STM is classified and recognised as a “Lead School” by the British Computer Society (the Chartered Institute for IT) for its teaching excellence in Computer Science.
Pupils have access to a wide range of software including Microsoft Office, programming languages such as Python, VB and SmallBasic plus many other specialist bespoke software. All of our pupil’s tasks, resources and work can be accessed from home. We have full time technical support from our ICT Network Manager and ICT Technician.
Pupils have discrete Computing lessons throughout years 7 and 8. Critical areas such as e-Safety are covered each year. In addition to this, Year 7 topics include spreadsheets, programming micro-bit devices, the use of advanced and alternative presentation skills and a block programming project. In Year 8, we progress to text based Coding, animation, sound editing and 3D game design. Both specialist and non-specialist teaching staff deliver the Key Stage 3 curriculum whereas key stage 4 is delivered exclusively by specialists using a wide range of software, resources and equipment. In this way, we aim to offer a curriculum that is as broad as possible in order to maximise the opportunity for pupils to learn both IT pathways viz. Computing and Digital Literacy as per the Computer Science curriculum.
Pupils have the option of following either or both Computer Science and IT courses.
Our GCSE Computer Science course gets pupils working with real-world, practical programming techniques that give them a good understanding of what makes technology work.
The qualification is split into three components:
• Computational thinking and problem solving
• Written assessment
• Programming project
The first two components are tested through a written exam each worth 50% of the GCSE overall grade.
Whilst the third component does not carry any marks for the GCSE, it is nevertheless an extremely useful element of the course to teach and test pupils about the essentials of coding
Our chosen ICT course is the Cambridge Nationals Level Information Technologies Level 1/2 Certificate (J808)
This qualification helps pupils develop their knowledge of current and emerging technologies, a range of ICT tools and techniques and society's use of ICT.
This qualification will teach the learner what different technologies could be used, why they should use them and how to make best use of them to gather, store, manipulate and present data. They will learn about tools and techniques for use in different digital hardware and software technologies, and how these can be integrated to create digital solutions to manage and communicate data and information.
It is split into two components each worth 50% of the qualification:
Unit R012 – A written exam focusing on understanding tools, techniques, methods and processes for technological solutions.
Unit R013 – Developing technological solutions – a practical project involving a real-life scenarios designed to test logical thinking skills, project management and software deployment
Coding at Home
An excellent game making program developed by MIT in America. It is graphic based interface to building games but more importantly provides an excellent and intuitive introduction to programming and is completely free of charge
Small Basic is a free programming language from Microsoft that is well supported and an excellent language to start coding with.
Python is the number 1 high level teaching language in UK schools and is extremely well supported. It is free to download and provides an excellent platform to develop higher level programming skills.
A site full of resources and tutorials on learning how to code in lots of different languages for all ages
Download Scratch, Small Basic and Python at home and set yourself challenges to make different programs – practice makes perfect.
Learning how to program computers is entirely different to other subjects. It’s ok to look at other people’s work to see how other people have solved problems – it’s a good way of learning techniques you can reuse.
Documenting code gives you more marks than the code itself as it shows the examiner you understand what you are doing. Exam boards are not concerned if your code does not work – they are more concerned about your thinking skills so don’t fall into the trap of thinking working code gets you full marks – it doesn’t!