A high-quality computing education equips students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which students are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, students are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that students become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
We follow five core strands each year, buillding on the concepts that have been investigated in the previous year to give students an opportunity to explore each area in detail. the core strands are:
Digital citizenship is the term we use to define how we represent ourselves and act in a digital world. This could be from the use of social networking, gaming, shopping and in appreciating that not all information that is online is factual. As we progress through key stage 3 we tackle more challenging topics.
How do we turn electrical signals into text, images and sound? This is the focus of the data representation topic. Students will learn about the building blocks of all computer and computer programs – binary – as well as the steps that are needed to convert binary into numbers and those numbers into letters, colours and musical notes.
Computational thinking with Algorithms
Computational thinking is essentially trying to “think” like a computer. How can we break problems down into discrete stages, where each stage can be further broken down into a series of binary outcomes – True\False. These stages are then turned into algorithms in the form of either flowcharts (a graphical representation) or pseudocode (a generic language that can be adapted to any computer language)
How to make a computer follow our instructions. That’s the journey we follow in programming. We start with graphical programming languages like scratch or the microbit codemaker. From there we use Python to program the “turtle” – an age-old programming tool. We then tackle more complex challenged using Python and give students the option of trying out other language interfaces and even games engines like Construct 2.
What is a computer made of and how do they communicate with each other. We start by looking at the core of a computer system – the processor – and see how that ties in with input, output and storage. In year 8 we look at the processor in more detail using a model called the Von Neumann system architecture. We also start to look at computer networks – how we can share data between computers that are next to each other or across the planet.
Each unit is assessed online using our Moodle VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). Homework will be comprised of a range of online and paper-based tasks and will support each of the above strands. Students can track their progress through Key Stage 3 in Moodle and review any tests they have taken over the years.
Additional information on Key Stage 3 ICT and Computing can be obtained by contacting: