Welcome to ICT and Computer Science!
ICT at Cheam High School is in the process of exciting change. Technology has evolved and advanced over recent years and the department has adapted its teaching and curriculum content in order to reflect this. The department is aware of how our subject leads itself to develop all areas of the curriculum. With this in mind we encourage our students to transfer their skills and knowledge into all areas of the school. The department provides opportunities for students to develop both their computing and ICT capability. The department believes that students should be given the necessary knowledge and understanding to enable them to be digitally literate at a level suitable for the future workplace and to become active participants in a digital world.
Key Stage 3 - Information and Communication Technology and Computing
The department teaches discrete ICT to all pupils in years 7 - 8. The KS3 curriculum encompasses not only the mastery of technical skills and techniques, but also the understanding to apply these skills purposefully, safely and responsibly in learning, everyday life and employment. In addition pupils will be introduced to the basics of computer science, by learning the basics of computer programming.
In Year 7 and in Year 8
students learn and apply these skills and capabilities as outlined in the Computing in schools progression Pathways. Students will cover a variety of topics that are linked to Algorithms, programming and development, Data and Data representation, Hardware and Processing, Communication and Networks and Information Technology (Digital Literacy). We aim to cover these concepts while teaching fun and engaging lessons that will get the students to be actively engaged with technology and feel confident in using it as well as developing their own solutions to problems.
Key Stage 4
The department offers two distinct qualifications at GCSE Level. For students who plan to use technology in the workplace we offer the BTEC Tech Award in Digital Information Technology and for the pupils who prefer to make technology instead of use it we offer the AQA GCSE in Computer Science.
The BTEC Tech Award in Digital Information Technology allows students to examine how computers are used to manipulate and analyse data, how user interfaces are designed, and how to employ effective digital working practices. It has three units: one unit where students learn how to use the advanced features of spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets (assessed as a project); one unit where students practice managing a project to create a user interface, such as a stadium or shopping centre information map (assessed as a project); and an exam unit where students learn about how computers are used in modern workplaces.
The AQA GCSE in Computer Science has been created to get students working with real-world programming and provides a good understanding of the fundamental principles of computing. This provides a challenging specification for students of all ability levels. It is both inspiring to teach and learn. This GCSE has built-in progression to further studies and is recognised as developing the skills that employer’s value. There are two written papers that will assess the student’s theoretical knowledge and computational thinking skills alongside a non-exam assessment (NEA) component to assess student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical programming problem.
GCSE Computer Science counts towards the English Baccalaureate science measure, offering students a new option that achieves maximum recognition.
Key Stage 5
BTEC National Computing
Computing is an established academic discipline that deals primarily with programming and how computers work. Areas covered will be valuable to students interested in Engineering, Electronics and Mathematics, as well as those with a straightforward interest in computers. This course should not be confused with Information Technology, which tends to deal with what computers are used for. Computing is highly regarded by top university departments.
This course is designed to allow students to improve their communication and develop their skills in hardware architecture, software development and game design and development. It will appeal to students who wish to progress to a university degree and/or pursue a career in an IT-related field such as games development, IT engineering or software development.
BTEC National Information Technology
It is designed for learners who are interested in an introduction to the study of creating IT systems to manage and share information alongside other fields of study, with a view to progressing to a wide range of higher education courses, not necessarily in IT. Learners will develop a common core of IT knowledge and study areas such as the relationship between hardware and software that form an IT system, managing and processing data to support business and using IT to communicate and share information.
Today’s BTEC Nationals are demanding, as you would expect of the most respected applied learning qualification in the UK. You will have to choose and complete a range of units, be organised, take assessments that we will set and mark, and keep a portfolio of your assignments.
Enrichment and Extra Curricular
Code Club is a very popular after-school activity where students get to complete a computing project of their choice. The club participates in internal and external competitions based on a set theme, such as making an informative game for a charity or cause. Most of the students are in KS3 but there are several KS4 students who participate as well. In 2019 a team of students from Code Club won the design competition for the official codeclub.org t-shirt; also in 2019 a team of students were finalists in a national competition and got to present their work at the University of Surrey.
Retro LAN Gaming club started in 2019 where students from KS4 get to explore older LAN games on a small network created in the classroom. This small but growing club allows students to understand basic networking and hardware while playing older games their peers are not familiar with.