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Create a generation of young people able to work at the forefront of technological change.

Alan Turing

Curriculum Rationale: ICT

Powerful knowledge in ICT – Why do we teach these concepts?

It is difficult to find any significant aspect of modern life or employment which has not been touched by new technologies. As these are consistently evolving, we teach transferrable skills which uses the context of current software to develop a life-long understanding of computational and communication concepts. Computer technology plays an increasing part of young people’s social lives and safe and responsible use of ICT is a key component of our curriculum. The course explores how technology has and is evolving, how we communicate differently and how it has affected society around the world. By understanding how ICT has evolved, students will be able to contemplate how it will continue to develop and be better prepared to adapt alongside it.

In addition, we have deliberately included modules which develop pupils' ability to think like computer scientists. Pupils will gain a range of 'computational thinking' tools, including the ability to look for abstraction, algorithmic solutions, patterns and ways of decomposing problems – as well as a desire to find efficient and elegant solutions.

Curriculum Features - How do we embed the learning?

Our focus has been a switch away from skills to understanding. The aim of this curriculum is to developing an understanding of ideas and principles, rather than just training students to use particular software, which is likely to be out of date by the time they leave school! By creating “digital natives” students will be capable of acquiring future tech skills for themselves and staying up to date with rapid changes.

The curriculum spirals around the broad themes of using computers safely and responsibly, the development of computing, digital literacy, digital creativity, programming, data systems and communications & networks. Within each theme, students are initially introduced to the concepts using more easily accessible software and features before revisiting the theme more than once and building increasing levels of mastery. In the programming theme for example, Year 7 students learn the basics of games programming using Scratch. In Years 8 and 9, these same concepts are revisited but this time via increasingly advanced features of Python. The point is not to have mastered either piece of software but to have developed a good understanding of the principals of programming which could be applied to any programming software. Mastery (of ICT and computational principals) is achieved by regularly revisiting taught concepts.

Curriculum Enrichment – How do we link with other subjects and offer experiences?

Computing traditionally has deep links with Mathematics, Science, Design Technology and Business but new technologies are constantly evolving, particularly within the areas of App design, social media and e-commerce. Examples of how ICT link to other subjects include:

“Games Masters!” (Scratch in Y7, Python in Y8 &9) has links with Design Technology, (particularly project planning, story boarding), Art (design elements) Drama (scripts and roles) English (creative writing) and Maths (sequencing instructions and logical thinking)

“Faking It” (Y8) and “Mythbusters” (Y8) – these modules look at digital image manipulation and reliability and validity of information and links with CBV (body image, celebrity shaming, self-esteem, social influencers, body dysmorphia) and with English (fake news, persuasive writing and descriptive writing)

What skills will I get with design and technology?

By studying design and technology, you’ll be able to build up your creativity, problem-solving, planning, and evaluation skills. Since many projects are done via group work, you’ll also gain communication and teamwork skills. Not to mention a great work out of your creativity bone!

What careers can I do with design and technology?

There are plenty! And we’re not kidding. Design and technology can set you up for a career in a wide variety of industries such as fashion, engineering, architecture, information technology, careers in hospitality, and even education.

Popular careers for people with design and technology qualifications include: fashion designer, tailor, product designer, architect, software engineer, civil engineer, carpenter and chef.