As a department, we aim to ensure that all of our learners are fully prepared for the future of Computing and understand how to use new technologies safely. Learners develop transferable skills that will equip them for the work place, college, university, and beyond. Our priority is to ensure that all learners enjoy Computing, make excellent progress, and remain safe while doing so. E safety and cyber bullying are topics of paramount importance and are incorporated into both key stage 3 and key stage 4 schemes of learning. As often as possible open source software is used in lessons. This allows students to legally download the software used in school for free through the schools VLE to extend their learning beyond the classroom.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 all students have one hour of curriculum time in Computing per week. All learners cover a wide area of computing topics including:
- E Safety
- Computational Thinking
- Computer Science Theory
- Building a PC
- 3D printing
- Web Authoring
- Graphics Editing
- Film Editing
- Sound Editing
- Desk Top Publishing
- Game Design
- Comic Book Creation
Key Stage 4
OCR Creative Imedia
The Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia course is an IT qualification that provides a good foundation for students who want to study IT at College and University. Topics covered include game design, graphics, animations, web development, film and sound editing. They provide knowledge in a number of key areas in this field from pre-production skills to digital animation and have a motivating, hands-on approach to both teaching and learning. Students develop practical skills and knowledge relating to a broad employment area. Students will complete four units. Three units are coursework based and one unit is exam based. Units are chosen from a range of topics including game design, web authoring, graphics, film and sound editing.
Computer Science GCSE
Computer Science is the science of how computers work and an understanding of how to make computers do exactly what you want them to do. Year after year employers are struggling to fill their vacancies for computer programmers and game designers. With a qualification in Computer Science, you might choose a career in engineering, aerospace, medical science, software development, research and many more. Computer Science is now recognised as a science, along with biology, chemistry and physics, and is therefore part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). You will sit two exams worth 80% and submit one coursework assignments worth 20%; a programming task with OCR set scenario. This course is popular with people who have an excellent knowledge of maths, science, technology and who enjoy problem solving using software to program algorithms, it offers opportunities for pupils with a range of abilities to progress.
To motivate, challenge and reward our students we have many enrichment activities that reach beyond the normal classroom. Through these extracurricular activities the department hopes to inspire and motivate students to pursue their interest in Computing outside of the classroom. These include:
Lunchtime and after school clubs - These clubs are open to all students within the school. They are held every lunch time and most days after school. It is an opportunity for students to come in to complete coursework from other subjects or extend the coursework set from computing lessons. Separate computer clubs for girls are also held at lunchtimes to encourage female students to study Computing at KS4.
Programming Clubs – Programming clubs are held once a week after school at various times throughout the year. The primary focus is on the development of programming skills using the language Python. It is an opportunity for students to develop their coding skills in a creative and encouraging setting. Students are encouraged to independently develop their own projects share with the group the skills that they have gained. This is an excellent opportunity for students to develop the skills required for GCSE Computer Science.
Minecraft – Meols Cop run a closed campus Minecraft server which can only be accessed from within school and only at lunchtimes and after school. Minecraft is a virtual world where participants break and create blocks to build whatever they can imagine. The server is administered and moderated by the students themselves. Using the forums on the schools Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) students discuss problems and ideas as well as voting in moderators for their year group.
Robotics club various times after school – Using the LEGO Mindstorm robotics set we have, students are able to build robots and use software to plan, test and modify sequences of instructions from a variety of real life robotic behaviours. They gather and analyse data from sensors using data logging functionalities. Robotics is a good way to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the students in an interesting way.
SETGO visit – Students visited a games programing company in Liverpool, SETGO games. They had the opportunity to experience what working for a computer programming company is like. They had the opportunity to discuss career options and how best to get involved in the industry.
BAFTA Game competition - Students enter the national BAFTA game design competition. This is an opportunity for students to gain some experience in what work is involved in the games design industry. We also hope it will inspire those students who have an interest in the design industry to develop their skills.
Raspberry Pi club – We use Raspberry Pi’s to investigate and adapt different projects that use externally driven devices. The students can decide what type of project they want to run and it’s feasibility. The Raspberry Pi can be programmed using Python to remotely operate wireless devices such as a weather station or wireless radio or use wired connections to operate a fully functional robotic arm or any type of electronic device using a Pi-face. “If they build it, it will work”.