“Computing provides learners with the skills to understand and create technology that impacts and improves their individual lives and wider society”
Gladesmore Community School prides ourselves on delivering the breadth and ambition of the National Curriculum.
The computing curriculum at Gladesmore has been designed to enrich our learners' knowledge of computing and their understanding of its importance in society. As a subject, Computing holds an important role in preparing learners for their futures — both in further education and employment — by providing them with the skills to understand and create technology that impacts on and improves aspects of society. We provide learners with the opportunity to develop their resilience, critical thinking, and ability to work collaboratively.
Our curriculum is broken down into three strands at KS3 and KS4: Digital Literacy, Information Technology and Computer Science. Due to the nature of the subject, the formation of the computing schemes of work is a dynamic process, constantly evolving to reflect the ever-changing world that we live in and the new technologies that are being developed. We have sequenced the curriculum so that our learners build on what has been learnt at varying levels at KS2 and are also able to acquire new knowledge and skills. At KS3, we facilitate learners to form links between real-world issues, such as the use of Artificial Intelligence and its effects on society, environmental issues brought upon by the use of digital technology, and privacy and legal issues. Learners develop their analytical skills to approach these problems, and through computational thinking, they learn how to design and evaluate solutions to problems that are relevant to them in the contexts of where they live and study.
At KS3, we guide learners to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including ensuring they are able to protect their online identities and privacy; we put heavy emphasis on developing students’ capacity to recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct, and an understanding of how to report concerns. The KS3 curriculum is designed to provide a comprehensive and enriching computing education, with our main areas for study comprising computer systems, networks, programming, algorithms and computational thinking, data and modelling, cybersecurity and robotics. Whilst such a range of topics allows us to address the gaps in learning that our pupils may have from their prior education at KS2, we also deepen students’ knowledge so that they consider the history of computing, important figures and their milestone achievements, such as Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing, and people from diverse cultures and backgrounds who have contributed to the subject’s prominence and success in the digital age.
We seek to build these skills and areas of knowledge through our KS4 curriculum; a curriculum which also enables learners to continue to enjoy the challenges of problem-solving and enhanced algorithmic thinking. Our students explore additional high-level programming languages, alongside the core Python curricula we deliver, in order to broaden their knowledge and enhance their experiences. Our schemes of work and lessons are designed to allow pupils to problem-solve and engage in the relevant types of scenarios which students may encounter in future work environments, such as working within teams to develop an app through programming code or surveying targeted audiences to get feedback on designed material.
We increase the breadth of learning and knowledge in computing to enable all pupils the opportunity to make exceptional progress. We achieve this by stretching our learners through targeted extra-curricular activities, educational visits, working with industry speakers, in class extension activities, mentoring programmes and much more. The computing education and GCSE qualification we deliver are designed to remain relevant to the modern and ever-changing world of which our learners will be a crucial part - in so doing, our curriculum provides opportunities for various enrichment activities through, for example, working with tech organisations such as Pearson, Amazon and Microsoft. Through our curriculum delivery, tailored and focused mentoring workshops, learner-centric work experience, and collaborative links with industry, learners of Gladesmore are thus able to excel and progress successfully to the next stage of their lives.
- Introduction to Computers
- What is Data?
- Digital Literacy
- Intro to Python Programming
- Coding with Kodu
- File Formats and sizes
- Python Next Steps
- AI and Machine Learning
- BBC Microbit
- Physical Computing (Components)
- Computer Systems
- Data representation, images and sound
- Intermediate Python Programming and Project Assessment
- System Architecture
- Memory and Storage
- Computer Networks, Connections and Protocols
- Network Security System Software
- Ethic, Legal, Cultural and Environmental Impacts
- Python Challenges
- Revision and mock preparation
- Advanced Python Programming
- Introduction to C++ Programming
- Producing Robust Programs
- Boolean Logic
- Programming Languages and IDE’s
- Revision and Exam Preparation
Girls Leadership Program
An important aspect of Gladesmore’s education is to prepare the students for their future careers. The school partners with different companies who mentor and coach our Year 9 and 10 students. The leadership programme, designed by Actv8 Network, focuses on increasing the number of female students in STEM subjects while developing other sought after skills in the future workplace.
The programme is divided into two parallel streams; first, where the students work together on a project, and second, individual coaching sessions between mentors from companies that Actv8 partners with.
Under the first stream where the students work as a group on a project, the programme participants of adult mentors and students are divided equally into teams. The teams are given a problem to solve and different questions to answer throughout the three-month programme. Some of the problems or challenges pose include: how to increase physical activity in our daily lives, and how to reduce the stigma of mental health in teens.
To help the students design solutions, Actv8 provides training including design thinking, and prototyping and skills such as critical thinking and giving and receiving feedback. Students present their solutions which enhances their communication, storytelling and creativity skills. The interactive nature of the programme engages the students and creates an interest for learning about the subject. The group dynamics also increases leadership, collaboration and empathy within individual students.
Through the second stream of individual coaching sessions with adult mentors, the students learn to reflect and develop skills such as managing time or anxiety—areas which are more particular to each student. Actv8 pairs up each student with a mentor that guide the student in their reflection. The mentor also shares their experience in navigating their professional journey which encourages the students and helps them overcome their personal challenges. During the individual sessions, students may discover new career paths that they were not aware of before.
In addition, there are company visits and talks by experts to introduce the students to different professional opportunities. Students have met doctors, lawyers, Chief Financial Officers, computer scientists and programmers, architects and data scientists. These visits also help the students imagine what it is like to work in an office or what it would be like to work in a particular job.
At the end of the three-month programme, we observed increased self-confidence and self-awareness, renewed interest in their schoolwork, and maturity in thinking. The students make new friends and build a community around the other programme participants which ultimately supports them in excelling in their student career.