The study of Computer Science is a relatively recent addition to our School curriculum and is already proving very popular. Computing and computer technology are part of just about everything that touches our lives from the cars we drive, to the films we watch, to the ways businesses and governments deal with us. It is not an exaggeration to say that our lives depend upon computer systems and the people who maintain them. We hope that we can show our pupils that they can be so much more than just the users of this technology. They can aspire to be the innovators capable of changing the lives of millions of people.
This is an area of lives where it is almost impossible to predict what will happen next and so it is becoming increasingly important that we train our young to develop the skills necessary to become flexible, intelligent problem solvers. As a department we believe that this should be nurtured in a creative, challenging and supportive environment.
Unlike ICT, which focusses on the vocational software side of computer use, preparing pupils for business work, Computer Science is a strong academic subject, focussing primarily on problem solving and the writing of algorithms, called computational thinking. With technology taking over many aspects of day to day life, from the operating theatre to autonomous vehicles, it is important that we tackle problems in a way that can be carried out by a computer/robot. This is not an easy skill to master and indeed, Computer Science is a challenging and well-respected discipline. The Russell Group of leading universities (including Oxbridge) now list Computer Science as a useful subject for many university degrees, including:
- Geology/Earth Sciences
- Mechanical/Electrical/Electronic Engineering
As Computer Science is taught and offered in more and more schools, it is a subject that will start to appear as an essential qualification for many of these subjects. For example physicists are often required to create computer simulations, which often require creating from scratch. At its heart, Computer Science, like Physics is an applied mathematics field. However, at GCSE we do not require strong mathematical skills, just good problem solving abilities.
In the course, we also investigate the development of technology and the part it plays in modern life, as well as spending time creating computer programs and working with Raspberry PIs to build interesting projects.
Computer Science is an exciting, modern subject and designed to equip pupils with 21st century skills for jobs, many of which do not even exist yet.