You will find lots of information below about the subject and how the department operates.
If you have any queries regarding computing please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
Head of Computing and Business Studies
Our aim at St John Henry Newman School is to equip each and every student with the knowledge and skills in Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy, that will allow them to go on to further study or to pursue a career in this profession.
Our students receive discrete Computer Science lessons to develop and apply their skills as well as other opportunities throughout different curriculum areas across the school. We have three dedicated and well-equipped ICT suites within the department, along with an additional classroom and three laptop trollies for additional access.
We recognise the value of this subject and within it the use of the internet as an extremely powerful tool but equally we recognise that it can be an extremely dangerous place. Therefore, e-safety is at the forefront of all our teaching to ensure that each student is aware of their rights and responsibilities online, whilst also being able to evaluate the social impact of technology. All online content is monitored to ensure the safety of our students. Through this system we can block access to most inappropriate websites and record any suspicious activity. Students’ emails are stored and monitored regularly and there is a thorough system in place to ensure everyone is kept safe. An internet safety contract must be signed by both students and parents / carers to provide consent to use the internet in school as well as to ensure correct and appropriate use.
All students also have access to Microsoft Office 365, which gives them access to Outlook, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, which is a tool used to allow work to be completed and submitted online. This eases the process of transferring work between home and school. ICT facilities are available at lunchtime to allow students to complete their homework. Additional after school sessions are offered throughout the year for GCSE revision, coursework catch-up and extra-curricular activities such as coding.
Our key stage 3 curriculum, which runs through years 7 and 8, combines computer science with digital media to allow students to learn both the scientific aspects of computing along with more creative tasks, providing variety and an opportunity for students to see where their strengths lie. Our key stage 3 units include:
E-safety features at the beginning of each year and is revisited throughout the year in order to promote safe and sensible use of technology.
In year 9 we begin to deliver our key stage 4 curriculum. Building on the foundation provided in key stage 3, students will have the opportunity to complete a relevant qualification, based on either GCSE Computer Science or Creative iMedia. As students prepare for their future career they need to develop their ICT skills in order to be successful. Most career options will involve some use of ICT and it is vital that students have an ICT qualification in order to gain the best possible advantage in the job market.
Dependent on interest and ability, many of our students will be guided towards the GCSE in Computer Science. Our current year 10 are currently completing the Pearson Specification, however, in September 2020, students beginning this course will follow the OCR specification. Both specifications comprise two examination papers and a practical project, all of which allow students to further their understanding of how computers work and the techniques used to write effective computer programs. This course is graded using the 9-1 system.
As an alternative to this course, we deliver the Cambridge Nationals, Creative iMedia Level 1/2 Certificate, which studies the planning of traditional and emerging media products as well as developing practical skills where students will plan their own media products. This comprises four units, one of which is externally assessed and will focus on pre-production skills. These will then be applied in the remaining practical units, which are internally marked and externally moderated. These allow the students to show their creativity and will focus on creating digital graphics, designing multimedia products and the creation of a comic strip. The course is graded at Distinction*, Distinction, Merit or Pass at level two. Students who fail to meet the level 2 requirements can be awarded a level one grade.
GCSE Computer Science - https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/computer-science-2016.html
GCSE Computer Science (9 – 1) OCR new specification - https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/computer-science-j277-from-2020/
Cambridge Nationals Level ½ in Creative iMedia - https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/cambridge-nationals/creative-imedia-level-1-2-award-certificate-j807-j817/
Students in year 12 have embarked on the BTEC National Extended Certificate in Information Technology, a two-year course that will see them completing four units of work which includes the following:
Unit 1 – Information Technology Systems – this will be externally assessed through an exam.
Unit 2 – Creating Systems to manage data – this is a practical exam that will be externally assessed.
Unit 3 - Using Social Media in Business – internally assessed through coursework.
Unit 6 - Website Development – internally assessed through coursework.
The table below shows how BTEC grades equate to UCAS grades and Tariffs.
UCAS equivalence to A Level
For further information visit https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/btec-nationals/information-technology-2016.html
We have three well equipped ICT suites, with facilities available at selected lunchtimes for students to complete homework. Our LRC is also available to allow students to study in their own time. Much of our curriculum is delivered through Microsoft Teams, however, there is still a focus on written tasks in order to prepare students for examinations.
Homework is set each lesson and is a mixture of academic tasks and research. If a student is unable to complete their homework they should see their teacher as soon as possible. If students need to complete an ICT task for homework facilities are available in school to allow them to do so.
As part of the Key Stage 3 programme of study students will complete modules on control and monitoring. We teach this unit using free downloadable software called Scratch. Why not download it now and practise? Towards the end of Key Stage 3 we also move onto written programming language such as Python. This is also free to download here, alternatively visit codewith.mu for a student friendly version.