Computer Science

Year 9 (Specialism) Excitement

In Year 9 students will focus on developing and building upon the key foundational skills that are required for GCSE qualifications. Year 9 will recap all areas of fundamentals but at greater depth. This includes: further developing and expressing computational skills, research skills, understanding the importance of using a range of sources and how to discern reliability.

Students will expand on programming skills and explore further areas of python programming. This is to prepare and help cement understanding in preparation for the project in Year 10 / 11. Students will also explore other areas of computer science that contribute to the GCSE and further their understanding of the technological world.

Re-introducing Computational Thinking

Students will revisit computational thinking and apply the process to algorithms and programming. This will be done at greater depth than in Years 7 and 8 so students are able to discover and implement different structures and learning to the topic.

Programming & Algorithms

Students explore further areas of programming such as linear searching, controlled iteration, variable swaps, errors and testing, coding challenges and producing robust programs. This includes exploring arrays, lists, selection, sequence, and further iteration while cementing good programming practices and techniques.

Data Representation

Students will explore different representations of data and how to apply this to computer science. Following this, students will investigate binary, hexadecimal and how to convert between each. Students will also discover data types in conjunction with algorithms and display this through programming further. Finally, students will explore computational logic, Boolean logic and logical gates.

Computer Systems – Part 2

In this unit students will revise their current understanding of computer systems from Years 7 and 8, exploring further information and techniques. Students will look at the intricacy of the CPU, memory and storage capacities of technology as well as visiting how computers communicate across networks and what kind of security is applied within certain circumstances.

Recap and Review

Students will revisit each topic and recap their fundamental skills throughout their studies, this includes routine assessments throughout the year to help show understanding and learning capabilities. During recap and review students are given time to revise previous learning within the topic and broaden their understanding.

Year 10 Expertise

Before the programming project begins (GCSE requirement), students will revisit some of the Year 9 areas of learning with a more in-depth focus. Students study specification topics from computer systems: systems architecture, memory, storage, networks, network topologies, protocols and layers, system security, and system software; and the following topics from computational thinking algorithms, programming techniques, computational logic, data representation, robust/defensive programming, and translators / facilities of languages.

During this unit students will complete the Python programming project. This will build upon not only programming skills but also research and IT skills.

Computer Systems – Part 3

In this unit students will revise their understanding of computer systems from Year 9 and then explore further information and techniques. The architecture of a computer system, including software required and the different types of software needed throughout technology. Students will then look at the connection between memory, storage and networks across larger units and the smaller more intricate details.  Students will discover numerous network topologies, protocols and layers. Finally, students explore different levels of security and system software in computer science alongside translating and facilitating languages.

Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming

Students will revisit the computational thinking and applying the process to algorithms and programming. This will be done in greater depth level than in Year 9, so students are able to discover and implement different structures and learning to the topic. Students will then connect areas to programming and revisit Python programming areas in preparation for the programming project.

Python Programming Project.

This project is a GCSE requirements for all students studying Computer Science. Students will choose from three different scenarios for which they are to create a programming project to solve. Students will also be creating a report alongside their programming to document all the steps taken from planning all the way to the code itself and evaluation of finished project.

This project is a documented 20 hour in-class project. Students will not be able to take their project work home and can only use the 20 hours. (Unless extra time is permitted).

During the project, students will have access to all their previous learning as well as access to all relevant online resources, books and collaboration with one another. The project scenarios do not include any areas of Python that have not been previously covered.

Recap and Review

Students will revisit each topic and recap over their fundamental skills throughout their studies, this will include routine assessments throughout the year to help show understanding and learning capabilities. During recap and review students are given time to revise previous learning within the topic and broaden their understanding.

Year 11 Expertise

The final year of the Computer Science GCSE will be dynamic and intervention focused. Students will revisit all topic areas of computer science to ensure learning is locked in as well as to revise areas in preparation for exams.

Students will implement computational thinking through exam-based exercises and learn how to write responses to extended questions.

Topic Recap

Students will recap the following topics throughout year 11:

  • Problem Solving
    • Computational thinking
    • Algorithm creation, correction and interpretation
    • Searching and sorting algorithms
  • Programming
    • Sequence, selection and iteration
    • Arrays and iteration
    • Subprograms, local and global variables.
    • Errors and testing
  • Data & Computers
    • Binary logic and arithmetic
    • Images and sound
    • Compression and encryption
    • CPU and storage
    • Utility and simulation Software
    • Boolean logic and logic gates
  • Communication and the Bigger Picture.
    • Networks, protocols and layers
    • Security and cyber security
    • Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of technology.

Each topic includes exam-based questions for students to attempt, helping to develop an understanding of how questions are presented within the exam, and what sub-topics to expect on which paper.

The Computer Science exam consists of two papers:

Paper 1 focuses on computational thinking, algorithms and programming.

Paper 2 focuses on Data, computers, communication and the ethical attributes.

Both papers are 90 Minutes and account for 50% of the GCSE each.