The King's School in Macclesfield

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      Computing and ICT

      About the Department

      The Computing Department consists of 3 full-time specialist teachers. The department is a highly experienced one, with each teacher having a proven track record for outstanding academic results. Students are taught a wide range of ICT application based skills and computing knowledge across the curriculum.

      Examination Results

      GCSE  
      9-7 = 42%             9-4  = 100%

      A Level        
      A*-B = 66%            A*-D = 100%              

      Subject Content & Syllabus

       Key Stage 3 

      Year 7:  In Year 7, students are given the opportunity to develop their communication, research and presentation skills through a six week e-safety project culminating in a short presentation using the online presentation tool, Prezi. Students continue their Computing journey by investigating game design through Kodu game lab, creating algorithms and developing programming skills. In the second term, Year 7 students design and develop their own mobile app, allowing students to become creative in their approach to computing. The term continues with Scratch, exploring blocks of code to develop a working feature-rich game. During the summer term, Year 7 get hands-on with the BBC Micro:Bit, taking computing away from the traditional desktop PC. Finally, students in Year 7 will learn the basics of the Python programming language to create their very own chat-bot – a computer program that talks back to them!

      Year 8:  Year 8 sees students build upon their knowledge of computers and applications, with the first scheme of work being graphic design. The students then have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of Python with a 6-week Python Basics course, looking at simple programming constructs and debugging. Year 8 then progress to website development with the introduction of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The fourth topic for our Year 8 students is sound manipulation. With this project, students are asked to script and record their own radio advertisement with music and sound effects. The summer term allows students in Year 8 to look at professional game development using GameMaker. This process involves character development, movement and scoring. The final unit of work for Year 8 looks at binary numbers and data storage in computers. We look at how computers can only communicate using 1's and 0's, and how all data is stored and retrieved on our computers. 

      In Year 9, pupils strengthen their knowledge of Python with a more advanced scheme of work, looking at functions and procedures. Year 9 pupils then look at advanced app development, including what makes a good GUI? What is our user journey? Do optimized graphics make a difference? In the summer, Year 9 students embark on a term-long project to develop a series of products for a fictional music festival. The products include; a logo, a teaser advertisement video, merchandise, an app, a radio advert, a database and a costing model. This project aims to cement fundamental IT application skills that can be beneficial beyond the classroom. Finally, the students undertake a computing project to solve a problem using code. 

      Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

      We follow the Edexcel Computer Science specification with students being taught for 6 periods per fortnight. The GCSE has a strong focus on programming and logical problem-solving. The course covers six key areas of computer science, these are; problem-solving and creating algorithms, the fundamentals of programming and creating working programs, how computers store data with the use of binary numbers, the inner workings of a computer with a focus on components, networking protocols and how computers communicate with each other and the wider world of computing, looking at ethics and legal frameworks.

      The course is 100% examination, with students sitting two examination papers of equal weighting. Paper 1 focusses on the principles of Computer Science and is 1 hour 40 minutes. Paper 2 is 2 hours long and covers the application of computational thinking. The course also includes a 20 hour none-examined assessment in the form of a practical computing project. The GCSE aims to allow the students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key concepts of and principles of computer science, apply knowledge and understanding of key concepts and principles of computer science and analyse problems in computational terms to be able to make reasoned judgements, as well as designing, programming, evaluating and refining solutions.

      Sixth Form 

      Computer Science is becoming an increasingly popular choice at A Level at King's. Our students study the OCR examination board specification. There is no pre-requisite for students to have studied Computer Science at GSCE to take the A Level course, although obtaining the GCSE would be a clear advantage. The course explores twelve units of theory work and an additional practical programming project. There are two, 2 and ½ hour examination papers, worth 40% of the overall A Level each and the practical programming project making up the remaining 20%. The course covers topics such as; characteristics of contemporary processors, software development, exchanging data, data types and structures, legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues as well as computational thinking.

      The A Level is taught for 12 periods over the two-week timetable and is typically taught by two teachers. Students are issued with textbooks and are directed to a number of online help portals to aide their study. The primary taught language at A Level is Python, however students are encouraged to explore other languages such as C# or Java to broaden their project options.  

      Enrichment Opportunities

      • British Informatics Olympiad (Cambridge University)
      • National Cipher Challenge (University of Southampton)
      • Alan Turing Cryptography Competition (Manchester University)
      • Cyber Start Discovery
      • GCHQ Cyberfirst for Girls
      • Barclays Technology Innovation Award
      • Duke of York iDEA Award
      • BIMA Digital Day
      • Raspberry Pi Shop
      • Apps for Good
      • BAFTA Young Game Designers Competition
      • Computing Club for Girls

      Careers

      Many of our A Level students go onto higher education courses to study degrees in Computer Science or apprenticeship schemes. More than half of the Computing students have received First Class Honours Degrees and go on to study for their Masters Degree. A number of student have programs or software products that are commercially available.

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