Computer Science is the study of the principles and use of computers. It is an exciting subject, which tends to follow the latest technology from apps to smart watches to biometrics and cryptography. The topics covered are diverse from algorithmic problem solving and programming to web design as well as the ethical implications of modern technology and cybercrime.
Computer Science encourages independent thinking and creativity in students as they are required to find their individual solutions to a problem. As a result, the subject builds up invaluable problem-solving skills and teaches students to ‘think outside the box’. Computer Science is a practical subject which encourages learning by trial and error, which is a fun and engaging way to learn.
Computer Science is a compulsory subject in the lower school. Girls are taught for one hour each week in our dedicated ICT suite. Beyond this, the girls are given the option of following the subject at GCSE and A Level.
Teaching in the Lower School focuses on the teaching of problem solving and independent thinking skills using a variety of programming languages. In their first year, students learn to use basic programming concepts such as loops and selection in the block-based programming language Scratch. Students then progress to programming in textual languages such as Small Basic and Visual Basic. Web Design and the concept of a markup language will be introduced using HTML, CSS and basic Java Script commands. Hardware and data representation (use of binary and hexadecimal numbers) will be introduced alongside with other topics such as sound, image representation and colour.
E-Safety and the responsible use of technology is crucial in our age of rapidly evolving technology. E-Safety will be covered extensively when students enter the school and refresher lessons are an integral part of the Computer Science curriculum for each year group.
ICT skills are also taught alongside of programming and coding. Students will be given the opportunity to become proficient users of Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word. Students will be acquire data handling skills through the creation of spreadsheet models in Microsoft Excel and the creation of flat file databases in Microsoft Access. Students will also learn how to interrogate data structures for a given purpose and consider the appropriate presentation of their results.
IGCSE Computer Science
The IGCSE course develops students’ understanding of the main principles of problem solving using computers. Students develop computer-based solutions to problems using algorithms and a high-level programming language, thus applying this understanding. In addition to acquiring a range of technical skills, students will learn how to effectively test and evaluate computing solutions. The specification encourages students to appreciate current and emerging computing technologies, the benefits of their use and recognise their potential risks.
A Level Computer Science:
The A-Level course is an exciting study of modern technology. Students will learn how to program by writing their own code in Visual Basic and how to develop their own solutions to problems. They will also be introduced to the concept of object-orientation, which is one of the central ideas of modern programming. This will help them to develop a range of technical skills, as well as the ability to test their solution effectively and the ability to evaluate their work. Students will study a number of current and emerging computer technologies and the benefits of their use. They will also learn about ethical issues and potential risks of using computers through discussing viruses, spyware and identity theft.