In Key Stage 3 Computing lessons students will gain a foundation for future Key Stage 4 studies in ICT or Computing. Teachers recognise the impact key knowledge can have on future learning opportunities. For example, when students understand the different types of business ownership, they can better describe the impact of limited liability on a business. In Computing, a sound understanding of algorithms augments programming ability. In Economics, over the 2 years of study, students will apply economic theory to support analysis of current economic issues to better analyse impact on the behaviour of economic agents.
Research shows that revision and testing improve retention and we use regular low stakes testing throughout each topic, year group and key stage, interleaving threshold concepts throughout curriculum delivery.
We believe the teacher is the expert in the classroom and we are dedicated to our continuing professional development and we keep our own knowledge up to date in our ever-changing specialisms.
There are recurrent topics in our spiral curriculum in the IT faculty. Students encounter topics more than once to reinforce existing knowledge and to develop new depths of understanding. They must understand how to effectively conduct secondary research on the Internet, judging the reliability and validity of sources. In Computing, students need to be able to plan and write code in increasingly complex languages. In Business Studies, student need a sound understanding of revenue, costs and profits in Year 10 in order to calculate financial ratios throughout Key Stage 4 and 5. In Economics, students need to develop a critical approach to economic models and methods of enquiry to enable them to analyse and evaluate contexts synoptically. In Media and Photography, students need to produce practical and contextual work using more complex tools and techniques that show a greater understanding of audience and purpose.
Teachers work with students to develop their approach to extended writing and focus on the use of subject specific terminology, regularly marking for literacy. Teachers’ understanding of working and long-term memory drives the planning of lessons and sequences of lessons. Teachers in the IT faculty consider the impact of cognitive load when designing resources and lesson structure. We recognise the importance of spacing in the curriculum and long-term planning builds in opportunity to revisit topics to embed knowledge in long-term memory. We are a faculty of experienced teachers and design learning episodes with common misconceptions and misunderstandings in mind. These include a focus on substantive knowledge, such as the difference between business promotion and getting a promotion as well as misconceptions in business finance, recognising that information from a cash flow is a prediction. A lack of focus on these anticipated errors prevents a deep understanding of the topic.
Our curricula provide opportunities for students to develop wisdom, maturity, character, creativity and cognitive flexibility. We recognise, as specialists, that creativity and problem solving must be nurtured and developed alongside the delivery of subject specific lessons. We recognise the relevance of this in Computer Science, as machines will ultimately be better at coding but humans have the imagination to spark ideas and create new meaning. We believe that focusing primarily on knowledge and key vocabulary will allow students to develop important skills throughout their studies.