A modern Computer Science curriculum sits on the intersection of science and creativity. It possesses a strong scientific base, fashioned as it is on logical and mathematical principles, and dexterity within the key aspects of Computer Science enable students to unleash their creative minds.
It encompasses a variety of complementary strands, incorporating:
Computational thinking – the principles of solving problems and designing systems through decomposition, abstraction, pattern recognition, logical and algorithmic reasoning, and data representation
Digital literacy and creativity – the ability to locate, evaluate and use digital hardware and software in a creative or purposeful manner
Information technology – the ability to capture and analyse data, and to make relevant changes in response to the data presented, using either software or hardware devices
Communication – the exchange of information between multiple parties, not necessarily via digital media
Ethical and social impact – revolving around the legal and moral principles that govern how an individual or a collective body of people conduct themselves. At present this would be largely using digital media as a conduit – such as the use of social media apps in relation to cyber bullying or internet safety or copyright law. Increasingly social and ethical questions will arise with respect to how we relate to Artificially Intelligent entities, and how they relate to us
Safety – incorporating ergonomic aspects such as the prolonged use of a tablet, mouse or keyboard, in addition to internet safety concerns such as cyber security or cyber bullying awareness
Resilience – many Computer Science concepts will be unfamiliar to the students, in particular units which entail elements such as binary manipulation, programming or logical theory. An essential component of successfully solving complex challenges is the ability to independently break down, tackle and solve problems, and to develop a level of resilience in their approach to this.
It is important to be cognisant of the technological trends of the 21st Century, but the intention of the Computer Science curriculum at Harris Federation is not simply to equip students to attain employment in a variety of information technology jobs. It is to foster within them a deep understanding of the principles outlined above, and to provide them with the communication skills, the flexibility of mindset, and the fearlessness when tackling complex problems that will serve them so well in the future.
This Computer Science scheme of work has been developed to reflect the current National Curriculum for Computer Science in Key Stages 3 and 4, and the AQA GCSE Computer Science (8520) specification.
At Key Stage 3 the assumption is that, on a weekly basis, students will receive one lesson of approximately 55 minutes in length. At Key Stage 4 the assumption is that, on a weekly basis, students will receive three lessons of approximately 55 minutes in length.
The units of work are intended to be delivered over half-termly blocks, with assessment at key points throughout the year. Clearly if the offering of the schools is significantly different to this assumption then tweaks will have to be made – for example some academies within the Federation offer Computer Studies in Key Stage 3 in only certain year groups, or on a rotational timetable.
Other academies are offering students the ability to commence their GCSE studies in Year 9. This document is necessarily somewhat generic and academies are likely to implement their own particular strands of this curriculum. The assumption remains that within Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4, the academies fulfil the statutory requirements of the national curriculum, as reproduced below. Assessment Objectives have been added in order to explicate the link between the National Curriculum and our curriculum overview table immediately following it.
Further details of the curriculum can be downloaded below.