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Charles Darwin School

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Information Technology

Course Overview

Information Technology [IT]  is delivered across all three key stages and remains a popular exam subject at both KS4 and KS5. Students have access to a wide range of industry standard software, an allocated user area and a school email account. The aim of the IT department is to “provide all students with a positive learning experience in IT and equip them with the knowledge and understanding they need in the future”.


Year 7 IT
In year 7, IT is taught as a discrete subject encompassing Computing, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Digital Literacy. We take students’ e-safety seriously and we deliver a scheme of work which is supported by the British Computer Society e-safety curriculum. This provides students with an understanding about the positive and negative impacts of communicating online, how to use ICT sensibly, what acceptable use is and where to access help if they feel they need it. The year 7 IT curriculum also runs along-side Charles Darwin School’s whole-school e-safety policy activities to ensure a consistent message is being delivered to students. During lessons students will be introduced to the fundamentals of computing and computer programming to enable them to create simple commands using both text based and graphic based languages. ICT will be used to enhance and support these computing activities as well as enabling students to develop their analytical and evaluative skills and understanding their use of IT against real-life examples and scenarios.

Year 8 IT
In year 8, IT is taught as a discrete subject and students carry out scenario based activities where they can extend on their previous knowledge and experience of IT, developing and creating robust examples that clearly demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how and where ICT can be applied to resolve problems.

Students will build upon the computing and ICT knowledge that they have gained in Year 7, experimenting with the planning, design and testing of more complex code and using advanced features of software to meet the needs of a given scenario.


GCSE COURSES 
GCSE courses are completed during years 9 – 11. The ICT department offers students two opportunities to gain an IT qualification either through a traditional GCSE ICT or via a GCSE Computing Science course.

The GCSE IT course enables students to complete a foundation year which introduces them to the key ICT terminology, technology and devices they will need to understand in subsequent years. Students complete a set of controlled conditions coursework tasks in which they are able to demonstrate their understanding of how software can be used to meet the needs of a given client and then build on their theory gained in year 9 so that they are able to demonstrate an understanding of the use of ICT through external assessment.

The GCSE Computing Science course enables students to complete a foundation year which introduces them to new IT and computer system terminology, and basic elements of design and development using computer programming that they will need to understand in subsequent years. The subsequent years of the course will see students will complete sections on computer systems, computational thinking, algorithms and programming and complete a programming project. They will undergo two external assessments to demonstrate their theoretical understanding and one internal assessment to test their practical ability to design, create and test a programme meeting a given set of requirements.

A Level ICT

Students are able to gain a level 3 IT qualification via a traditional GCE A Level ICT or the vocational
BTEC IT course.  These courses are supported by experienced staff that provide strong subject knowledge and a variety of teaching methods to engage and facilitate learning.

Year 7 topics

  • Understanding e-safety
  • Using computer software effectively
  • Introduction to computing and programming
  • Introduction to spreadsheet modelling
  • Introduction to web design and creation


Year 8 topics

  • Exploring e-safety
  • Intermediate computing and programming
  • Managing data using databases
  • Designing and creating webpages
  • Using software to present information


GCSE Courses

  • GCSE ICT – Personal digital devices, Connectivity, Online goods and services, Online communities
  • GCSE Computer Science – Computer systems and programming, Practical investigation, programming project.


A level Courses

  • GCE- Information systems and applications, Structured ICT tasks, ICT systems, Applications and implications, ICT project.
  • BTEC - Communication and Employability Skills for IT, Computer Systems, Advanced Database Skills, Advanced spreadsheet Skills, Computer animation
     

Why choose the subject? 

  • Learn to use a wide range of industry standard software.
  • Learn to choose appropriate software and hardware
  • Understand how IT can be used to solve problems
  • Understand how the technology you use every day works
  • Develop your programming skills
  • Develop your design skills

Common Questions 

Q.  In which year do I start to learn ICT?
A.  The ICT curriculum starts in year 7 where you will be taught IT for 1 lesson per week. Students will have ICT for 1 lesson per week in year 8 and IT is then an option choice for students in year 9.

Q.  Will I be able to do some programming?
A.  Basic programming is introduced in year 7 and 8. You can then choose GCSE Computing as an option subject for year 9-11 study. There are also additional clubs or activities which will enable you to further develop your programming skills.

Q.  Do I need to have special equipment?
A.  It is certainly useful, but not essential to have a computer at home. You will be set a combination of computer based and written home work. The IT department has computers which are available for the completion of homework during lunch break or after school. A flash drive or memory stick could be useful to transfer work between home and school, as long as it is backed up.

Q.  Will there be IT trips available?
A.  We are always looking to enrich the ICT curriculum. Trips are organised which are specific to the topic or course you are studying. Trips have included: Intel Super Academy, The Digital Summer, The Big Hitter’s conference

Who will teach me? 

Miss Edwards, Mr Simpson, Mr Tracy, Mr Duffy

Useful Links, apps and magazines 

Links

The Guardian: Technology
The Times: Technology
The Telegraph: Technology
BBC Bitesize
Teach-ICT
How Stuff Works: Tech
Think U Know: 11-16
Code Academy
Scratch
SamLearning
Show My Homework

Apps

ICT GCSE revision 

ICT Quiz

ICT Revision GCSE (AE Productions)

GCSE Computing (Darren Smith)

Edexcel- Past papers

Magazines

How IT Works
BBC Focus