In the Computing department we aim to provide a solid foundation of digital literacy for all pupils in the Blyth Academy. We understand that the ability to be able to competently use and apply Information Technology and Computer Science skills is essential for most jobs in the modern work force and as such, is essential for our pupils to achieve their career goals.
We constantly review and update the curriculum to keep upto date with new IT/Computing developments to ensure our pupils have access to both a current and challenging curriculum. We aim to ensure that all pupils can understand and apply the basic principles and concepts of computer science, such as logic, algorithms and data representation. We are also focussed on ensuring our pupils are proficient in 'computational thinking' which involves analysing problems in computational terms in order to find a solution to solve problems. As part of this we teach our pupils to evaluate and apply their knowledge to information technology, including new technologies, in an analytical way in order to solve problems. Finally our pupils are all equipped with the knowledge to become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Key Stage 3
All KS3 pupils receive one lesson of Computing each week, where they individual topics that each have a different Computing theme which is specific to the Computing curriculum.
As it is of such importance we extensively teach e-safety to each key stage 3 year groups and revisit it each year in more depth to ensure that pupils are proficient in keeping themselves safe online.
In year 7 the topics that pupils study are:
- E-safety and organising themselves,
- Visual programming,
- Exploring data.
In year 8 the topics that pupils study are:
- E-safety and organising for the web,
- Digital media design,
- Data visualisation,
- Web programming (HTML)
- Computer networks.
In year 9 the topics that pupils study are:
- E-safety and organising for the web,
- Web development (including HTML and CSS),
- Text based programming (PYTHON),
- Advanced data representation
- Smartphone apps (Small BASIC).
Key Stage 4
At Key stage 4 pupils have the option to continue their study by choosing ICT or Computer Science as an option.
Pupils who choose to study ICT complete the Certificate in Digital Applications (CiDA) course. This is made up of two different units. The first unit pupils study is Creative Multimedia, where students complete an extended project (75% of the total marks) by creating digital graphics, filming and editing video, creating animations, editing sound and creating an interactive website. The second unit that pupils study focuses on Website Development. Pupils have to create an interactive website to meet a specific brief; this is assessed through an exam that is carried out on the computer (25% of the total marks).
Pupils who choose to study Computing do a GCSE in Computer Science. This is made up of three different units, Understanding Computer Science, Solving Problems using Computers and Developing Computing Solutions. The first unit is a traditional exam (45% of the total marks) where pupils have to answer questions based around the theory aspect of Computing. The second unit is also an exam (30%), but is carried out on a computer where pupils have to create and program appropriate solutions to 3 different computing problems within the examination time. The final unit is assessed via a controlled assessment (25%) where pupils have a set number of weeks' of lesson time to program and develop a computer solution to meet a set task brief.
In addition to the options all year 10 and 11 pupils are also given the opportunity to complete the European Computer Driver Licence (ECDL) qualification, which allows pupils to become proficient in the use of Office Applications such as word processing and modelling in order to complete tasks.
Key Stage 5
As with KS4, at Key stage 5 pupils have the options to continue their studies by choosing ICT or Computing as AS/A Levels.
Pupils who choose to study ICT complete an Applied ICT A-Level. The AS level (year 12) is made up of two different units; the first of which is called e-Business and is all about how businesses use ICT effectively. This is assessed through an exam (40% of the total marks) which pupils complete on the computer. The exam is split into two parts, the first of which involves traditional questions which pupils must write answers too, but for the second part pupils must use the ICT skills and software to carry out and complete tasks for a specific brief. The second unit that pupils study is called e-Skills, and this focusses on building and developing pupil's software skills to create digital solutions to a specific scenario. Students complete an extended project (60% of the total marks) using spreadsheets to model scenarios, databases to sort and present information and website development software to create a portfolio of their digital solutions.
Two further units are studied by pupils who stay on to study in year 13; these are e-Studio and e-Project. The E-Studio unit is assessed through an extended task (60% or the total marks) based around creating a portfolio of digital multimedia and graphical products for a specific scenario, for example creating an advertising/marketing campaign for a new classic hits radio station. The other unit, e-Project, is assessed through a controlled assessment (40% of the total marks) and involved pupils working in small groups to effectively manage the design, creation and testing of an ICT project.
Pupils who choose to study an AS/A-Level in Computing will also complete two units in their first year of study. The first unit is assessed through a written examination (40% of the total AS marks), and covers fundamentals of computing such as Hardware and the structure and organisation of data. The second unit is assessed through an extended project in which pupils design, code and finally test an extensive program that must solve a specific problem.
Two further units are studied by pupils who stay on to study Computing in year 13. As with year 12, the first unit is assessed through a written examination (40% of the total A2 marks), and looks at some of the computing topics previously covered in year 12 in much more depth. The second unit is also similar to year 12, but again their programming project is expected to be much more in depth and complex than the one they created for year 12.