Pupils in Year 7 and 8 follow a foundation course aimed at enabling them to make informed and intelligent use of the ICT facilities in the school. This course covers an introduction to all the major applications the pupils are likely to require in their schoolwork.
Pupils will study the major office applications, being encouraged to organise their work effectively and apply their knowledge and new-found skills gained in the classroom to their use by people outside of school. All software packages that are used at St. Mary's College are backed up by video tutorials that we have created to allow all pupils to explore each piece of software at their own pace.
In addition to business related software pupils will also engage with creative applications allowing them the opportunity to further develop a link between the intended audience and the purpose of their work. Pupils study topics such as photo editing, web graphics, website development, audio and video and creation of their own computer games using the popular Serif suite of applications and other software to create original pieces of work.
In their third year at the College pupils will also have the opportunity to study for a recognised Computing qualification where they learn topics such as hardware and software, computer programming and study an application of computing that is of interest to them, for example gaming consoles, or mobile phones, in depth.
Internet use figures highly in the pupils' work in many subjects, so the College has invested in powerful filtering software to allow pupils to surf in safety. Other aspects of the foundation course include developing problem solving techniques. Much of the work covered is task-based, and pupils are required to document all their pieces of work thoroughly. This approach prepares the pupils for the coursework requirements they will meet at GCSE and A level.
Pupils will study two distinct subject areas during their course of study in Middle School. All pupils will be introduced to aspects of Computer Science including consideration of hardware, software and logic, and a practical introduction to computer programming. Pupils will then build upon their studies in Lower School working toward the a nationally recognised qualification in Digital Applications, studying topics such as developing Web products and computer game creation. The courses pupil will study have been specifically chosen to engage, challenge and inspire pupils across a range of interest and ability levels.
All pupils will follow an entry level course in computer science designed to:
- Provides a basic understanding of computer technology and computing principles.
- Introduces and assesses relevant, transferable skills; including problem solving and information gathering.
- Provides fair recognition of the technical knowledge and practical skills of students.
- Provides grounding for further study of computing.
Pupils will be introduced to key terms used in computer science and develop practical skills in problem solving through the practice of programming skills utilising the Python programming language. This will lead to a nationally recognised qualification provided by OCR.
Cambridge IGCSE in Information and Communication Technology
Why Cambridge IGC?
Cambridge IGCSE in Information and Communication Technology encourages learners to develop lifelong skills, including:
- understanding and using applications
- using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to solve problems
- analysing, designing, implementing, testing and evaluating ICT systems, ensuring that they are fit for purpose
- understanding the implications of technology in society, including social, economic and ethical uses
- awareness of the ways ICT can help in home, learning and work environments.
In the Sixth Form pupils will have the option to study A Level ICT, building on their study of ICT in the Middle School. The A Level course offers a mix of theory and practical assessment considering areas such as presenting information in different forms, the way in which data is used, the impact of ICT on society and an in-depth study of the creation, use and management of relational database systems. Information Technology encompasses a wide variety of skills, preparing pupils for work in any industry. This modern, exciting course aims to improve a young person's knowledge of computers and how to use them confidently. They will develop advanced skills in web design, desk-top publishing, spreadsheets, video editing, and animation.
Pupils will gain increasing confidence in using a wide variety of industry standard software packages, enabling them to effectively communicate ideas and information through the use of a wide range of electronic media.
What do former students think about the course?
"This course offers you skills that will be useful in any job"
"Do lots of background reading"
"Get a basic understanding of how computers work before you begin"
"Be prepared for some challenging work"
"Persevere and you will find it enjoyable and challenging"
"Straight forward & interesting, it is very practical and I’m learning new skills"
"I have enjoyed the practical aspects of the course but the theory has been more demanding than I expected."
"A very enjoyable subject, will be useful in a later job."
"The theory is in greater detail than at GCSE."
"If you like IT and want to learn new skills this is a good opportunity."
"The course is quite challenging, but enjoyable."
"You are allowed to go at your own speed and are given the freedom to solve problems yourself, although help is there if you need it.
"This is a great course to study giving you skills for life that every employer will be asking for."
Wider use of ICT
As well as being a subject in its own right, ICT plays an ever-increasing part in the teaching of subjects right across the curriculum.
St. Mary's has a well-established ICT Department, which is steadily upgraded and expanded with modern equipment and software. The main network now extends to the Learning Resource Centre, a science ICT Centre and a Design & Technology ICT Centre, as well as the discreet ICT Rooms. Most departments also have their own workstations/laptops.
An increasing number of subjects specifically require the use of Information Technology as part of the syllabus and/or in coursework. We are now in a good position to meet these requirements comfortably, but changes in subject requirements are constantly monitored to ensure that we keep up with new developments.