Computer Science

Computer Science is taught at Key Stage 3(Year 8 and 9), Key Stage 4(GCSE) and 5 (AS/A level) at Aston. Subject specialist staff provides opportunities for students to extend their skills beyond the requirements of the modules or course.  The students are encouraged to develop their skills in the use and design of software applications – analysis, design, development, testing and evaluation.

Our aim is to equip pupils with the knowledge of current and emerging technologies, understanding of how they work, use algorithms for problem solving and apply this knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts. We believe that learning Computer Science can allow young people to make substantive progress in their studies and wider life. It also furnishes the essential scaffolding for gaining knowledge and skills in a range core subjects.

Staff Names and Roles

  • Mrs K Lally – Subject leader for Computer Science

Useful Websites to support your son’s learning

Opportunities outside of lessons

  • Key Stage 3 Computing Club – Years 7 to 9
  • Visit to National museum of Computing – Year 10
  • Computing Non Residential Course at Aston University – Years 11 to 13
  • Various Master classes opportunities available at Aston University, University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University –Year 12 and 13

Course information

BACK

YEAR 8

Specification and Topics covered at Year 8

8.1 Introduction to Programming with Scratch – In this unit, pupils will be introduced to basic programming principles and techniques.  They will learn to incorporate variables, operators, inputs and procedures using the Broadcast function. By end of this unit, students will be able to identify and use sequence, selection and iterative structure in Scratch programs. Pupils will also use logical reasoning to predict outcomes.

8.2 Scratch project – In this unit, pupils will progress to analysing and designing their own games quizzes and simple applications. During this unit, students should be able to create a fully working game with lives, scoring and some randomisation of objects. Finally they will learn to test and debug their programs. 

8.3 Computer crimes and cyber security – This unit covers some of the legal safeguards regarding computer use, including overviews of the Computer Misuse Act, Data Protection Act and Copyright Law and their implications for computer use. Phishing scams and other email frauds, hacking, “data harvesting” and identity theft are discussed together with ways of protecting online identity and privacy.

8.4 Algorithms and flowchart – It is a practical unit covering the principles of planning and producing control and monitoring solutions using a flowchart-based interface. Pupils will also learn what an algorithm and will recognise that algorithms can be planned using flowcharts and are implemented programs. Pupils will start by producing systems that use simple loops and basic outputs, and then move on to look at systems that have multiple inputs and outputs. They will refine their solutions using subroutines and variables.

How will your son be assessed during year 8?

Students will be assessed through one Common Assessment task per term. In addition to the Common Assessment tasks, quality of classwork, homework and practical work will be assessed regularly.

How could you support your son to learn during year 8?

By encouraging him to meet the deadlines for classwork and homework.

By encouraging him to review the theory notes and practise practical skills regularly.

BACK

YEAR 9

Specification and Topics covered at Year 9

9.1 Networks and communication – This is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles and architecture of local and wide area networks. Pupils will learn that the World Wide Web is part of the Internet, and how web addresses are constructed and stored as IP addresses. Client-server, peer-to-peer networks and the concept of cloud computing are all described. Ways of keeping data secure and simple encryption techniques are also covered.

9.2 Database development – It is a practical unit covering the basic theory, creation and use of a flat database and a simple relational database involving two tables in a one-to-many relationship. Pupils will start by looking at an existing single-table database, learning how to add records, make queries and reports. Students will also learn some basic SQL COMMANDS.

9.3 Python programming – This unit will allow students to get familiar with text programming. It is an introduction to Python, a powerful but easy-to-use high-level programming language. The focus is on getting pupils to understand the process of developing programs, the importance of writing correct syntax, being able to formulate algorithms for simple programs and debugging their programs. The pupils’ final programs are put into a learning portfolio with evidence of correct running, for assessment purposes.

9.4 Binary logic – This unit will allow students to recognise that digital content can be represented in many forms and computers use binary number system to represent all different types of data. Pupil will learn binary to denary conversion and apply simple bit wise operation like addition. While studying this unit pupils will understand the relationship between binary and electrical ciruits, including Boolean logic.

How will your son be assessed during year 9?

Students will be assessed through one Common Assessment task per term. In addition to the Common Assessment tasks, quality of classwork, homework and practical work will be assessed regularly.

How could you support your son to learn during year 9?

By encouraging him to meet the deadlines for classwork and homework.

By encouraging him to review the theory notes and practise practical skills regularly.

BACK

YEAR 10 & 11

Specification and Topics covered at GCSE

The course follows OCR GCSE Computer Science specification which gives students a real, in-depth understanding of how Computer technology works, engage learners,  get them thinking about

real world application, provides excellent preparation for higher study and employment in Computer Science.

GCSE  qualification consists of 3 components:

Unit 1 – Computer Systems

(Written Paper 1, 40%) – This component includes the following topics:

Systems Architecture, Memory,  Storage,  Wired and wireless networks, Network topologies, protocols and layers, System security, System software  and  Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns.

Unit 2Computational thinking,  algorithms and programming

(Written Paper 2, 40%) – This component includes the following topics:

Algorithms, Programming techniques, Producing robust programs, Computational logic, Translators and facilities of languages and Data representation.

Unit 3 – Programming project

(Non Exam assessment, 20%) – This component allow candidates to analyse, design, refine and implement, test and evaluate a computerised solution to a problem issued by the exam board.

Link to Computer Science Specification:

http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/225975-specification-accredited-gcse-computer-science-j276.pdf

Programming languages and interfaces

Pupils will be taught to program in C++ using RAD Studio 2010 (no previous programming knowledge is expected or required) which will be used predominantly in all three units. The course will also built upon the programming skills acquired through the use of programming software and IDEs like SCRATCH, Python, Visual Basic, HTML etc.

How will your son be assessed at GCSE?
Unit 1 – Computer SystemsWritten Paper, June, 1hr 30 mins, 80 marks, 40%
Unit 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programmingWritten Paper, June, 1hr 30 mins, 80 marks, 40%
Unit 3 – Programming ProjectNon exam assessment, Jan – March, 40 marks, 20%, to be completed in Year 11
Other internal assessments for Year 10 and 11

Students will be assessed by their teachers on the quality of their classwork, homework, practical work, regular revision tests, Common Assessment Tasks and Mock exams.

How could you support your son to learn during year 10 & 11?

By encouraging your son to review his work regularly and attend revision sessions. More information about revision sessions will be announced in the lessons.

Useful web links:

BACK

A LEVEL - YEAR 12 & 13

Specification and Topics covered at A level

The course follows new OCR linear Computer Science specification which encourages students to develop a range of skills and knowledge of Computing as a basis for progression into further learning and/or employment in computing related fields.

A level  qualification consists of 3 components:

Computer systems (Written Paper 1, 40%) – This component includes the following topics:
  • the characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software and software development
  • Exchanging data
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues
Algorithms and programming(Written Paper 2, 40%)This component includes the following topics:
  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Problem solving and programming
  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms
Programming project

(Non Exam assessment, 20%) – This component allow candidates to discuss, investigate, design, prototype, refine and implement, test and evaluate a computerised solution to a problem chosen by the candidate which must be solved using original code (programming). This is a substantial piece of work, undertaken over an extended period of time.

Link to Computing Specification

: http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/170844-specification-accredited-a-level-gce-computer-science-h446.pdf

How will your son be assessed at A level?

External assessments to take place in Year 13 in Summer term

  1. Component 1 – Written paper, 2hr 45 mins, 40%
  2. Component 2 – Written paper, 2hr 45 mins, 40%
  3. Component 3 – Programming project, 20%
Other internal assessments for Year 12 and 13

Students will be assessed by their teachers on the quality of their classwork, homework, practical work, regular revision tests, Common Assessment Tasks and Mock exams.

How could you support your son to learn during year 12 & 13?

By encouraging your son to review his work regularly, work effectively and in an organised manner to meet deadlines for each section of programming project and attend revision sessions. More information about revision sessions will be announced in the lessons.

Text books and other suggested books:
  • OCR A LEVEL Computer Science  – George Rouse, Jason Pitt and Sean O’Byrne
  • My Revision Notes, OCR – By: George Rouse, Jason Pitt and Sean O’Byrne
  • A Level Computing. By: P M Heathcote
  • AS/A2 revision guides

Useful web links:

  • YEAR 8
  • YEAR 9
  • YEAR 10 & 11
  • A LEVEL - YEAR 12 & 13