St. Joseph's Catholic College

Computer Science

 There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary and those who do not.

 

You don't need to understand the above quote to show potential for Computer Science, but as computers communicate in binary, it may help. Computer science is the science that deals with the theory and methods of processing information in digital computers, including the logic required to tackle complex challenges and develop programs in different coding languages, the design of computer hardware and software and the applications of computers.

There have recently been major discussions, papers and announcements on the future direction of Computer Science in schools. All of these have recognised the vital importance of our students gaining comprehensive computer and problem-solving skills, which makes them more adaptable and versatile in the modern world.

We look to provide students with a stimulating environment in which to learn these skills and students are offered the opportunity to study Computer Science at Key Stage 4. In terms of facilities, the college has a number of computer suites which are available as required for the course. However, as Computer Science is very different from ICT courses that have been offered by schools in the past, many of the lessons will be taught in a traditional classroom, where the focus can be more on the practical methodology of how best to approach and break down any given task. Our aim is that students with a keen interest in this field are offered a GCSE in Computer Science and able to achieve this to a high standard, in order they are equipped to be able to pursue further study, should they wish.

 

Course Outlines

In Year 10 and 11, Computer Science is studied as an option with 5 lessons a fortnight offered as the teaching time, (for the academic year 2020-21, the allocated time is 3 hours per week).

Students will study for the OCR GCSE in Computer Science.

OCR’s GCSE (9–1) in Computer Science will encourage students to:

  • understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation;
  • analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs;
  • think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically;
  • understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems;
  • understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society; apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science.

This involves studying a number of different topics and is assessed by 2 written assessments at the end of year 11. These exams are non-calculator and 1.5 hours long, with each counting for 50%. The first paper consists of multiple choice questions, short response questions and extended response questions. The second paper has two sections: Section A and Section B. Students must answer both sections. All questions are mandatory. In Section B, questions assessing students’ ability to write or refine algorithms must be answered using either the OCR Exam Reference Language or the high-level programming language they are familiar with.

Topics studied include-

  • Systems Architecture
  • Memory and Storage
  • Computer Networks
  • Connections and Protocols
  • Network Security
  • System Software
  • Ethical, Legal, Cultural and Environmental impacts of today’s Technology
  • Algorithms
  • Programming Fundamentals
  • Producing Robust Programs
  • Boolean Logic
  • Programming Languages and Integrated Development Environments.