Welcome to the computer science department
“If you can imagine a computer doing something, you can program a computer to do that.”
Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the WWW)
All courses use a range of teaching styles, giving students opportunities to access learning through different approaches. In Computing lessons, students are actively encouraged to develop their ‘computational thinking’, a skillset intended to help them problem-solve and break issues down into small, manageable pieces. We deem this an essential skill as the students prepare for life outside of education and in the digital world. Whole-class discussions, group work and peer assessment ensure an engaged, enjoyable and calm working environment.
A number of extracurricular activities are run throughout the year, with students participating in Code Club, the Bebras competition, CyberFirst (Year 8 only), CyberDiscovery, the Perse Coding competition, Matrix Challenge and Amazon GetIT.
In addition to the above activities, the department runs trips, including to the National Museum of Computing and New York (every other year).
Homework is set on a regular basis in line with the school Homework Policy.
All courses are taught to mixed-ability groups.
All lesson materials are shared with students on Google Classroom.
KS4 and KS5 students all have accounts on https://www.testandtrack.io/
Other revision resources can be found on BBC Bitesize and https://www.senecalearning.com/
Key Stage 3
Aims and Rationale:
To equip students with the skills to participate in a rapidly changing world. Students will develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of Computer Science by having the opportunity to write programs, and design and produce professional digital products. We aim to ensure that all students:
• 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 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
Key Stage 4
Aims and rationale:
Students can opt to study AQA GCSE Computer Science in Key Stage 4. This qualification builds on the foundation of knowledge acquired at Key Stage 3. It is based on a combination of practical and theory lessons, and is assessed through two theory-based examinations.
Students study many key topic areas: Systems Architecture, Networking and Protocols, Systems Security, Systems Software, Computational Thinking, Programming Techniques, Computational Logic, Data Representation, and Ethical, Legal, Cultural and Environmental Concerns. Students also learn programming skills, computational theory, Binary, and how sound and images are stored.
We offer two options within the department at Key Stage 4:
- GCSE Computer Science - Specification AQA 8525
- GCSE Business -Specification Edexcel 1BS0
Key Stage 5
Aims and rationale:
A Level Computer Science is a practical course where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It is a creative subject that combines invention and excitement, and looks at the natural world through a digital prism. Through this qualification, students can develop:
- The capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
- An understanding of the design and construction of computer systems
- The ability to apply computational thinking in a range of contexts to solve problems
- An understanding of the consequences of using computers, an awareness of emerging technologies and an appreciation of their potential impact on society
The Key Stage 5 curriculum covers the characteristics of contemporary processors; input, output and storage devices; software development programming; data types, data structures and algorithms; legal, moral, ethical and cultural issues; elements of computational thinking; problem-solving; and programming.
A Level Computer Science is taught in conjunction with Hitchin Boys' School:
A Level Business is taught at HGS:
Full details of the courses offered by the Hitchin Schools Sixth Form Consortium can be found on the Hitchin Consortium website and in our Sixth Form Prospectus here.