Key Stage 3

The Key Stage 3 curriculum is developed over two years with three hours of taught content per fortnight. In Year 7, students are taught in form groups, moving to mixed ability classes in year 8. Each year is broken down into six topics as detailed below.

Year 7

Autumn Term – Hello World (CS)

In this topic, students will be taught to develop basic algorithms using the CS concepts of iteration, selection, decomposition, pattern recognition and abstraction. They will build, test and debug their code using a block-based programming language.

Spring Term A – Bits and Bytes (CS)

In this topic students will be taught how and why computers represent data through binary. They will learn how to convert binary to denary and basic binary addition. This then leads on to an understanding of how data is stored on magnetic, optical and solid state media. Students also learn how binary is used to represent and communicate language, by learning how ASCII represents the alphabet.

Spring Term B – The Social Network (DL, IT)

This topic teaches students the importance of using social media in a safe way, and explores the consequences of not protecting your identity online. Students then work in small teams to design, develop and implement a video which highlights a consequence of social media and explains how to get help if it happens to you.

Summer Term A – The Global Village (CS)

Students learn the basics of HTML and CSS and use this knowledge to develop a basic website. They also learn how search engines rank pages in order to give you the most useful suggestion from your search criteria.

Summer Term B – The Internet of Things (CS)

Students study how hardware and software is combined to form a computer system. They will use this in order to explain the difference between hardware and software. Leading on from this, students will learn about the evolution of computer technology to understand how we have come to the point where embedded systems and smart devices are becoming part of our everyday lives.

Year 8

Autumn Term A – Hello Universe (CS)

In this topic the students will learn how to program in a text based programming language called Python. They will gain the necessary skills required to enter onto the GCSE Computer Science curriculum. They cover:

· Output to the user

· Storing data in variables

· Getting user input

· Calculations

· Selection with IF

· Iteration and loops (use of ‘For’ loops)

Autumn Term B – Big Data (IT)

The students will prepare a report for the head teacher on factors that affect learning. They will research their sleep patterns and clubs and draw conclusions from large data sets about the impact these things have on their learning at SWCHS. During this topic pupils will learn to use more advanced functions of Microsoft Word and Excel.

Spring Term A – Code Breakers (CS)

This topic extends the programming topic from term 1 whereby the students learn about ciphers and encryption. They will look at how encryption was used over history, including during WW2 with the Nazi Enigma machine.

Spring Term B – Cosmic City (CS)

Students will develop their understanding of how computer networks work. They will learn about the different network devices they have at home and how we are all able to connect to the Internet.

Summer Term A – User Interfaces (IT)

In this topic students will develop an understanding into the design principles for making a User Interface for software. They will then put this understanding into practice by making their own User Interface to meet a client’s specification.

Summer Term B – Ready Player One (DL)

In this topic the students learn about ethical computing. We will cover topics such as hacking, computer misuse and how to use computers safely and ethically in the 21st century.

Year 9 – Bridging Year

In Year 9 we offer Computer Science or IT as options. From now on they are taught as separate subjects, allowing pupils to select the side of Computing that appeals most to them.

Computer Science

Autumn Term A - Programming

Pupils will start with developing their skills in Python. We will build on the skills learnt in Year 8 and move on to teach the concepts in further depth, ensuring there is a lot of opportunity to practise and embed the skills that are being learnt.

Autumn Term B – Data Representation

For the theory aspect during this term we will look at data representation, this will include:

  • Binary
  • Character sets
  • Images
  • Sound

Wherever possible throughout the course we will provide programming tasks that complement the theory element that we are studying.

Spring Term A - Databases

Our theory focus for the spring term will be Databases. We will look at how relational databases work and pupils will learn to build their own fully functional database. We will mainly use Microsoft Access for this unit and pupils will learn how to set up table correctly, create forms, reports and queries.

Spring Term B – Cyber Security

During the second half of the spring term we will explore the world of cyber security. This is a fascinating area for pupils and an up and coming area of importance as our world moves more and more into online activity. We have in recent years invited a speaker to come in and give a talk to start this unit which has been greatly enjoyed by the pupils.

Summer Term A – Computer Systems

We will be looking into how computer systems work, this will include software, hardware and different types of systems and their needs. We will introduce pupils to assembly language and they will learn to code some simple programmes.

Summer Term B - Networks

During this term we will take a look at computer networks, giving pupils an introduction into the interaction that occurs between systems, the different topologies and network types, how data travels. This will tie together some of the knowledge from previous units

Information Technology

Throughout the course we will be using various software packages, pupils will learn a deeper functionality than when we have used them previously.

Autumn Term A – Interface Design

Pupils will start with Interface design. We will look at the principles behind the design of interfaces with a focus on usability and accessibility. We will then design some basic websites to show off the theory that has been learnt.

Autumn Term B – Spreadsheet Skills

This half term pupils will learn about data and data analysis. There will be a strong practical element and Spreadsheets skills will be developed enabling pupils to become secure in their use of Microsoft Excel. We will look at what a dashboard is, the purpose of it and how to collate the analysed data on to a dashboard. We will also look at spreadsheet modelling and how businesses can plan using spreadsheets.

Spring Term A – Project Management

Pupils will be introduced to project management techniques, and they will practise using the techniques, and look at some case studies of larger projects so that they can see the importance of managing projects well.

Spring Term B – Report writing

We will take a detailed look at report writing, using Microsoft Word to create professional looking reports. Pupils will learn about the more advanced features of Word and how to combine other elements into their document successfully. We will use this opportunity to revisit earlier topics from this year.

Summer Term – Skills in action!

We will use the summer term to consolidate everything that pupils have been learning about. Pupils will be working in groups to manage projects which will include the creation of products for a start-up company. This will enable them to use their project management skills in a real life situation, and revisit all of the previous skills that they have covered this year to create a suite of products.