Over the last eighty years computers have gone from being a theoretical concept discussed by mathematicians to an integral part of our lives. During this time much has changed in how we use computers but the basic principles behind them have remained the same.
The focus at Camp Hill Boys is very much along these principles. We do not aim for our students to simply become users of software (though they will acquire these skills in computing lessons and in other subjects throughout their time at the school). We want them to leave the school able to understand the technology they use, where necessary adapt it, or even produce their own. Our hope is with these skills whatever direction they take, they are prepared to lead the way in their use of computing technology.
In addition to curricular study, we encourage as many boys as possible to take part in competitions including First Lego League, Bebras, TCS Oxford, CyberDiscovery, the Braben Cup and the British Informatics Olympiad.
Year 7 focuses on ensuring students are confident using most common applications. Students also look at the history of the development of computers and start learning the basics of programming using Scratch.
Year 7 topics include:
- Types of Graphics
- Spreadsheet Software
- Programming in Scratch
- History of Computers
In Year 8 pupils look at how websites are coded and the techniques behind this. They begin learning to program in the Python programming language. They also look at how to customise applications to design solutions for other people’s problems.
Year 8 topics include:
- Coding websites in HTML/CSS
- Introduction to Programming in Python
- Building customised spreadsheets
- Group Project: Interactive E-Safety Website
Students in Year 9 look at how computers work in terms of the hardware and logic inside them. They develop their programming further: introducing additional data structures, graphical user interfaces, object oriented programming and common algorithms.
Year 9 topics include:
- Relational Databases:
- Hardware, Software and Logic
- Search Algorithms
- Algorithms and Data Structures
We offer GCSE Computer Science, following the new (2020) OCR J277 qualification.
This covers a range of topics including:
- CPU hardware
- Memory and storage
- System security
- Common algorithms
- Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns
- High-level programming techniques (taught through the Python language)
Assessment is through two 90 minute exams.
If familiar with the previous J276 specification then this course is very similar but the programming project has instead been replaced with a greater emphasis on assessing programming skills through examination questions. A few minor theory topics have been removed to 'make space' in the examinations for this.
A further change is the introduction of a formal 'reference language' to be used in answering examination questions, although a high level language (such as Python) may also be used.
—Y10 student 2020-21
Studying GCE Computer Science has many benefits. It is one of the most interesting and dynamic subjects. It's not just problem solving and challenges, but also learning about the architecture behind computers and the way we get them to function. Additionally, skills you learn in this course can be used in a wide range of professions beyond school.
GCSE (current y11 2020-21 only)
Both courses are very similar but the outgoing course differs in requiring all students to spend a minimum of 20 hours of timetabled time working on a programming project from a choice of three provided by the exam board. This project work is not formally assessed but provides an opportunity to independently develop programming skills that are not just useful in their own right but also necessary to answer written exam questions.
There are other slight differences in how the course is structured, but the knowledge base (and skills required) remain the same.
The J276 course permits the use of 'pseudocode' in the answering of any exam questions, while the newer course offers new alternatives.
We offer Computer Science at A-Level, following the OCR Computer Science A-Level Specification (H446). The course focuses on honing students computational thinking skills and giving them an in depth understanding of how different technologies work. It covers topics such as:
- High-level programming (including object-oriented)
- Low-level programming (using Little Man Computer)
- How the CPU works
- Algorithms (sorting data, searching data and finding the shortest route)
During the course students will be required to code a system for real users. They demonstrate this through a project (20% of the A level), which can be written in any appropriate high-level language. The majority of the assessment is based on two 150 minute exams covering computing theory and computational thinking.