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Computer Science


Computer Science aims to develop students’ independent problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills and resilience which will allow them to be adaptable, and able to rise to the challenges of the modern digital world. The curriculum is constantly updated to keep abreast with technological advancements and their associated social changes. The syllabus has been meticulously constructed in terms of cross-curricular integration to push students beyond their subject-specific comfort zones. eSafety is taught in PSHE sessions in partnership with the department. All students study Computer Science in Years 7-9. Computer Science is available as an option subject at both GCSE and A-Level and is becoming an increasingly popular option.

Our curriculum can be found on our Bourne to Code site by clicking here.

Year 7

Students start Computer Science by using an easy to learn block based programming platform called Scratch to develop a fun virtual pet project where they learn the fundamental concepts of variables, loops, conditionals and functions. Following this, students get to know how the Internet works through understanding some of the basic but often misunderstood concepts such as search engines and web browsers. At the end of this unit, students implement a DNS (Domain Name System) simulator and a network communication simulator using Scratch. The next unit sees students work on learning HTML and CSS to build a website which will be hosted on the school’s intranet. After this, students move to learn about how data is represented on a computer. From the ones and zeros that make up all data to how to communicate that data around the world. The year finishes with students applying their programming skills and problem-solving skills to develop solutions to a wide array of problems using a mini computer called the BBC Micro:bit. 

Year 8

Students start the year by further developing their programming and problem-solving skills using the Python programming language where they combine their programming skills and maths knowledge to produce progressively complex programs. After this unit, students study the art of problem-solving in a more conceptually formal way with a focus on algorithms. They then look into how databases work and create their own based on superheroes. Following this, students develop an understanding of several encryption methods and implement some of those methods using Python. In the next unit, students get to know the essentials of artificial intelligence and its huge social impact now and into the future. Students then move to learn how computers work in terms of how computers represent numbers, store data, the roles of transistors and logic gates and the fetch, decode and execution cycle of a CPU. Finally, students end the year developing their own apps using a block-based version of the Java programming language.

Year 9

Students start the year by learning game theory, where they comprehend the concepts of a pay-off matrix in game modelling, Nash equilibrium, dominant strategy and the applications of game theory in the real world. In the next unit, students use some of Python’s more advanced features such as lists, and while and for loops. They then use a game development package and Python to develop games which challenge their problem-solving and maths skills. After this, students explore the world of data science and use a variety of tools and techniques to analyse and display data to help others understand. Finally, students look at cybersecurity and how to protect themselves and others from cyber-attacks as well as the world of work and how businesses deal with cybercriminals.

Years 10 and 11

Students follow the Edexcel GCSE Computer Science specification (1CP2), full details for which are available here. It provides a practical approach to developing computational skills. This includes an innovative, practical on-screen exam to ensure all students develop the computational skills they need for an exciting digital future beyond the classroom. 

Years 12 and 13

Students follow the AQA A-Level Computer Science specification (7517), full details for which are available here. The course focusses on the fundamental concepts of Computer Science and computational and problem-solving skills. Students will study theoretical aspects of Computer Science as well as developing advanced computational and problem-solving skills using the Python programming language. Students are encouraged and supported to extend their learning beyond the classroom through learning new programming languages, developing solutions to complex problems of their interests and taking up opportunities for them to apply their skills, such as short summer IT jobs, or school events.