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Which ICT/Computing course at KS4

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by farzana82, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. farzana82

    farzana82 New commenter

    I have been asked to set up the KS4 ICT/ Computer Science provision at our school. Our current cohort of Year 9 students has some knowledge of programming principles but I feel they are not ready for hardcore Computing and programming.

    I would like to begin KS4 ICT/ Computing provision with GCSE ICT Course and a vocational course with a view to introduce Computer Science when the programming skills gap and knowledge has closed.
    Please can my fellow Teachers advise me of courses that would be suitable for our students and would also count towards Progress 8 measure.

    Hope I have provided you all with enough information to help me.
    Many Thanks
     
  2. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    I'd pick which ever GCSE feels best-suited your pupils' ability. I'd also be careful about offering a vocational aspect as well as you will be overloading your teachers with coursework from both (or all three options when computing comes on line).

    As far as computing goes, sort out KS3 first and use this as the future driver to add the GCSE course to your department. No SLT is going to run a course where the limited background means pupils will fail to achieve. Sorting out KS3 and building skills is the only way to go (unless you're a masochist and enjoy after school sessions).
     
  3. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Yes - this was discussed in another thread. I created my KS3 course before I looked at the GCSE specifications, and I was surprised that I have very little left to cover at KS4
     
  4. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    Wise words.

    Sort out your KS3 Computer Science program before looking at GCSE. That will mean ditching the bilge water ICT subjects and coming up with a proper, planned Scheme of Work that lays solid foundations in CS. If you don't do that, you will struggle at the GCSE level as there is too much to cover, not enough time and too many 'hard' concepts that need the groundwork laying. I think I saw a SofW for a year by the above poster a while back that was pretty impressive. If you ask nicely, he may post a link to an entire CS KS3 program :) and with a bit of luck, time, a can-do IT technical department and with the right staff willing and able and CS-savey, you could begin after Christmas. There also a few other complete SoW in the CAS website, some good, some bad.
     
  5. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Do you mean this: sample first year KS3 scheme of work?

    There is a second year, but it'll take some time to convert the tasks into a web-accessible format and we've got a new baby and are moving house, so don't hold your breaths!

    All of the presentations, pages, etc., used in the second year are already on the site, though, linked the the KS3/GCSE resources page.
     
  6. teknoteacher

    teknoteacher New commenter

    I'd also recommend that you try to make contact with teachers at schools local to you. Then you can ask them what choices they've made, what they've been glad of and what they regret doing.

    Attending a Computing At School Hub Meeting is one way to do this. I realise that some areas of the country are more active than others - but there's nothing to stop you organising your own meetings every term or so as a way for you to support each other. You can see where the hubs are in this list of events and on this map.
     

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  7. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    Do you have the necessary skills in the department to teach computer science? There is a shortage of good people out there so can you attract, recruit and retain the right people - we have to use supply because we can't get anyone (the school won't pay the extra that is needed to attract / poach computer science teachers) and it is a fu8king nightmare for me to manage because I have to plan out all of someone else's lessons (but only til Christmas - I've resigned because it is just too hard to do the job properly anymore and there is no let up). Have you looked the syllabusses? AQA is the hardest one, followed by OCR with EDUQAS the easiest of the lot. Visiting schools would be my highest priority and start talking to people who are teaching it and then begging for their resources. Find schools that are so-called Maths and Computing specialists.

    Don't make life hard for yourself. Which course has the best textbook? Start asking for evaluation copies for the different syllabusses, read reviews and ask schools currently teaching the different GCSEs. Once you've decided, buy class sets of the book. What other resources could you buy into, to make life easy .e.g. teach-ict.com? Make sure you have a budget that covers the knowns and the unknowns as well as the unknown unknowns.

    Get hold of a few schemes of work to use and adapt for your school. CAS resurces might be a good place to look, but you do need a really good detailed scheme so you can manage the course each week in detail rather than react to events. And if anyone goes of sick or leaves, the course can continue with minimum disruption.

    What's the school network like? Do you teach brainy kids - I hope so because this is not a course for everyone.

    If at all possible, avoid computer science and stick with GCSE ICT, possibly with a programming option. What started out as a good idea for the senior managers at our school has turned out to be a daily nightmare for me; they won't fund the course properly, we can't get the staff, the students don't have the right books, muggins is doing all the planning and lessons plans and meanwhile, everything else is still being piled on us without any breathing space. Remember, you'll be the one doing all the work, not the senior managers, so be prepared to argue that the school is not in the right place yet if that really is the case and come up with a plan for two years time. Hopefully by then, computer science will have gone out of fashion and you can drop the whole stupid idea.
     
  8. gigaswitch1

    gigaswitch1 Occasional commenter

    You are stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Computing is difficult if you have not got the skills to teach it and you do need fairly brainy kids, but if your boss is willing to allow your department to have a failure rate that has a parity to physics then you will be okay. The new spec is being released for first teaching 2016 and has a reduced amount of CA and similar theory to the old course.

    Not quite sure if you have any ICT provision from your post, but this year's Year 9 will be the last taking the easy ICT option that will get you great results. I would not recommend you spend a great deal of time setting up ICT considering the old course is 60% CA and the new will be 20%. There is very little detail on the new course apart from its contain manipulation of data. My personal opinion is they are going to make if difficult to try and re-build the ICT reputation. A side point, we have just got rid of BTEC ICT, the exam was just stupid and our results were horrendous with it.

    If you can, I would suggest to your HT that it is not practical to set up a course just yet. Ask them if you could delay it for first teaching in 2017. This will give your KS3 pupils an extra year of CS lessons, learn the new GCSE Computing spec, slowly build up your SOW and resources and not waste your time building an ICT course that will only be relevant for another year.
     

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