Curriculum Road Map: Computing & Business
Curriculum Statement: Computing & Business
At Key Stage 3 and Key Stage both Computing & Digital Skills along with Business Studies follow the National Curriculum. At Key Stage 3 the National Centre for Computing Education’s (NCCE) curriculum for Computing and Digital Studies is followed; this allows for the use of all the excellent resources that are provided by the NCCE. At KS4 the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA examination board’s program of study is followed for all the faculty’s subjects and their suggested schemes of work are used and where appropriate adapted to the school’s particular requirements. The school currently offers a GCSE Business Studies and an OCR Technical Certificate in Creative iMedia for our KS4 learners.
Currently there are two classes per year group in KS4 across Computing and Business Studies with 15-20 pupils in each. The number of students choosing these subjects has been rising steadily over the last three years, manifesting the popularity of these subjects. To accommodate the rising student numbers the staffing of this faculty has been increased this year.
The Computing & Digital skills curriculum equips students with the digital, computing, communication, problem solving skills required for the modern world and that are transferable across the whole school to all areas of studies. Life skills such as communication, teamwork, and resilience are fostered within the faculty.
A majority of our students from all key cohorts (SEND, PP, Boys, Girls …) have performed in line or above the national average. Students have progressed, after studying these subjects, on to Computing and Engineering related courses, with some attending apprenticeships at GCHQ.
The digital literacy, software development, digital art, understanding hardware, and cyber security within our curriculum combine to make the curriculum bigger than the sum of its parts. The curriculum is designed to be in manageable discrete units that are scaffolded upon throughout KS3 by revisiting areas with increasing depth and complexity. In KS4 both Creative iMedia and Business Studies are modular courses and are delivered indiscrete year 1 and year 2 parts of the course.
Each of the topics at KS4 last six weeks. Digital tools such Showbie are employed to enhance the recall process throughout the learning cycle providing opportunities for interleaving, and gap filling. Through the use of low stake diagnostic multiple choice quizzes misconceptions to be identified and addressed in a timely fashion. We employ a consistent strategy with Socrative to allow our learners familiarity with the process – and also provide timely personalized feedback for each learner.
There is a logical flow in both Business Studies and in Creative iMedia that has allowed the faculty to design the curriculum to have a natural progression. The topics taught and learnt in KS3 drive the learning in KS4 such as App Development where students consider customers and client user experiences as well as how to market a product.
These courses are delivered in a modular format; the modules are assessed on an individual basis. Progression through KS3 and KS4 is designed around ensuring modules being of a greater depth and complexity than the preceding ones. Students have access to the whole course material to facilitate any independent study they may require either to consolidate or advance their learning or to catch-up any missed work. We utilise recall and baseline assessments to ensure gaps are identified early and addressed at the start of a new topic, especially for students joining late. The significance of building upon prior learning ensure students master topics and transferable skills such as arithmetic thinking, evaluating, analysis, decomposition, computational thinking. The big picture of course and the position of the modules with in it is shared with the students at the start of the work and throughout KS3 and KS4.
By following the examination boards’ specifications and schemes of work the department ensures that the structures and systems employed by the department are capable of providing excellence in both substantive and disciplinary knowledge. Opportunities for substantive and disciplinary knowledge appear at all stages of the course and these visited by following the examination boards’ specifications and schemes of work.
One piece of summative assessment work is produced every half-term and the data is collated. Students record their work extensively on the digital platform Showbie although Business Studies students use a mixture of exercise books and Showbie. All work is expected to conform to the UCS Bolton school wide policies and expectations.
All topics taught at KS3 are revisited with increasing degrees of complexity and more extensive knowledge requirements throughout the three years. At KS4 content is not directly repeated until it is revised prior to assessments and ultimately the GCSE examinations. With Creative iMedia the content from Unit 1 – Pre Production Skills are valuable to be demonstrated when applied to the later creative units with controlled assessment activities.
The topic of Software Development with text-based languages requires memory of syntax and grammer, it also tallows for mini-projects to build on earlier topics and introduce new ones thus creating a series of interleaving topic sessions.
Students’ misconceptions are regularly identified and addressed through the QLA of major assessments and using the diagnostic software packages such as Socrative and Quizzez.
“Do now tasks” that revisit previous learning along with spaced learning, teaching like a champion techniques, and Kagan structures are all used to improve the ease of recall - automaticity.
The UTC Fingerprint
The faculty has embraced the UCS mission/vision by establishing links with employers (in the past we have worked with companies such as Fujitsu Systems and Palo Alto Robotics). We are currently working with The University of Bolton Game Development and Computer Science faculty. The Computing Department will be working alongside other UTC colleges to find opportunities to enhance industry links that benefit our pupils in developing technical skills and knowledge.
Our ever increasing facilities allow students to work in Computing and Business on their own individual iPads and bespoke computer rooms, ehancing the pedagogical approaches linked to the specific subject skills. Virtual learning platforms in conjunction with AI has allowed a greater amount of individual pupil differentiation and bespoke pathways to be tailored to pupils. The department makes extensive use teaching strategies in line with the whole school policy to establish consistency across lessons. Use of pupil data to inform learning pathways and provide personalised targets allow us to further differentiate in our learning strategies. The Computing and Business teachers use GL testing outcomes to inform us of student learning styles – further allowing our teachers to employ written, spatial, numeracy, and kinesthetic based activities for learners to engage with in classroom. Pedagogy is constantly under review to determine the best way to deliver content to students. Consistency across the department is tracked and measured by lesson observations, work scrutiny and triads (teachers work in concert on pedagogical topics).
Assessment is threaded throughout our curriculum topics. A typical unit of work will consist of baseline, ltieracy, formative, peer/self, and summative assessments. Assessment however is not seen as definitive piece of work, instead teachers and students will utilise diagnostic feedback to inform their own next steps. One piece of summative assessment work is produced every half-term and the data is collated in line with the whole school policy.
Assessment format can be digital or paper-based, they can often take the form of a project that has been assigned and completed over a longer period of time. The Project Based Learning approach is the most common in Key Stage 3, whereas KS4 students will often prepare work for an examination with a sight towards exam skills practice too. Students record their work extensively on the digital platform Showbie although Business Studies students use a mixture of exercise books and Showbie. All work is expected to conform to the UCS Bolton school wide policies and expectations.
All students are expected to meet the UCS Bolton classroom expectations and to exceed their targets.
Students’ misconceptions are regularly identified and addressed through the QLA of major assessments and using diagnostic feedback.
The UTC Fingerprint
The faculty has embraced the UCS mission/vision be establishing links with employers (Fujitsu Systems and Palo Alto Robotics) and the University of Bolton to work on projects. Century Tech delivered a six-week web-based unit to Year 9 in 2020-2021. As we have only recently returned from lockdown following the Covid pandemic the faculty is currently developing the mission/vision/ethos from Year 7 onwards.