In Year 9 and upwards, students receive 4 sessions of Computing or ICT per fortnight. Students who choose computer science follow the OCR Computer science course, whilst students who choose ICT as their applied learning option take the Cambridge Nationals in Information technologies, equivalent to one GCSEs. Students have access to the virtual learning environment (firefly). This system is available from home and school from any computer that is connected to the Internet.
Both pathways are assessed through a combination of set assignments/coursework and exam assessments.
Both pathways are applied learning courses, where students have the opportunity to understand how computing and ICT works in real world working environments.
Computer Science GCSE
Why study Computer Science?
The course gives you an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. It will give you an insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, including computer programming, which many students find absorbing. The course provides excellent preparation for further study and employment in the field of computer science.
The course will develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming, giving you a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-to-day life. An ideal Computer Science student should be able to think outside the box, be an independent learner, and have good ICT and mathematical skills. If you want to study or work in areas that rely on these skills, especially where they are applied to technical problems, such as areas like engineering, financial and resource management, science and medicine, then this is the course for you.
What will students study?
The specification covers the following topics:
- Computer Systems
- Computational thinking, Algorithms and programming
- Programming project
How is the course assessed?
1. Written Examination on computer systems (J276/01) (1 hour 30 minutes; 80 marks; Weighting: 40%)
The written exam is designed to test students’ understanding of various topics related to computer systems.
2. Written Examination on Computational thinking, Algorithms and programming (J276/02) (1 hour 30 minutes, 80 marks; weighting: 40%)
A written exam to test student’s understanding on the following topics:
- Translators and facilities of languages
- High- and low-level programming
- Computational logic
- Data representation
3. Programming Project (J276/03/04) (20 hours, 40 marks; weighting: 20%)
The programming project is a computing task, chosen from a list provided by OCR, which assesses the following: programming techniques, design, development, effectiveness and efficiency, technical understanding, testing, evaluation and conclusions. There are multiple tasks to choose from – but students must complete all three questions from the same overall task. Students can use any language they like, as long as they can complete the task. The controlled assessment is intended to take 20 hours and will be carried out under controlled conditions without access to the internet.
Link to exam board website:
ICT level 2 Cambridge National Certificate -YEAR 10-11
What will students study?
You will study two core units as shown below:
Unit R001: Understanding Computer Systems
Unit R002: Using ICT to create business solutions
Students also study two additional specialist units below:
R003. Handling Data using Spreadsheets
R006. Creating digital images
How is the course assessed?
This course will be assessed through a combination of written exam and production of portfolios for individual controlled assessment units, based upon a variety of different assignments as set by the exam board. This will include case studies research, work-based assessments, along with projects, performance observation and timed assessments.
Four units are taken by students, with two being mandatory and two specialist options.
Unit R001: Understanding Computer Systems (written paper, externally set and marked, 1 hour, 60 marks; Learners answer all questions)
In unit R001 learners will study the computer system on which applications software sits and consider the implications of working with data to create content.
Unit R002: Using ICT to create business solutions (centre assessed tasks, externally moderated, 10 hours approx., 60 marks)
In unit R002 they will work with ‘office’ applications software to edit and format/create content to meet specified business purposes.
R003: Handling Data using Spreadsheets (Approx. 10 hours – 60 marks)
This unit will help the learner to process and present data into meaningful information that can be used to support the decision-making process in real life scenarios.
R006: Creating digital images (Approx. 10 hours – 60 marks)
This unit will enable learners to acquire the underpinning knowledge and skills to enable them to create, edit, enhance and save different types of digital images as we live, learn, work and play in a very visual world.
Each unit will be graded as Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*.
Link to exam board website: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/cambridge-nationals-ict-level-1-2-j800-j810-j820/
OCR Level 1/2 Cambridge National Certificate in Information Technologies -Year 9
Launching for first teaching September 2017, the new Cambridge National Level 1/2 Certificate in Information Technologies qualification has been re-drafted and will allow students to achieve their potential and progress to the next stage of their lives, whether it be Further Education, an apprenticeship or employment.
This qualification will teach the learner what different technology could be used, why they should use it and how to make best use of it, to gather, store, manipulate and present data; this is known as data management.
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.
They will also be taught what data and information are and the legal and moral considerations when using technology to gather, store and present data and information, and how to mitigate the risks of cyber-attacks.
Through this qualification they will be able to select and use the most appropriate technology safely and effectively, to complete a data management task, such as a cable TV provider monitoring customers’ viewing to make recommendations for additional packages in the customer’s subscription.
They will also learn to follow a project life-cycle of initiation, planning, execution and evaluation to complete a data management task and use their skills, knowledge and understanding of technology to complete each of the stages of the project life-cycle.
What will students study?
This qualification is 120 Guided Learning Hours, and is equivalent to a GCSE in both size and rigour. It will fit into a study programme at Key Stage 4. There is one centre assessed unit offering practical task-based assessment opportunities, alongside the examined unit of assessment, which contains underpinning knowledge and understanding.
There are two units of assessment. Learners must complete both units of assessment to achieve the qualification :
Assessment unit R012 is assessed by an exam and marked by the exam board
Understanding tools, techniques, methods and processes for technological solutions
Learners will sit an exam to assess their knowledge and understanding of different technologies (hardware and software applications), and tools and techniques used to select, store, manipulate and present data and information (e.g. using formulae to link data sets).
They will also be assessed on the stages of a project life cycle and the methods and processes that can be used to complete each of these which, combined with their understanding of information technologies, will prepare them for developing technological solutions.
They will need to understand the legal, moral, ethical, and security issues that can impact on collecting, storing and using data, and also the different risks associated with data and storage and how these can be mitigated.
This knowledge and understanding will help them to make decisions and appropriate choices when developing a technological solution, which they will be asked to do in the practical assignment.
Assessment Unit R013 – Developing technological solutions
This assessment focuses on how effectively learners use their skills when developing a technological solution.
Learners will be given a project to develop a technological solution that processes data and communicates information.
They will follow the project life cycle stages of initiation/planning, execution, communication and evaluation, demonstrating the practical skills they have acquired such as carrying out SWOT analyses, creating GANTT charts, developing online surveys, or presenting data through web-based technologies; keeping their project on track through on-going, iterative reviews.
Learners will use different hardware and software technologies to interrogate and model data to create, integrate and format a technological solution for data/information processing and communication.
Assessment unit R013 is marked by the centre and moderated by the exam board.
All results are awarded on the following scale:
Level 2 – Distinction* (*2), Distinction (D2), Merit (M2), Pass (P2)
Link to exam board website: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/by-type/cambridge-nationals/