Poole Grammar School, Gravel Hill, Poole, Dorset, BH17 9JU | Tel: 01202 692132 | Email: pgsoffice@poolegrammar.com
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Computer Science and IT

“Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.” 

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple

What will I learn?

Computer Science and IT are taught at Poole Grammar School. In Year 7 and 8 students will study a mixture of Computer Science and IT. Some of the IT topics include spreadsheets, word processing, databases, creating websites using HTML and building presentations. Students are taught to code and in doing so they will use Logo, Scratch, Small Basic and BBC micro: bits. In Year 9 students study for a number of Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Qualifications in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access and the more able students will have the opportunity to study to become experts in Word and Excel. MOS exams are industry recognised, standing students in good stead for the workplace. In Year 10 and 11 students can choose to study GCSE Computers Science and in the Sixth Form students can choose to study A Level Computer Science. We use AQA for all our examinations.

GCSE

What will I study?

  • Fundamentals of algorithms
  • Programming
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Computer systems
  • Fundamentals of computer networks
  • Fundamentals of cyber security
  • Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including privacy

A Level

What will I study?

  • Fundamentals of programming
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Fundamentals of algorithms
  • Theory of computation
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  • Consequences of uses of computing
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking
  • Fundamentals of databases
  • Big Data and fundamentals of functional programming
  • Systematic approach to problem solving
  • Non-exam assessment – the computing practical project

Every industry uses computers so naturally computer scientists can work in any area.  Problems in science, engineering, health care, commerce and so many other areas can be solved by computers.  It is up to the computer scientist to work out how, and design the software to apply the solution. Some potential jobs for computer scientists include:

  • Software developer
  • Games developer
  • Web developer
  • IT consultant
  • Information systems manager
  • Network engineer
  • Systems analyst
  • Database administrator

 What will I do?

CS/IT lessons are generally very practical and involve either using packages in order to improve IT skills or coding. Theory is covered using a number of different approaches and wherever possible practical activities will be used to support the work.

Will I get homework?

Homework is set according to the school’s homework timetable for each of the year groups. Homework tasks are set to consolidate learning in the classroom and to provide students with opportunities to reinforce their knowledge of the subject. Students receive one piece of homework per cycle for CS/IT in Year 7 and 8 and this is approximately 30 minutes in duration. In Year 9, students receive one piece of homework per cycle for IT which lasts about 45 minutes. At GCSE Level CS, one homework task is set per week and this lasts approximately 45 minutes to one hour. For A Level CS, homework is set most lessons and will differ in quantity and duration according to the topic studied but will often include some coding.

Homework tasks vary according to year group but often it will involve consolidating classwork and practising programming skills.

 How will I be assessed?

Year 7/8

Students in Years 7/8 are continually assessed. Every practical challenge completed is marked and feedback is given to students.

 Year 9

Students in Year 9 will sit at least five MOS exams during the year.

GCSE

Paper 1: Paper based – 1hr 30 minutes (50%)

Paper 2: Paper based – 1hr 30 minutes (50%)

A Level

Paper 1: On screen – 2hrs 30 minutes (50%)

Paper 2: Paper based – 2hrs 30 minutes (50%)

 End of Year Exams

Year 7: Summer Year 7

Year 8: Summer Year 8

GCSE CS: Summer Year 10

A Level CS: Summer Year 12

Trial Exams

GCSE CS: January Year 11

A Level CS: January Year 13

What guidance and support is available?

Students who need additional support should speak to their subject teacher in the first instance, as they are best placed to recommend additional resources and guidance. At Poole Grammar School, there is a weekly coding club which offers students the opportunity to work with CS ambassadors from the Sixth Form, if tailored support is required on a specific area. Online resources are regularly used in lessons to support learning and students in all year groups have their own user accounts to access Moodle based material at home.

What extra-curricular opportunities are available?

The CS/IT department offer all students a number of exciting opportunities. In the past these opportunities have been available:

  • All students: UK Bebras computational thinking competition
  • Year 8 students: Scratch programming competition
  • GCSE CS: robotics sessions organised by Bournemouth University
  • A Level CS:
    • British Informatics Olympiad (BIO) which is a very challenging programming competition
    • Bournemouth University visit in the Y12 Summer Term
    • Computer Science in Action Day in London