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Computing

Course description 

The increasing use of technology in all aspects of society makes confident, creative and productive use of computing an essential skill for life.

Computing capability encompasses not only the mastery of technical skills and techniques, but also the understanding to apply these skills purposefully, safely and responsibly in learning, everyday life and employment.

Computing capability is fundamental to participation and engagement in modern society.

At Fakenham Academy we aim to prepare our pupils for the modern technological world this is why we are committed to deliver computing at key stages 3, 4 and 5.

Computing at Fakenham Academy  ensures that all pupils:

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Key Stage 3 

At key stage 3 pupils will follow a programme of study which is taught over 2 hours per fortnight.   The pupils will be taught to:

  • design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
  • understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking [for example, ones for sorting and searching]; use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem
  • use two or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems; make appropriate use of data structures [for example, lists, tables or arrays]; design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions
  • understand simple Boolean logic [for example, AND, OR and NOT] and some of its uses in circuits and programming; understand how numbers can be represented in binary, and be able to carry out simple operations on binary numbers [for example, binary addition, and conversion between binary and decimal]
  • understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
  • understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits
  • undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users
  • create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability
  • understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns.
Key Stage 4 

At key stage 4 we offer 2 courses, each which are equivalent to one GCSE, OCR Computer Science, and BTEC First Award in Information and Creative Technology.

OCR Computer Science - The course covers computer systems, programming, software and hardware as well as databases and data representation. The practical aspects of the course cover a programming task and an investigation task.

How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed through an exam which covers the theory side of the course.  The practical aspects are assessed through two pieces of controlled assessment work. One is a programming task and the other an investigation into an aspect of computing.

How can parents help?

It will be useful for students to have access to a computer with a version of Python 3 installed so that they can practise their programming skills outside the classroom. There are also excellent resources available on the Internet, such as Code Academy to help with programming.

Where next?

A qualification in computing demonstrates a degree of logical thinking and the ability to create and follow sequences of instructions. Computing is complementary to, but quite different from ICT.

BTEC First Award in Information and Creative Technology - This has been developed in the IT sector to provide opportunities for learners to gain a nationally recognised qualification.  THose who successfully complete this course can choose to enter employment in the IT sector or to progress to Level 3 studies. The course provides opportunities for learners to develop a range of skills and techniques, personal qualities and attitudes essential for successful performance in working life.

How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed via 4 units of work which all carry equal weighting.  For one of the units the pupils will sit an externally assessed one hour online exam, and the other 3 units will be internally set and assessed pieces of coursework. 

How can parents help?

It is essential that pupils do at least 20 minutes of work everyday so they can keep up with the demands of the course, it would be helpful if parents could encourage/help their child achieve this goal.

Where next?

The course provides many progression opportunities:

 level 3 qualifications, such as the BTEC Level 3 Nationals in IT or an IT/Creative Media apprenticeship.

  • academic qualifications, such as GCSE or GCE A Level in ICT or Computing.
  • employment within the information technology and/or areas within the creative industries, such as computer animations.