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Computing at Jesmond Park Academy

ICT

We teach students Computing and Business based subjects because we understand the value of these subjects in today’s society. Our curriculum is designed to meet the developing needs of our school and we acknowledge our students are digital natives.

IT Faculty Curriculum Philosophy Statement

Computing, IT and Business require the learning of theories and models, as well as the opportunity to apply this knowledge in practical activities such as coding or discussing theory in the context of a real business or the economy. The teachers in the faculty are passionate about, and proud of their subjects, and enjoy sharing their expertise with students.

Our subjects are ever-changing and we are committed to our own learning, keeping up to date with developments in our subject areas. We hope to inspire girls in Computing to continue to address the gender gap in the industry, with women holding less than a quarter of the positions in Core STEM industries in the UK.

We feel it is important for all students to learn IT/Computing because of its bearing on online safety, cyber crime and future employability. Likewise, we value an education in enterprise to prepare our students for life after school, including knowledge of personal finance and the economy.

Computing and Business based subjects require students to look at things from a global perspective, developing an understanding of, and curiosity in further horizons. In all lessons we provide opportunities to improve literacy skills and increase confidence in oracy through discussion. Numeracy skills are fundamental to understanding of business finance and computing and we dedicate time to developing this knowledge.

Our curriculum is designed to serve our students and we recognise that the North East is home to the UK’s fastest growing tech cluster outside of London and has the highest proportion of students studying STEM subjects in the UK. We hope to prepare our students to join this growing industry.

 


 

IT Faculty Curriculum Content Statement

In the IT faculty, we base our curriculum on acquisition of knowledge. We prioritise threshold concepts and believe this is important for students to make solid and sustained progress.

In Business, students need an understanding of business finance and internal and external influences on business success. In Computing, programming and an understanding of communication and network infrastructure are fundamental. In ICT, we acknowledge the importance of software skills and an awareness of hardware and software.

Economics students need to understand the basic economic problem and how the economy works. Students of Media need to consider how different media representations are constructed by media producers to create meaning, messages and values. In Photography, students must show knowledge and understanding of materials, processes, technologies and resources and a working vocabulary of specialist terms.

These core topics are revisited throughout each key stage, developing in complexity and forming the basis of new concepts.

Computing at Jesmond Park Academy

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.

 


 

ICT curriculum offer

KS3 students study 6 separate modules in each of year 7, 8 and 9 (1 lesson of Computing per week)

KS4 students can study BTEC Tech Award Digital Information Technology (Edexcel)

KS5 students can study Level 3 BTEC Nationals Information Technology (Edexcel)