Knowledge & Skills for Life
Our department provides opportunity for all students at all Key Stages to take part in the digital technology curriculum.
Our excellent facilities cater for our emphasis on specialist knowledge development in real-life applications. This includes physical computing, electronic engineering, robotics and programming.
All students start in Year 9 with weekly computing lessons, covering a range of IT and Computer Science concepts as part of the National Curriculum. We follow the NCCE's Computing Taxonomy which focuses on the 10 Main Strands of computing (see below).
At Key Stage 4, students can choose to continue onto Computer Science GCSE or Digital IT BTEC.
At Key Stage 5 we offer two Level 3 Pathways: Computer Science A Level and from 2022, Digital T Levels, where students train to be: Software Developers and Digital Support Technicians.
Digital Technology Learning Journey
Computer Science GCSE (KS4)
In the first terms in Year 10 our students get to use our amazing robotics equipment to apply their understanding in physical objects an area of study called physical computing. This allows our students to also be creative in solving problems with our equipment as well as simply text based code.
GAMES DESIGN focuses on a project where students will now have the basic skills to programme to a more advanced degree. The project will be designing computer games, where they will design the artwork, audio and code itself creating an interactive game completely from scratch using Python.
INFRASTRUCTURE focuses on the workplace looking at aspects of computing such as hardware, network topology and database systems. These are important concepts to begin getting to grips with as these are the basis for many streaming services and tech giants which are among the most successful and richest companies in the world.
ENGINEER in Year 11 applies our skills to physical circuits, with students designing their own sensors and inventions to solve real world problems in our physical computing lab – the voyager lab. Students get to handle real electrical components, circuits and programme them.
CYBERSECURITY looks at key programming and computing concepts needed to protect ourselves and businesses from ever growing cyber threats, we’ll look at encryption, black and white-box testing and other techniques used to stop online criminals from taking advantage of individuals and businesses. We’ll look at the ideas behind privacy, intellectual property and legislation made to protect you and your ideas.
Digital IT BTEC (KS4)
Component 1 is based around User Interface design, students cover two main aspects; the first being interface or UX design. This includes how to design effective interfaces for software and websites that are intuitive and optimally designed for their target audience.. Students are able to also use our touchscreen devices in our Voyager Lab to design actual working touchscreen applications.
Component 2 is data management and analytics. Students will learn how to effectively use spreadsheets and handle data, something critical to many businesses in this digital age. Students will work on presentation skills and create their own interactive data dashboards based on a brief after being given data.
The final component in Year 11 is the external examined component called working practices in ICT. We look further into theory covered in the prior units and also go into new topics including cybersecurity, hardware, business IT management and legislation surrounding computing at home and in the workplace.
Computer Science A Level
Computer science A Level takes computing to greater breadth and depth covering a huge range of topics including:
This course is examined at the end of 2 years with 2 x 150min exam papers (worth 80%) and a programming project (worth 20%).
As an institution we choose Python as our main coding language at all Key Stages. If your child is unfamiliar with Python I plan on running a day of Python training for prospective external students in the summer term (once GCSEs are complete), this is no cost. The course builds upon concepts at GCSE, including fundamentals of programming, data structures and algorithms. However we take this further with new data types, advanced subroutine use and optimisation algorithms.
More advanced programming in two languages (Python & Java)
Computational thinking skills including advanced decomposition, optimisation and abstraction.
Organisation and project management skills
Electrical engineering skills in our digital engineering suite