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Townley Computer Science Teaching & Learning Curriculum Computer Science

Computer Science has been a specialist subject at Townley for over five years. The aim of the Department is to provide students with the opportunity to embrace technology and to inspire them in this subject.  Our students enjoy the challenge of problem-solving and this subject provides the right forum for them to discover the realms of technology.

The Department has been recognised as a leader in paving the way of how Computer Science should be delivered in schools, both secondary and primary. We are actively working with primary schools in how Computer Science can be delivered as a subject through our outreach program, The Digital Schoolhouse.  We have hosted workshops on delivering the Computing curriculum to local secondary schools. We also have regular interactions with technology companies such as Amazon Web Services and careers trips ranging from Bletchley Park to cyber security and E-sports, to speak to our students as often as possible. We also offer our GCSE and A Level Computer Science students the opportunity to join our Silicon Valley trip which is a ten day trip to San Francisco visiting a range of tech companies from Google, Facebook, Adobe to small start-up companies.

Further afield we have regularly hosted delegates from Europe and different organisations visit the Department to see how Computing and best teaching practice is delivered.



Course Progression

Key Stage 4 Computer Science (OCR GCSE)

Students will have experienced some theoretical knowledge of computer systems and basic programming through their Computer Science lessons in Year 9. This course is challenging yet it offers a fun and interesting way to develop skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and applied in day-to-day life.

Students are helped to improve analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming.

The course provides excellent preparation for study in higher education and employment in the field of Computer Science that rely on these skills, especially where they are applied to technical problems. Careers include engineering, financial, science and medicine.

OCR GCSE Computer Science Course Components

This new specification is split into three components:

Component 01 – Computer Systems (50% of total GCSE)
Just how do computers work? How can we keep safe whilst using computers? This first component is an exam focused on computer systems covering the physical elements of computer science and the associated theory.

Component 02 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming (50% of total GCSE)
How can we get computers to solve problems? How do computers run and store the programs we write? This component is focused on the core theory of computer science and the application of computer science principles.

Component 03 – Practical Programming
Programming in action! This component is the non-exam assessment where you will be challenged by a range of exciting and engaging tasks to apply the knowledge and skills you have learned.

Key Stage 5 Computing (A Level)

Why Study Computer Science at A Level?

Computer Science is concerned with the use and functioning of computers. It is designed to give students a rich understanding of the technology involved in computers, how hardware operates and how software is created. By the end of the course students develop a good understanding of programming, both in theory and in practice, as well as considerable understanding of all of the main functions of computer systems. It involves working with more complex models for the functioning of computer systems, developing more complicated algorithms and understanding different techniques for solving computational problems. The coursework gives students an opportunity to work on a programmed system from start to finish, producing a substantial piece of work. 

What you will Study

Component 01 - Computer Systems
This unit provides 40% of the A Level mark, which covers the theoretical topics such as, the characteristics of contemporary processors, input/output and storage devices.  In addition to this, it includes software and software development, exchanging data (Databases, networks and web technologies); Data types, representation and structures; Legal and ethical issues. 
Component 02 – Algorithms and Problem Solving 
This unit provides 40% of the A level mark and is primarily concerned with teaching students how to program.  The content involves introducing students to the programming language Python with which students are set a number of programming tasks of increasing complexity.  In addition, students are also taught a framework for understanding the commands and structures found in most programming languages.  The final exam presents students with questions which both test their knowledge of the subject, but also their ability to solve algorithm problems under time pressure. 
Component 03 – Programming 
Project This is a coursework unit provides the final 20% of the A Level mark, where the student will use the underlying principles of Computational Programming to solve a practical coding problem. Using the Agile Development Methodology, students will analyse, design, evaluate and document a fully functional programmed system, using a programming language of choice.

Key Stage 3 Computing

Year 7

The range of concepts experienced as a new student in Year 7 will form a firm foundation for the years to come. Students will begin with some practical skills such as finding your way around our computer network and sending emails before finding out more about E-safety, Security and Digital Footprints through an online platform IDEA. Students will move onto studying how to construct algorithms using “Flowol”. During the second term we aim to make students more aware of a well-known competition run through BAFTA, which inspires and supports young people to create, develop and present their new game idea to the world. Following on from the design students will bring their game idea to life using Scratch.

Year 8

Year 8 students will be introduced to how to use a variety of applications to manipulate images and text to design magazine covers. They are introduced to GIMP, as well as the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act. During the second half of the term, students look at the Amazon Web Services competition where groups of students design an app with the aim of improving/addressing an issue in school or local community. During the first half of the second term, students look at how computers are joined together using Networks. Moving on to look at some examples of algorithms, including how they use iteration and selection to achieve specific tasks. They construct their own algorithms using Python to create geometric shapes. In the summer term, students look at the social, moral and environmental impact of technology on their day to day lives. They are introduced to a range of software, before being asked to research how to use them, and complete their own independent project to create media, including graphics and a website.  This unit of work is very independent, with a lot of research and self-led tasks.

Year 9

The final year of key stage 3 aims to strengthen some of the skills students learn during year 7 and 8, combined with the aim of giving students a taster of some of the concepts they will study at GCSE. In the first half of the term students learn the basics of modelling, texturing, and animating using Blender and will create 3D models and short animations. In the second half of the term students are introduced to an embedded system called a Micro:Bit. Students will familiarise themselves with the device itself and further their understanding python which they use to create their own programs. The second term starts with a theoretical unit covering the basic principles of computer architecture and use of binary. Students then explore the fascinating world of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.  Finding out how machine learning and deep learning are used in image recognition and the Ethics of AI is considered. During the third term, students complete an independent programming. They are introduced to the methodology for completing the tasks that have been set, before coding a solution to the different problems set.  

Student Testimony

"I enjoy Computer Science because unlike any other subject there is a problem solving aspect where you can actually see the results.  It also looks at logical thinking and how this is applied in the real world, for example how algorithms in say Google Maps is applied. I personally like the cybersecurity side because it is current you are always hearing in the media about data breaches and data security issues and how the technology industry are continually evolving to manage the cyber issues they face. 

In my coursework element I have decided to create a program to help manage my tasks and revision, so I have the opportunity to create a solution to a real life problem I am facing in my subjects and I find that aspect of the course really rewarding."

Ojaswee, Year 13 Computer Science Student

Related Careers

Computer Science is a multi-disciplinary subject, containing elements of maths as well as economics and media. As such, it is highly valued by colleges, universities and potential employers because computing has honed a wide range of useful skills.

The study of Computer Science as a subject would benefit those students interested in, among others, a career in physics, chemistry, economics, music technology, engineering, architecture, finance, insurance, software design, scientist, the armed forces, the police. 


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