Department: Computing

Head of subject: Mr P Macaree

If you wish to learn more about the curriculum, please contact the Head of Department by email: ­­­­

The Computer Science Department at Oaklands aims to provide students with an understanding of the principles and concepts of Computer Science and encourages the development of the skills of Computational Thinking. This enables students to develop the resilience, confidence and creativity to analyse problems in computational terms and the practical experience and satisfaction of writing and applying programs in order to solve such problems.

Students are encouraged to evaluate and apply information technology analytically to solve problems, including new and unfamiliar technologies.#

Our teaching of Computer Science is much more than just the learning of ‘coding’, but develops in students the competency in ‘computational thinking’ which are the thought processes involved in formulating problems and expressing solutions in such a way that a computer, human or machine, may carry out. This provides students with a broad range of Digital Literacy skills to enable them to be effective users of technology in our increasingly technical world, and a solid understanding of the principles behind technology and Computer Science.

Our Computer Science curriculum is ambitious because:

  • Our curriculum develops practical experience of learning and applying the skills of Computational Thinking to Computing scenarios and problem solving in class activities.
  • The breadth of practical application of skills and knowledge develops a robustness and resilience in student behaviours to improve the effectiveness of students as they learn how to overcome challenges and problems.
  • Computing is demonstrated to be a creative subject where a student’s ingenuity and attention to detail provide tangible feedback of progress and instil a positive sense of achievement in students for completing lesson activities and challenges.
  • Coding in both block-based and text-based coding languages enables students to understand the principles and building blocks behind coding and learn how to apply this expertise to building complex solutions step by step from smaller component parts.
  • Repeated application of the skills of Computational Thinking across a variety of problems and platforms encourages students to build proficiency in the component skills of Decomposition, Abstraction, Algorithmic and Logical Thinking.
  • The practical experience of applying these skills over time develops a proficiency that can be effectively applied to benefit student’s work in other subjects.
  • The learning of the principles of Computer Science develops in students a thirst for the knowledge and understanding of how complex systems can be engineered in relatively small component parts and technically complex solutions described in relatively simple terms.
  • The history of Computing is referenced wherever possible to demonstrate how rapidly technology has developed, how significantly it has impacted our world. The impact of computing on society provides a vehicle to discuss key values and virtues.
  • Students are encouraged to appreciate the increasingly rapid rate of change of technology, the emergence of new and improved capabilities and to see how individuals have the potential to be a part of these significant developments.
  • Students are encouraged to see how competence and skill in Computing has the potential to lead to a huge range of opportunity for careers, some of which have probably not been invented yet.
  • Our curriculum embraces the National Curriculum and encourages students to make the most of their strengths in the subject, whilst helping them to recognise their individual topic challenges, yet develop the resilience to be effective at all levels.
  • The integration of the Teachers’ own experience in the Computing industry with the curriculum is applied to enrich the student’s appreciation of the breadth of opportunity in following careers in Computing.
  •  We promote computing as a career to all students; particularly encouraging those who do believe computing is a potential career for them.

The department takes into account the differing levels of previous learning of Computing at KS2 and seeks to normalise all students’ experience and encourage continued growth in learning and experience of Computing for each student. Care is taken to identify and correct any misconceptions.

The curriculum for KS3 is designed to introduce new concepts gently and to re-visit, reinforce and develop further experience and understanding in each KS3 year. The PRIMM pedagogy is applied to teach the practical coding aspects of the learning to first engage the students in predicting and experiencing principles before building understanding and confidence to investigate and understand the issues before being able to apply and evaluate their understanding to the problems posed. Literacy is at the core of all aspects of Computing and the PRIMM pedagogy supports a gradual development of the required literacy skills and abilities for students and does not disadvantage or leave behind any less able students.

At KS4 the principles from KS3 are developed and studied in more detail and the students encouraged to further develop their robustness and resilience through both theory and practical assignments. An NEA practical project is completed that enables students to gain experience of the lifecycle of Computing projects in Industry and to practice and develop their problem solving skills.

At KS5 students learn a broader coverage of Computer Science topics and develop a deeper understanding. We welcome students who have not studied the subject at KS4 and work with them to help overcome any issues and build confidence in the subject.KS5 students work on a significant NEA project which is scheduled alongside their second year curriculum to gain a rich appreciation of the skills and processes required in a Computing project lifecycle.

Extra Curricular coding classes are available for all year groups to encourage the development of coding skills and to encourage creativity, particularly for those students not following Computing options.

Updated July 21