Computer studies is the study of how to research, design, create, test and evaluate products produced for given audiences and purposes. It can also involve the manipulation, management, transformation and communication of information or data. Computer Studies is compulsory for all students throughout Years 7-9, studied for 1 hour a week. Students follow a series of modules during KS3, ranging from network familiarity to programming. In Years 10 & 11 students are able to opt to continue with IT Digital Media production, and/or Computer Science.
Key Stage 3
Students in Year 7 will study the use of popular types of application software including; Microsoft Office, Python, Multimedia software (Adobe CS5) and the correct use of The Academy network. Students use the different software types regularly during the Key Stage as part of each unit. Students will have the opportunity to study computational thinking and learning key problem solving and logical thinking skills to aid in their programming development, e-safety and creative digital media units.
Students then progress through the different Computer Science and media-based units of study throughout the Key Stage. Computer Science units include Computational thinking, flowcharts and algorithms and programming using microbits, Scratch, robotics, Python and Raspberry Pi. Creative and Digital Media units include designing and creating a comic, designing a game concept and digital graphics. The aim of these units is to prepare students for their options in Key Stage 4.
Key Stage 4
Students opt to study the BTEC Tech Award in Creative Media Production and/or GCSE Computer Science. Students following the BTEC Tech Award in Creative Media Production complete three components, two of which are coursework elements with the final component being a 9 hour controlled assessment. Component 1: Analysing Media Products allows students to understand the how and why of designing and creating media products to be suitable for specific audiences and purposes using a wide range of codes and conventions, as well as learning about media theories. Component 2: Media Skills allows students to create their own media product to meet the needs of a client brief - a highly values transferable skill. Students will learn how to use specialist software such as Adobe Photoshop, camera equipment and a wide range of editing techniques to complete this. Component 3: Meeting a client brief gives students the opportunity to demonstrate the skills aquired over both Component 1 and 2 in one large project. Having no exam in this subject may be of particular interest to many students.
Students studying Computer Science will learn about the more technical aspects of computers including, programming concepts, system architecture, hardware, software, number systems and more. Computer Science students will have two exams currently worth 50% each. Students must also complete a Non-examined Assessment Programming Project unit to provide evidence of their programming skills. This structure is due to change to include an exam in place of the Programming Project.
Key Stage 5
As part of the Sleaford Joint Sixth form, students in Years 12 & 13 have a choice of courses. A single award or a double award in the Cambridge Technical at Level 3 in Digital Media or traditional AS & A Level in Computer Science. Students in Year 13 can also choose Digital Media as one of the few subjects that offer a certificate award, this is equivalent to an AS Level.
The Cambridge Technical at Level 3 in Digital Media is mainly centre assessed coursework. The topics studied are similar to some of those studied in KS4. There are two complusary exams for single award and three for double award out of a total six units (single) or twelve units (double), students can do this course even if they have not studied the i-Media course in KS4. Single award students will complete two examined units and four controlled assessment units. Double award students complete three examined units and nine controlled assessment units. Controlled assessment units include animation, photography and comic writing.
A Level Computer Science is assessed by two exams (80%) and programming project (20%). Students will need to display an apititude towards computer programming or achieve a grade B at Key Stage 4 Computing.