Computing

Computing

Computing is rapidly changing every aspect of the word we all live in. When our pupils leave university and look for their first job, many of them will be applying for roles that do not yet exist. A well-rounded education should help prepare them for this constantly evolving world. Studying computing teaches students a range of invaluable life skills such as reasoning, logic, problem solving, precision and resourcefulness.

All pupils in the First and Second Years will study a range of topics that are designed to develop these computational thinking skills. This will include the use of programming environments such as Scratch, and Swift Playgrounds as well as building hardware systems with the Microbit. Here techniques that help a programmer solve problems such as sequence, selection and iteration are introduced. Pupils will also develop their digital creative skills creating graphics and building websites in HTML.

Computing is a very popular option subject at Caterham School. Pupils of Computing have a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of how computers work and to create and troubleshoot computer programs for a wide range of purposes. Computing develops valuable programming and computational thinking skills which are increasingly relevant to a wide variety of jobs. Employers want workers with an understanding of rigorous principles that can be applied to changing technologies.

We encourage students to explore how computers work and communicate in a variety of contexts. They will study the complexities of the workings of the CPU and the movement of data inside a computer, as well as the nature and representations of data itself. The workings of networks and the Internet will be explained in detail, as will the role of the operating system and other hardware and software.

Students who opt to study computing at GCSE level continually hone their skills as they tackle increasingly complex problems. This will include designing efficient algorithms to help optimise their solutions. There is ample opportunity for students to apply and consolidate their skills and knowledge of computer programming by carrying out practical tasks that will develop their capacity for imaginative, innovative thinking, creativity and independence. They will develop programming skills in HTML, CSS and Python.

At A Level we take independent creativity a giant leap beyond the norm. Rather than sticking to the traditional safe Python and SQL data driven programming projects, we encourage our students to undertake extensive projects in either game design or mobile app development. With industry standard tools, students develop skills that can carry them into a professional carrier. Using Unity to create games they will learn to program in C# or they can build apps for iOS with XCode and learn Swift as they do so. To enable this, and to ensure our students have the latest technology at their disposal, we have just equipped our latest newly refurbished room with a suite of brand new iMacs.

The computing department also runs a wide range of co-curricular clubs for students of all ages. These change depending on the needs and interests of students and have included Code Club, filming, animation, both Lego and VEX robotics, Scratch, game making, mobile app development, Raspberry Pi and computer engineering. Past projects have included a full-size replica arcade machine complete with games designed and programed by students, racing drones with bespoke aerodynamic parts built in the 3D department and a six legged walking robot complete with AI.

Many of these clubs are run in the Innovation Centre which was opened in 2016 and generously funded by the PFA. The centre includes a video conference suite, green screen recording studio and a project room providing space for building hardware and electronics. Students have access to both Windows and Apple Macintosh computers, a DJI Phantom 3 drone and an HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset.

Exam Boards

IGCSE Computer Science, Cambridge International Examinations, https://bit.ly/2Kptl64

A Level Computer Science, OCR, https://bit.ly/1PIZ7Ia

 

Biographies

Neil Stokes BSc (Hons), Surrey, MA, King’s College, London, Head of Computing and Digital Creativity

Neil graduated from the University of Surrey with a degree in Biology and Theology in 1994 and a PGCE the following year. He started his teaching career at St Andrew’s School in Leatherhead before moving to Warlingham School where he was a lead IT trainer, training teachers to use the newly installed computer network. He was also instrumental in designing their first IT teaching courses. During this time, he studied a range of computer science degree courses with the Open University. In 2001 he moved to Reigate Grammar School to teach Physics and IT. Neil was promoted to Head of IT in 2007 where he set about transforming the department into computer science, creating the most successful department in school, achieving a 100% A* to A pass rate at GCSE in his last two years in charge. In 2011 he was awarded an MA in IT education from King’s College, London. In March 2014 he was promoted to the Senior Leadership Team as a Senior Teacher. He joined Caterham School in 2016.

Adrian Lewis BA (Hons), University of Wales, Aberystwyth, DipM, Charted Institute of Marketing, Teacher of Computing and Business

Adrian graduated from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth with a degree in History and International Politics in 1989. He then worked for Reed Elsevier in a variety of management roles, including Sales, Marketing and Customer Service before transferring to the IT department as a Business Analyst. He changed careers in 2010 when he completed his PGCE. He started his teaching career at Reigate Grammar School teaching IT and Business, before converting to become a Computer Science teacher. He has studied a wide variety of courses during this time and worked closely with Neil when the department was transformed into computer science. He joined Caterham School in 2017.

Back to Academic Departments