Welcome to the Computing, Digital Skills and Business Faculty

Director: Mr. D Bate Contact details: dbate@johnmason.oxon.sch.uk

Teachers in this Faculty: Mrs. G. Green, Ms. A. Thornton, Mr. I Ferris

Within the Computing and Business faculty, we offer students an opportunity to study a number of subjects in depth:

Computing at Key Stage 3
Computer Science at Key Stage 4 (GCSE) and Key Stage 5 (A-level)
Creative IT at Key Stage 4 (GCSE)
ICT at Key Stage 4 (GCSE)
Business at Key Stage 4 (GCSE) and Key Stage 5 (A-level)

These subjects fit together well in the sense that together they represent a set of human activities which have evolved together over the last fifty years or so. Clearly, technology has changed out of all recognition, affecting all our lives, while at the same time having a huge impact on the way in which business and commerce operate.In order to do well, students must be willing to experiment, to try out new technologies with enthusiasm, to push the boundaries when using programs and to think, “What if I…..?”

Throughout all years, students are expected to manage their work electronically, using Google Suite for Education and Google Classroom, and take a high level of responsibility for their own learning.

What are the subjects?

Computer Science looks at how computers work and how they can be programmed to solve problems. ICT is the digital skills element; the study of how to make use of computers, employing technology as a tool to solve problems and create products that meet specific requirements. Creative IT focuses on how technology can be used in more artistic ways, such as digital graphics, video and website design. Business covers a wide range of topics including marketing, finance and human resources – essential skills when running a commercial enterprise. Business also has a technological theme, with the GCSE course offered at KS4 involving a great deal of computer use.

For those students with the necessary aptitude and interest, we also offer both Computer Science and Business at A-level.

The experience provided within the Faculty ensures that students develop the necessary skills to work with technology effectively, both at home and in the workplace, as critical and educated users. They also gain the knowledge and skills to operate successfully within the commercial sector.

Key Stage 3

At John Mason School, we offer all students the opportunity to study Computing – which includes Computer Science, ICT and digital skills – during Key Stage 3 through a stimulating curriculum taught in mixed ability groups. This is intended to cover the new curriculum which came into effect in September 2014 and provides an effective basis for students to make an educated choice in Year 9 on whether they would like to study ICT, Creative IT or Computer Science at GCSE level in Years 10 and 11.

Year 7

Unit 1: Computing@JMS. An introduction to the technology and systems at John Mason School.
Unit 2: Keeping safe in the digital world. Students undertake a creative project looking at the hazards which exist on line, how to stay secure, and what actions to take if you are unsure.
Unit 3: Visual Scratch. This unit of work introduces programming using the Scratch programming language. Students will be introduced to programming inputs, variable storage, outputs, sequencing and selection.
Unit 4: Computer Hardware. This computer hardware unit is designed to teach students what a computer system is, including the nature and function of the various components of a computer system. Students learn about the purpose of the CPU, RAM, hard drive and I/O devices and how they all function together. We also look at how the CPU works, including the fetch, decode, execute cycle.
Unit 5: My Digital World. In this unit of work, students will learn how to use the internet safely and effectively. They will learn about copyright law, search engines (including the use of Boolean logic for effective searching) and they will also learn about the dangers of the internet and ways to combat these dangers.
Unit 6: Microbit Madness. This unit introduces students to the Micro:Bit computer and teaches them how to program a variety of applications including a digital dice, digital compass and games console (pong). The unit uses both the ‘Blocks’ and ‘Python’ programming language.

Year 8

Unit 1 – Binary bits and bobs. Students look at why and how binary is used as a counting system by computers, including how data such as text, images and sound is stored. The topic includes a creative element as the students create an educational video on an aspect of binary.
Unit 2 – Python programming. This unit builds on the experience students have of text-based programming in Year 7. They develop code-writing skills and the ability to debug code, including inputs/outputs, variables. They work towards creating a game to be played by others.
Unit 3 – Digital graphics. In this unit students are introduced to the notion of combining text, images and fonts using desktop publishing software. They will explore different types of digital graphics and where they are used. They work towards creating a 4-page magazine.
Unit 4 – basic networks. Students develop their understanding of networks. Why do we network computers? What are the security implications? How is data shared between devices? What are the legal/ethical/environmental implications?
Unit 5 – web design. This creative unit looks at what makes a good website, focusing on usability and structure. Students work towards creating a website for a family-friendly music festival to be held in the local area.

Year 9

Unit 1 – Creating a video. Students undertake a creative project to analyse, plan, shoot and edit a short advertisement for TV. It provides skills which will be used in the Creative IT option at Key Stage 4.
Unit 2 – This unit builds on the Python experience that students have developed earlier in Key Stage 3, revisiting and developing skills covered. It aims to develop students’ Python skills up to a point where GCSE Computer Science can pick up.
Unit 3 – Spreadsheet modelling. This is an ICT-focused unit which provides skills-based experience covering the principles of creating and formatting spreadsheets in order to provide an use simple computer models.
Unit 4 – Digital Graphics. This creative unit explores how bitmap and vector images are represented and stored by the computer. Students also develop their practical skills in design, photo-editing and image manipulation.

Key Stage 4

Edexcel GCSE ICT

This course consists of two components:

Unit 1: Living in a digital world. This is a theory-based unit which makes up 40% of the course. In this unit students explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society. They learn about current and emerging digital technologies and the issues raised by their use in a range of contexts (learning and earning, leisure, shopping and money management, health and wellbeing and on the move). They develop awareness of the risks that are inherent in using ICT and the features of safe, secure and responsible practice.
Unit 2: Using digital tools. This is a practical unit assessed via controlled assessment, making up 60% of the course. Students broaden and enhance their ICT skills and capability. They work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts. They learn to reflect critically on their own and others’ use of ICT and to adopt safe, secure and responsible practice.

AQA GCSE Computer Science

GCSE Computer Science is a demanding course which is suitable for students who are interested in how computers work, and how to program a computer to perform a specific task. It develops “computational thinking” – how to solve problems in a logical way, an excellent skill for today’s employment market.

The course is made up of the following subject content:

1. Fundamentals of algorithms
2. Programming
3. Fundamentals of data representation
4. Computer systems
5. Fundamentals of computer networks
6. Fundamentals of cyber security
7. Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
8. Aspects of software development
9. Non-exam assessment

The non-exam assessment consists of a programming task which makes up 20% of the course. The rest of the content is examined through two exam papers at the end of Year 11.

Creative IT (Cambridge Nationals Creative iMedia)

The course consists of one examined unit and three controlled assessment units which make up 25% each of the course.

Pre-production skills (examined unit) - This unit enables students to understand pre-production skills used in the creative and digital media sector. It develops their understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques that form part of the planning and creation process.
Creating digital graphics - The aim of this unit is for students to understand the basics of digital graphics editing for the creative and digital media sector. They will learn where and why digital graphics are used and what techniques are involved in their creation. This unit will develop students’ understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques as part of the planning and creation process.
Creating a multi-page website - This unit enables students to understand the basics of creating multipage websites. They demonstrate their creativity by combining components to create a functional, intuitive and aesthetically pleasing website. It will allow them to interpret a client brief and to use planning and preparation techniques when developing a multipage website.
Creating a digital video sequence. This unit enables students to understand where digital video is used in the media industry such as television, film, web applications or computer gaming. The learner will also learn how these technologies are developed to reach an identified target audience. They plan, produce, edit and evaluate a digital video for a specific purpose.

Edexcel GCSE Business

The course consists of three units, assessed through an exam and controlled assessment.

Unit 1 – Introduction to small business. This unit contains five topics: spotting a business opportunity, showing enterprise, putting a business idea into practice, making the start-up effective and understanding the economic context. This unit is assessed by an exam in Year 11 and forms 25% of the total GCSE.
Unit 2 – Investigating small business. This unit focuses on the same content as unit 1, but takes the form of a research investigation, assessed through controlled assessment during lesson time. It forms 25% of the total GCSE.
Unit 3 – Building a business. This unit contains five topics: marketing, meeting customer needs, effective financial management, effective people management and the wider world affecting business. This unit is assessed by an exam at the end of Year 11, and forms 50% of the total GCSE.

Key Stage 5

AQA AS/A-level Computer Science

Computer Science is increasingly popular at A-level and in higher education. The course encourages learners to develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of computer science and how computer programs work in a range of contexts. Students study topics including data representation, networking and Internet technologies, hardware, software development and relational database modelling. As they progress, students develop their computational thinking and use problem solving to develop computer-based solutions using algorithms and programming languages. Studying A-level Computer Science helps students develop a range of skills such as thinking creatively, analytically, logically and critically.

AS Computer Science looks at the following content areas:

1. Fundamentals of programming
2. Fundamentals of data structures
3. Systematic approach to problem solving
4. Theory of computation
5. Fundamentals of data representation
6. Fundamentals of computer systems
7. Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
8. Consequences of uses of computing
9. Fundamentals of communication and networking

The full A-level further develops the content covered during the AS, and also covers the following additional topics:

1. Fundamentals of databases
2. Big Data
3. Fundamentals of functional programming
4. Systematic approach to problem solving

The course also includes a non-exam assessment which takes the form of a practical project, either programming or investigative, which is worth 20% of the A-level.

AQA AS/A-level Business

Students develop the knowledge and skills needed to analyse data, think critically about issues and make informed decisions – all skills that are needed for further study and employment.

The course looks at the following areas:

1. What is business?
2. Managers, leadership and decision making
3. Decision making to improve marketing performance
4. Decision making to improve operational performance
5. Decision making to improve financial performance
6. Decision making to improve human resource performance
7. Analysing the strategic position of a business (A-level only)
8. Choosing strategic direction (A-level only)
9. Strategic methods: how to pursue strategies (A-level only)
10. Managing strategic change (A-level only)


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