Mr L Henry – Head of Computer Science
Mr Z Southern – Teacher of Computer Science
ICT at St John Fisher Catholic High School aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to access the ever-changing world of technological innovation. The aim is to give students transferable skills that they can use in future education, the workplace and everyday life. There is an understanding that e-safety is essential and we integrate this across the curriculum to ensure students have the skills and information required to stay safe online.
Learning and Teaching
The KS3 curriculum is designed to carry on from previous learning in KS2 and prepares students for the rigour of the GCSEs.
In Year 7 and Year 8, students have 2 one-hour lessons per fortnight. In these lessons’ students are exposed to a variety of topics covering ICT, Computer Science and Digital Literacy which give them a broad and balanced start to their Computer Science curriculum in KS3. In Year 9, students access Computer Science via the Technology carousel. During their block of lessons, which is approximately twelve weeks students have 3 one-hour lessons per fortnight and build on their years seven and eight knowledge and skill as we prepare these pupils for the two courses offered at Key Stage Four.
In Year 7 students are firstly taught the basics of the Microsoft package whilst simultaneously being taught elements of eSafety including keeping themselves and data safe, how to use email and how to search the internet effectively. Students then go on to gain knowledge and skills both graphical and text-based development environments; computer hardware; the digital world and spreadsheet modelling.
In Year 8 students are taught about computer networks, the language of computer systems and develop their programming and spreadsheet modelling skills. Additionally, students in Year 8 are able to used software, such as graphic editing software Adobe Fireworks and Photoshop to create digital graphics.
In Year 9 we revisit text-based programming and students learn more advanced techniques such as arrays and sorting algorithms. This means across the three years of student all pupils are given a broad and balanced curriculum to fully prepare them for the Key Stage Four qualifications which are outlined below.
Outside of the classroom pupils will be given one piece of homework per fortnight which allows learning to continue between lessons and allows teachers to assess which students can recall from lessons.
At KS4 we offer two qualifications:
At KS4 we offer two qualifications which enables us to cater for the talents and abilities of all students. Below you will find an outline of the two courses currently offered, but more can be found from the examination board specifications.
Cambridge National Certificate in Creative iMedia (Examination Board: OCR) The Cambridge National Certificate is ideal for students who enjoy using the computer software to be creative. Students at St John Fisher study three units: R093 Creative iMedia in the media industry – this is an examination taken at the end of Year 11 and externally assessed by OCR; R094: Visual identity and digital graphics and R097 Interactive digital media are worth 60% and are internally assessed and then moderated by OCR.
GCSE Computer Science (Examination Board: OCR) GCSE Computer Science is geared towards the more academic students who enjoy programming and using logic to solve problems; this GCSE is assessed by two terminal examinations at the end of Year eleven. The students who opt for this GCSE Computer Science will be given ample time to practice their programming skill, fine tune their examination technique and show case their computing abilities. They will do this through the study of two units which comprise of various sub-units as outlined below:
J277/01: Computer systems
Memory and storage
Computer networks, connections and protocols
Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impacts of digital technology.
J277/02: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming
Producing robust programs
Programming languages and Integrated Development Environments
We always endeavour to create interest and enthusiasm in lessons by contextualising the topics and using a variety of teaching styles and innovative teaching resources. Throughout the academic year there are opportunities to engage in extra-curricular activities such as national computing challenges, Lego club, KS3 programming club along with trips, speakers and personal development opportunities.
In Key Stage Three: students complete one practical and one written assessment per unit of learning. In Key Stage Four: students are assessed by their course work, classwork and homework dependant on the course which is being studied as outlined above. More information on the KS4 courses can be found on the examination boards websites or speaking with department staff.