Head of Department

Mr D J FutcherBSc, QTS

Becoming literate in how the technical world works is equivalent to reading, writing and maths. We need to look at this fourth literacy as mainstream. If you don’t really understand how the digital world functions you’re really living in a world where you don’t have the creative and innovation skills that are going to be needed in the future economy.

Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation

Digital Literacy (Fourth Form)

The digital literacy course has two main objectives. Firstly to develop pupils’ knowledge, understanding, skills, and behaviours when using digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs and secondly, to introduce them to some key principles of computing and computer science in preparation for GCSE.

Pupils have one Digital Literacy lesson a week and through the course of the year they study the following topics:

  • Digital Literacy (e-safety, health & safety, digital footprints, online research)
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Databases and data representation
  • Programming & Problem solving

The topic base is a broad one and by the end of the course students have a solid foundation of knowledge and are prepared for using technology in their working and personal lives and in particular continuing Computer-based studies at a higher level.

GCSE Computing (FIFTH Form)

At GCSE we follow the Edexcel Computer Science course. This enables pupils to apply “computational thinking” in context and has a significant practical programming element as well as theoretical. It builds pupils’ ability to think computationally, discovering how computers can be used to solve problems and prepares them for real-world challenges and opportunities. 

The qualification is divided into 3 key components:

1) Principles of Computer Science – theoretical knowledge

2) Application of Computational Thinking – problem solving using computers

3) Computer Science Project (non assessed) – a significant programming project

Components 1 and 2 are examined and component 3 is a non-examined supervised assessment.

The main topics include looking at how computers store and process Data, how computer systems are constructed, developing an understanding of communication and internet protocols and ‘bigger picture’ issues such as legal, ethical and environmental considerations. All of this is wrapped up by teaching problem-solving techniques and high-level text-based programming using Python,

The course in general is stimulating, academically challenging and very relevant to our connected and technology-dependent world.

A-Level Computing (Sixth Form)

Depending upon previous experience and interest we can offer an A-Level in Computer Science in the Sixth Form. This course (new for 2018) builds upon the technical foundations of GCSE and looks in greater depth at how computers work, how best to program them and also touches upon very contemporary issues such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Pupils interested in this course should seek an initial conversation with the Head of Department.