Computers are now part of everyday life and, for most, technology is essential to our lives, at home and at work. ‘Computational thinking’ is a skill that all pupils must learn if they are to be ready for the workplace and able to participate effectively in the digital world. At Castle Donington College, the Computing curriculum has been developed to equip our young people with the skills, knowledge and understanding they will need for the rest of their lives. Through the programme of study, they will learn how computers and computer systems work, they will design and build programs; they will develop their ideas using technology and create a range of digital content.
There are three distinct strands within computing, each of which is complementary to the others: computer science, information technology and digital literacy. Each component is essential in preparing pupils to thrive in an increasingly digital world and is covered throughout the KS3 Computing Curriculum at Castle Donington College.
Computer Science is the scientific and practical study of computation: what can be computed, how to compute it, and how computation may be applied to the solution of problems.
Information Technology is concerned with how computers and telecommunications equipment work, and how they may be applied to the storage, retrieval, transmission and manipulation of data.
Digital Literacy is the ability to effectively, responsibly, safely and critically navigate, evaluate and create digital artefacts using a range of digital technologies. The creation of digital artefacts will be integral to much of the learning of computing. Digital artefacts can take many forms, including digital images, computer programs, spreadsheets, 3D animations and this booklet
The KS3 curriculum prepares pupils well for the next phase of their education. In GCSE Computer Science pupils need to have a core understanding of how computers work and be able to use many different programming techniques – including structured programming, selection and iteration. Being able to plan programs using pseudo code or flowcharts, combined with being able to interpret a program allows them to access the highest grade boundaries for planning questions. At Castle Donington College, KS3 Computing is taught in units that piece together to form a comprehensive curriculum. All three elements, computer science, information technology and digital literacy are covered in each year.
To fully engage with the practical nature of the subject, understanding of the theory and key terms including variables, data types, selection and iteration is introduced and nurtured through KS3 Units. Practical programming is also developed by putting the theory into practice through the applied units Kodu, Scratch, HTML Website Programming and Python.
Computer science incorporates techniques and methods for solving problems and advancing knowledge, and includes a distinct way of thinking and working that sets it apart from other disciplines. The role of programming in computer science is similar to that of practical work in other sciences – it provides motivation and a context within which ideas are brought to life.
Computer Science is delivered to all pupils at KS3. The subject is taught in discreet lessons by a specialist teacher. Pupils are taught in mixed ability tutor groups. Pupils with SEN access the same lessons as their peers with additional, differentiated activities developed to meet their needs. Pupils are able to access a specialist computer room and IT packages to support the curriculum.
Computer Science and Creative I-Media are offered at KS4 as option subjects.