How Computing and Computer Science contributes to the Curriculum
At Northgate High School we strongly believe that a high-quality computing education equips our pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has clear links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems.
The core of Computing is Computer Science; our pupils 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, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs and systems.
Computing also ensures that pupils 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.
Our provision of the National Curriculum:
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
- can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Our Programme of Study provides coherence and flexibility
Our Northgate High School computing curriculum is structured in units. For the units to be coherent, the lessons within them are taught in order. However, the curriculum is flexible in terms of the order in which these units are taught within a year group, except for programming, where concepts and skills rely on prior knowledge and experiences. That way we are able to provide differentiated learning experiences.
Our Knowledge organisation
Our Northgate High School curriculum applies the National Curriculum and is underpinned by the National Centre for Computing Education’s computing taxonomy. All learning outcomes of our pupils can be described through nine topics, ordered alphabetically as follows:
|Data and Information||
|Design & Development||
|Impact of technology||
|Safety and Security||
See link for parents’ guidance here
The topics categorise and organise the content into strands. Whilst all strands are present at all phases, they are not always taught explicitly.
We are inclusive and ambitious
We want to be able to support all Northgate High School pupils. Our units will be pitched so that pupils with different starting points can access them. Our lessons are sequenced so that each builds on prior learning. Our activities can be scaffolded so all children can succeed. We encourage our students to work independently and proceed through the lesson content at their own speed. During lessons, we use unplugged or real world activities to unpack difficult concepts in computing as part of a semantic wave of learning. We also use a range of scaffolding approaches when teaching programming, ranging from copying code, exploring some commands or functions, fixing code with bugs to solving specific problems with code. All lessons are accessible both from home and school via the google classroom platform.
We provide application through software
At Northgate High School, we strongly believe that we need pupils to be thinking during their lessons – both to engage with the subject and to strengthen memory of what is being learnt. Some of our lessons require practical application of concepts and skills on a computer using appropriate software. We supplement our lessons with guidance on how to use such software to reinforce the learning from the lesson.
We aim for motivation through learning
We all know that computing is inherently interesting, and seek to motivate pupils through the subject matter. Where possible, we draw on real world experiences to provide an engaging viewpoint on computing concepts. Every pupil should have the opportunity to implement their skills and knowledge and ultimately feel a sense of achievement. We provide opportunities for pupils to be creative and solve problems by building their own programmes and applications for example.
A final note…
We are currently working towards the proposed structure outlined below in KS3 Computing and KS4 Computer Science. This means that until the 2023 intake, a more fluid teaching of units is being implemented, depending on pupils’ needs, progress and timetable. Lessons are delivered in one of the four available IT suites.
Below are a number of links to resources available to support independent learning:
Below are a number of links to the software used in programming, which can also be downloaded at home:
Assessment in Computing and Computer Science
Students in Year 10 and 11 are tested at the end of every half-term. These exams are formal written examinations which are based on previous examination paper questions covering the topics covered over that period of time. The marks from these assessments will be available through Go4schools with appropriate progress targets. In addition to this, all students will be assessed at regular intervals throughout the course with shorter “quiz” style tests. Reflection on test outcomes at an individual and class level is essential to cement terminology and support students in developing their understanding further. Students will also be assessed on their current knowledge through formal “mock” style examinations in the summer term of Year 10 and in January of their Year 11 course.
Personal Development and Cultural Capital in Computing and Computer Science
The “Coding Club” meets at lunchtime once a week. This targets any students that have a general interest in developing their coding skills. All year groups are welcome.
Who Teaches Computing and Computer Science
Head of Department (KS3/4):
Mrs C. Woods, MA, BA, GTP, Secondary Certificate for Computing Education
Email: cwoods followed by @ng6.unity-ed.uk
Mrs Woods is a Graduate of the Computer Science Accelerator Programme (CSA), Secondary Computing and has an MA in Educational Leadership and Management. She has taught in all Key Stages, including Primary and Adult Education.
Head of Department (KS5):
Mr. S. Nicholson
Email: snicholson followed by @dsfc.unity-ed.uk
Mr Nicholson graduated from the UEA in 1995 with a degree in Electronic Engineering.
Relevant experience includes: Three years postgraduate research into 3D image enhancement algorithms alongside teaching seminars, laboratory work and coding. Technical Industry experience as both an Aviation Engineer and a Circuit Design Engineer, which included coding of microcontrollers and speech recognition algorithms. Experience in coding with a variety of coding languages.