Key Stage 3

Students at Ricards Lodge are taught that computers are a tool; a means to an end. It is important to understand the role that computers play in our modern, hi-tech society. Students also learn the knowledge, and develop the key skills, that they will need if they choose to continue studying IT in Years 10 and 11.

During Key Stage 3 students learn to: make computer games and animations; design and build websites; understand the binary notation system; create algorithms to solve computational problems; write simple computer programmes in several languages; efficiently use word-processing, presentation and DTP software; produce digital graphics to enhance and improve communication & presentation; design and manipulate spreadsheet models; use relational databases to store, edit, query and retrieve information; and safely and effectively use the internet for research

How parents can help:

Because computers are so widely used in most businesses, IT experts must have the ability to communicate with complete beginners. To help students develop this essential skill parents could ask students to teach them how to use computers, as well as asking them to explain their technical knowledge in a way that anybody could understand.

Key Stage 4

Students can study the Edexcel GCSE in ICT. There are two units: one is theory-based and ends with a written exam at the end of Year 11; the other is a practical unit, with controlled assessments throughout the course. This GCSE explores how different technologies (e.g. digital devices, social networking and online shopping) impact on every aspect of our daily lives: learning and earning, leisure, shopping and money management, health and well being and on the move. Students learn to be ‘savvy IT users’, who understand the risks as well as the benefits and use ICT safely and responsibly. The emphasis is on ‘doing’ rather than ‘writing about’, so it helps develop important transferable skills including problem-solving, creative thinking and collaborative working. Of course, not all students will want to pursue the subject further. Nevertheless, they will find that the skills they have gained will help them succeed in whatever they wish to do in the future.

We will also soon be introducing a GCSE in Computing, which will give students a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works, including computer programming. This will provide excellent preparation for higher study and employment in the field of computer science. The increasing importance of information technologies means there will be a growing demand for professionals who are qualified in this area. However, the course will also be excellent preparation for students who want to study or work in areas such as engineering, finance, science and medicine. Students will develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-to-day life.


Key Stage 5

Students can study the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in IT. This course allows them to gain a thorough understanding of computer systems and the management of information technology, and to learn how computers are used in the world of business. Students may progress to studying IT and computing at   university, and/or to working in IT. There are two compulsory units and four  options chosen from a wide range. In the compulsory units students learn about the IT industry, as well as learning how to set up and maintain computer systems. The optional units include Digital Graphics; Information Systems; Website Production; and e-Commerce.


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