, Analysis, Design, Development, Testing and evaluation and conclusions.
Delivery of the content includes a mixture of practical and theory lessons. Pupils have regular written assessments of theory units and time to develop programming skills.
There are a number of revision guides available to buy for this qualification, however we recommend the following titles:
CGP GCSE Computer Science OCR Revision Guide - for the Grade 9-1 Course
ISBN: 978 1 78294 602 1
CGP GCSE Computer Science OCR Exam Practice Workbook - for the Grade 9-1 Course
ISBN: 978 1 78294 603 8
OCR GCSE (9-1) Computer Science J276 (Textbook)
S Robson and PM Heathcote
Previous schools trips have included looking at control systems at Alton Towers and code breaking at Bletchley Park.