ICT and Business

Key Stage 4: GCSE Computer Science

Why study Computer Science?

Like it or not you’re living in it – this is the Digital Age. Computer programmes have all but infiltrated every aspect of our lives. Computer scientists theorise, design, develop, and apply the software and hardware for the programmes we use day in day out. Every industry uses computers so naturally computer scientists can work in any. Problems in science, engineering, health care, and so many other areas can be solved by computers. It’s up to the computer scientist to figure out how, and design the software to apply the solution. This fairly new GCSE course offers you the opportunity to to develop computational thinking skills built on a sound base of conceptual learning and understanding.

What will I study?

The fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation. You will also study how to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs.

What happens in lessons?

Year 10 will consist of completing Unit 1 and Unit 2 where you will study theory based lessons combined with practical application. Topics covered in Unit 1 Computer Systems include:

  • Memory and Storage
  • Wired and wireless networks
  • Network topologies, protocols and layers
  • System security and System software
  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

Topics covered in Unit 2 Computational thinking, algorithms and programming include:

  • Programming techniques and algorithms
  • Producing robust programs
  • Computational logic
  • Translators and facilities of languages
  • Data representation

Year 11 will mostly consist of a mixture of revision lessons for Unit 1 and Unit 2 but Unit 3 will also be introduced at the beginning of Year 11 which consists of using a selected programming language (usually Python) to carry out the following tasks::

  • Programming techniques
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing and evaluation and conclusions

How will I be assessed?

There are 3 assessed Units of work in this qualification, all are assessed in the second year of the course. Unit 1 Computer Systems is assessed through an external written examination which is 90 minutes long and taken at the end of year 11 and is weighted at 40% of the overall GCSE qualification. Unit 2 Computational thinking, algorithms and programming is assessed through an external written examination which is 90 minutes long and also taken at the end of year 11, again it is weighted at 40% of the overall GCSE qualification. Unit 3 programming project is assessed in controlled conditions internally within school, pupils have 20 hours in which to complete the project in the chosen programming language (usually Python), this unit is weighted at 20% of the overall GCSE qualification.

What skills will I need?

  • Be able to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
  • Understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.
  • Understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society
  • Apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science.

Key Stage 4: Level 2 CiDA (Certificate in Digital Applications)

Why study CiDA?

This is a new course that puts emphasis on the practical application of digital applications. It is a single award course that covers two units (one project brief 75% and one practical exam on the computer-which is 2.5 hours long- 25%).

You will learn to present work of a high standard and quality in all subjects and assist you immensely in all future career options. The course can also lead students to ‘A’ levels in ICT and other computer related subjects such as Computer Science at college and beyond.

What will I study?

The Level 2 Certificate in Digital Applications comprises of two units:

In unit 1, you will study the  increasingly significant role of the world wide web in everyday life. It develops the skills and knowledge needed to produce effective web authoring and evaluation skills.

Unit 2 requires students to design, build, test and evaluate multimedia products using a variety of assets such as video, sound, images and text.

What happens in lessons?

Year 10 will consist of completing Unit 2 where you will Design multimedia products, Collect, edit and create digital assets, Develop multimedia products, Present evidence in an eportfolio and Review the products. (75% project brief).

Year 11 will mostly consist of a mixture of practical and theory based lessons that will enable you to use web authoring and other software to create a web product for a specified audience and purpose, using a client brief. (25% practical exam).

How will I be assessed?

Unit 1 is assessed at the end of year 11 where will be marks awarded for:

  • Creating a web product that demonstrates good awareness of audience and purpose.
  • Creating a site structure.
  • Using a consistent layout and design.
  • Creating a web product that presents content in an effective way
  • Using appropriate accessibility features
  • Selecting and using content appropriately
  • Meeting the coding requirements in the client brief
  • Evaluating the web product that has been produced.

Unit 1 is assessed by a practical computer-based examination. The assessment will be available for a 5-day assessment window in January and June each year. The examination will last 2 hours and 30 minutes. The total number of marks available is 50. This is worth 25% of the overall qualification.

Unit 2 is internally assessed under controlled conditions. This will be completed in year 10 of the course, and the total number of marks available is 33. This is worth 75% of the overall qualification.

What skills will I need?

You will need the desire to develop the capacity for imaginative, innovative thinking, creativity and independent learning, along with the ability to think critically about how target audience needs are met and used in the real world. During this course you will complete a series of practical tasks, testing both application of skills and understanding of digital applications.

Key Stage 4: GCSE Business and Communication Systems

Why study Business and Communication Systems?

This engaging course focuses on current and emerging communication systems technology. It allows students to explore and suggest improvements to communication systems within a business environment. It also allows students to gain an insight into all aspects of business, from formation to management and finance.

What will I study?

Students will study three different units:

A266: in this unit students explore the different methods of communication used by business organisations. Pupils investigate the features of the communication systems used. Recommendations are made based upon the research carried out.

A267: in this unit students explore the use of different office software. Students will study the main office software such as Databases, Spreadsheets and Desktop Publishing. Students will develop their understanding of how each software is used.

A265: in this unit students develop and apply their knowledge, understanding and skills to contemporary issues in a range of contexts. Students will be introduced to communication systems and the business context within which they operate.

What happens in lessons?

Lessons comprise of various activities, from research to software use and analysis. Real world scenarios are used in lessons to allow pupils to relate to the topics taught.

For further information contact: Mr A Khan Head of Business Studies

How will I be assessed?

The course is broken into three assessed units.

  • Unit A265: is a written examination and it is sat in May/June in year 11. This unit is worth 50% of the GCSE. The majority of the students’ time is dedicated to preparing for this examination.
  • Unit A266: is a controlled assignment task worth 25% of the GCSE. It is broken into seven tasks. The total number of marks available for this unit is 60. This unit is completed in year 10. Students have a total of 10 hours research time and 5 hours to write their assignment.
  • Unit A267: is a practical examination which is sat in May/June in year 11. This unit is also worth 25% of the GCSE. The total number of marks available on this unit is 60 marks. Students prepare for this unit in year 11.

What skills will I need?

Students should be competent in the use of ICT systems. An interest in the field of business is also desirable. Good communication, research and critical thinking are also essential qualities in order to be successful.