In the 21st century computer technology is pervasive and our students need to have a good understanding of it. This will include developing their own ICT capability and having a critical awareness and understanding of its impact on our lives. It also includes developing the students’ analytical thinking and problem solving skills through programming.
To do this effectively students need access to excellent ICT resources and facilities and these are to be found at Queen Elizabeth’s. In total we have around 300 computer workstations around the school for students to use.
In addition we have over 80 netbooks/laptops which are booked out on a daily basis by any department within the school. These connect to the school network via our wireless network.
We are currently using Windows 7 as our main operating system and our main office software suite is Microsoft Office 2010. All departments have their own software for specific departmental needs. We also have access to Adobe’s CS4 Design Suite which gives students access to industry standard web, animation and photo editing software.
Students have access to digital video cameras and audio recording devices and are encouraged to use these throughout all areas of the curriculum. These are bookable through the library and even to take out of school should students wish to develop their film or radio making skills.
There is also a large number of interactive whiteboards around the school and we are developing our digital multi-media facilities and capabilities, such as the video conferencing facility in the new Business/Mathematics room.
All departments make extensive use of our virtual learning environment which parents are also given access to. On our VLE students are given access to a wide range of resources which complement and enhance the content that is delivered within lessons.
We have a policy of ensuring that we are current in all areas and making sure that students are always aware of the latest advances in technology.
At present, pupils in years 7 to 8 receive two hours a week of tuition in Computer Science as a discrete subject. The course covers a wide range of ICT applications including Powerpoint Presentation, Information Handling and Finding, Spreadsheet Modelling, Control, and Animation. We also cover programming in Scratch and Visual Studio Express.
The emphasis is on developing pupils’ ICT capability rather than just their ICT skills. It is about encouraging pupils to become critical and effective users of ICT and evaluating what they have done.
Students in year 9 embark upon a three year course leading to a AQA's GCSE Computer Science. Students in year 12 are able to embark on the two year AQA A Level Course. Detailed information about all of these courses can be found on the Examination Boards’ websites. Throughout these course students develop practical problem solving skills.
Computer Science clearly has a dual role in the school. It is a subject in its own right, but also supports teaching and learning across the curriculum. Students engage very positively with ICT and are able to take advantage of the extensive facilities, which the school provides.
Students have very open access to these facilities, before school starts, during the day and after school. The school has a broadband link to the Internet. All pupils have the privilege of their own free email address at the school and free access to the Internet. There is very powerful filtering of the Internet.
This open access brings with it significant responsibilities and these are enshrined in the academy’s Acceptable Use Policy which all students sign. Responsible use of ICT is a very important part of ICT education. As part of our commitment to helping our students stay safe online we run a series of assemblies each year targeting specific areas and have an open door policy where students are encouraged to voice their concerns if they are unsure about something they see or hear about when using technology. We are aware that our responsibility is not just within the school grounds but when they are at home too. We aim to make students aware of potential dangers and how to use technology responsibly.
Computer Science, as discrete subjects, are taught by Mr Ainsworth, Mr Hewer, Mr Johnson, Mr Liversidge and Mrs Storr. Mr Johnson is also the Subject Leader for Computing and ICT and manages both the curriculum and the technical side. He is assisted in the technical role by Mr Ainsworth, Mr Hewer and Mr Best our ICT Technicians as well as Mr Wattam, our programmer.