Computer Science

The Computer Science Department embraces the innovative, creative and inquisitive minds of students at Dubai College. This new department is about to embark on its first full year of Computer Science across all year groups 7 to 13.

Inspiring young minds to question not only why, but why not, is at the forefront of our ethos on learning. Encouraging a growth mindset in order to explore challenging problems whilst embracing failure as a point of learning, rather than a setback, is also part of our culture.

Our aim is to equip students with the skills, tools, understanding, knowledge and resilience required to solve computational problems, whilst engaging them with new experiences, new technologies and new ideas, so that they are well prepared for future learning.

The Computer Science Department is well resourced with access to desktop computers at a 1:1 ratio. We also have a variety of hardware that we encourage students to explore, including: RaspberryPi’s, BBC MicroBits, Drones, Sphero’s and more. As well as this we have appropriate software that enables students to explore programming in variety of languages including C, Python, Visual Basic, Scratch, HTML, CSS and more.

There are currently four full-time members of the Department, with over 40 years of experience in teaching ICT and Computer Science.

Lower School

Year 7 and 8 are part of the 3 subject carousel (Art, D&T, Computer Science). This means that they are on rotation of 5-7 week blocks of one subject, meaning we see them for 3 lessons a week for 2 blocks a year. Throughout the year all students will engage with at least 36 lessons of Computer Science. During this time class sizes will be no greater than 15.

In Year 7 Students explore the following topics:

  • E-Safety
  • Understanding Computers
  • Designing and Solving Computational Problems - Flowol
  • Introduction to Python Programming

In Year 8 Students explore the following topics:

  • Python programming next steps
  • Blocky Programming - Scratch
  • HTML & CSS Web Development

All students are assessed after each unit and then given Dedicated Improvement Reflection Time (DIRT) so that they can identify areas they can investigate further, explore in more detail or set SMART targets to aid future learning.

At the end of Year 8 students are asked to choose between Latin or Computer Science to study in Year 9.

If Students opt to take Computer Science in Year 9 they will have 2 lessons a week and will explore the following topics:

  • Computer Networks
  • Programming Paradigms
  • Computer Architecture
  • Creative Gaming
  • Python Projects

All students are assessed after each unit and then given Dedicated Improvement Reflection Time (DIRT) so that they can identify areas they can investigate further, explore in more detail or set SMART targets to aid future learning.

At the end of Year 9 students may opt to take GCSE Computer Science.

Middle School

All students in Years 10 and 11 will experience at least one lesson a week of Digital Skills. The Digital Skills Curriculum follows a bespoke Program of Study created by the Computer Science Department at Dubai College in collaboration with Dubai College Alumni.

It is a skills based curriculum that is up-to-date, relevant and backed up by industry research. Throughout the two years, the students will explore the following topics:

  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • E-mail
  • Spreadsheets
  • Office 365
  • Word Processing
  • Profe3ssional Publications
  • Effective Research
  • Problem Solving
Those students that have opted to take Computer Science at GCSE in Year 10 will complete a two year course of three lessons a week. Students will follow the AQA Exam Board Specification, which is extensive, thorough, and appropriately challenging for the students of Dubai College.

The Specification can be viewed here:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/computer-science-and-it/gcse/computer-science-8520

Sixth Form

Those students that have opted to take Computer Science at A Level will complete a two year course of six lessons a week. Students will follow the AQA Exam Board Specification which is a linear specification.

The specification is extensive, covering topics explored in first year university courses in Computer Science. There is a lot of breadth to the course, which allows students to explore further the specific interests they have in the subject. This then helps support their creativity as they are allowed to choose their own project for the Non Exam Assessment (coursework).

Further details about the course can be viewed here:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/computer-science-and-it/as-and-a-level/computer-science-7516-7517

What makes a good teacher at Dubai College?

Someone who is passionate about their subject and a life-long learner. Someone who is collaborative, approachable, honest, fair and dedicated.

What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?

A growth mindset. We want our students not to be afraid to take risks, we want them to show resilience when solving problems, creativity when exploring solutions and not be afraid to fail.

In your opinion, what makes Dubai College special?

The students, the longevity and commitment of the staff and the support of parents.

Who or what inspires you?

Students who show passion in what they do, students who are hungry for learning and will go that extra mile to challenge themselves and others.

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

I once had trials for the England Basketball team.

Mr M Wood, Head of ICT and Computer Science

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Meet the staff

Sharon Chandler

Sharon Chandler

Titles: Teacher of ICT & Computer Science
Stuart Forsyth

Stuart Forsyth

Titles: Teacher of Computer Science
Mark Wood

Mark Wood

Titles: Head of Computer Science & ICT
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