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Computing

NTS has five dedicated rooms each with 32 desktop PCs. In addition there are over 150 PCs in department areas for subject specialist use, including suites in Business, Art, Music, Technology and the Learning Support Department.

Classrooms have interactive whiteboards and all teachers have laptops. There is a set of 46 netbooks (small laptops) that are delivered to classrooms which are used for internet access and ICT work by all curriculum areas.

Computing and ICT in the Curriculum

Year 7 (One hour per week)

After an initial foundation project, which is used to facilitate the transition from Primary school to Secondary School, pupils work on a series of projects based on the new Computing curriculum including basic algorithms, flowcharting using Draw.IO, spreadsheet skills, ozobots and programming in Scratch. Over the course of the year they are also taught basic skills in common Office applications including Word. Pupils study eSafety too.

Year 8 (One hour per week)

Year 8 builds on the skills and techniques taught in year 7 and introduces a range of new applications. Pupils learn new features of each application and are encouraged to develop their independence, design skills and problem-solving capability in addition to widening their experience of programming skills and online safety techniques. New programming challenges are introduced in Small Basic and VB.Net, and pupils use Excel functions and formula in an applied project.

Year 9 (One hour per week)

The focus of this year is programme development where pupils use the knowledge and programming skills from earlier years to design more complex and robust programs using text-based programming languages to solve problems. There is also an element of eSafety. Pupils apply the core programming constructs of iteration, assignment and selection to produce complex programs so that they can make an informed decision about studying GCSE Computer Science.

Year 10 and Year 11 (Three hours per week)

Pupils follow the AQA GCSE Computer Science course. During Year 10, pupils study all of the theory pertaining to GCSE Computer Science and they are regularly tested and assessed. They implement the three core algorithms in a range of circumstances so that they become confident programmers. They re-visit all of the theory again in Year 11 to consolidate and develop their knowledge whilst coding a solution to the exam board’s annually-set project. We believe the practical programming aspect of this course to be of absolute importance, despite the qualification resting on the strength of two written exams; we shall continue to prepare our pupils as practical and self-reliant programmers ready for further challenges.

A Level Computing (Five hours per week)

Students learn a range of programming techniques and data structures and are introduced to a number of programming languages. Students complete a programming project to solve a “real-life” problem, which makes up 20% of the assessment. There are two external exams, the first of which is a screen-based exam of short answer questions, plus a programming challenge based on previously-analysed skeleton code. The second paper tests the candidate’s knowledge and understanding through a series of short and extended answer questions. Students get their teeth into Reverse Polish Notation, Boolean algebra, finite state machines, trees, stacks and graphs, and computer architecture. A large percentage of our students go on to study Computing at university or take up a degree-level apprenticeship. Some students have studied Oxbridge Computing degrees and we are proud of the number of female students we have supported over the years too.