Computer Science

John Mason School is a Computing at School Lead School, recognising that we have a broad and balanced curriculum for Computing, and that we support other schools in developing Computing and Computer Science within the Curriculum.

Within the Computer Science, Digital Skills and IT Faculty, we offer students an opportunity to study several subjects in depth:

  • Computing at Key Stage 3
  • Computer Science at Key Stage 4 (GCSE) and Key Stage 5 (A-Level)
  • Digital Information Technologies at Key Stage 4 (BTEC)

These subjects fit together well in the sense that together they represent a set of human activities which have evolved together over the last fifty years or so.  Clearly, technology has changed out of all recognition, affecting all our lives, while at the same time having a huge impact on the way in which business and commerce operate.  In order to do well, students must be willing to experiment, to try out new technologies with enthusiasm, to push the boundaries which using programs and to think, “What if I….?”

Throughout all years, students are expected to manage their work electronically, using Google Suite for Education and Google Classroom, and take a high level of responsibility for their own learning.

What are the subjects?

Computer Science looks at how computers work and how they can be programmed to solve problems.  Digital Information Technologies is the digital skills element; the study of how to make use of computers, employing technology as a tool to solve problems and create products that meet specific requirements.

For those students with the necessary aptitude and interest, we also offer Computer Science at A-Level.

The experience provided within the Faculty ensures that students develop the necessary skills to work with technology effectively, both at home and in the workplace, as critical and educated users. They also gain the knowledge and skills to operate successfully within the commercial sector.

At John Mason School, we offer all students the opportunity to study Computing – which includes Computer Science, Digital Skills and IT – during Key Stage 3 through a stimulating curriculum taught in mixed ability groups.  This is intended to cover the new curriculum which came into effect in September 2014 and provides an effective basis for students to make an educated choice in Year 8 on whether they would like to study GCSE Computer Science or BTEC Digital Information Technologies in Years 9, 10 and 11.

Year 7

  • Computing@JMS
  • Under the Bonnet
  • Keeping Safe in the digital world
  • Computational Thinking using Scratch
  • Introduction to Spreadsheet Modelling
  • Introduction to Digital Graphics

Year 8

  • Advanced Computational Thinking using Scratch
  • Ciphers & Encryption: Crack the Code
  • Introduction to Video Editing
  • Advanced Spreadsheet Modelling
  • Impact of technology on Society

BTEC Digital Information Technologies

This course consists of three components:

Component 1: Exploring interface design, principles and project planning techniques.

During this component, students explore user interface design and development principles, investigate how to use project planning techniques to manage a digital project, discover how to develop and review a digital user interface.

This component is assessed internally within school and is worth 30% of the course.

Component 2: Collecting, presenting and interpreting data

During this component, students explore how data impacts on individuals and organisations, draw conclusions and make recommendations on data intelligence and develop a dashboard using data manipulation tools.

This component is assessed internally within school and is worth 30% of the course.

Component 3: Effective Digital Working Practices.

During this component, students explore how modern information technology is evolving, consider legal and ethical issues in data and information sharing and understand what cyber security is and how to safeguard against it.

This component is assessed by an external exam and is worth 40% of the course.

GCSE Computer Science is a demanding course which is suitable for students who are interested in how computers work, and how to program a computer to perform a specific task.  It develops “Computational Thinking” – how to solve problems in logical way, an excellent skill for today’s employment market.

The course is made up of the following subject content:

  1. Fundamentals of Algorithms
  2. Programming
  3. Fundamentals of Data Representation
  4. Computer Systems
  5. Fundamentals of Computer Networks
  6. Cybersecurity
  7. Relational databases and structured query language (SQL)
  8. Ethical, Legal and Environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy.

This course is examined through two exam papers at the end of Year 11.

AQA A-Level Computer Science

Computer Science is increasingly popular at A-Level and in higher education.  The course encourages learners to develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of Computer Science and how computer programs work in a range of contexts.

The course is made up of the following subject content:

  1. Fundamentals of Programming
  2. Fundamentals of Data Structures
  3. Systematic approach to problem solving
  4. Theory of Computation
  5. Fundamentals of Data Representation
  6. Fundamentals of Computer Systems
  7. Fundamentals of Computer Organisation and Architecture
  8. Consequences of uses of Computing
  9. Fundamentals of Communication and Networking
  10. Fundamentals of Databases
  11. Big Data
  12. Fundamentals of Functional Programming

The course also includes a Non-Exam Assessment which takes the form of a practical project, either programming or investigative, which is worth 20% of the A Level. The subject content of the course is examined through two exam papers at the end of Year 13.

Director: Mrs G Green, Contact Details: gillian.green@johnmason.oxon.sch.uk

Teachers in this Faculty: Mrs M Canning