Many of us are irritated by  the recent frequency of messages about accepting cookies when accessing websites.  I am reassured that they can be a help, and not all Cookies are a problem.   Our boys are taught about identifying the problematic cookies, and when to ignore them.  Our Computing and IT department is one which is at the forefront of innovation needing to respond and adjust more frequently than many others.  The constantly updating demands from a hardware, and software perspective, present a particular challenge.  The key motivation behind the KS3 curriculum is to ensure our boys understand and develop skills, as well as knowledge, for the modern digital world, in preparation for life beyond West Hill. The taught curriculum is predominantly computer science focused, so as to ensure pupils are also adequately prepared for the transition onto the GCSE Computer Science course.

Additionally, pupils are given the opportunity to develop digital literacy proficiencies. This is to ensure they are adequately prepared for utilising their digital skills in their KS4 years. Once boys move into KS4, we aim to develop higher level skills and knowledge.  In addition, we offer the GCSE Computer Science course and this has a very high uptake compared to other schools.  Our boys have developed their coding skills and represented the school with success in local competitions.  Projects can range from; simple java script games of find the missing shoe, to creating Apps for storing loose change, to building robots to play xylophone.

All of this is dependent on an IT infrastructure that can support the increasing learning demands from staff and boys as well as significant administration requirements, which impact on all organisations.  Our dedicated IT support team ensure that there is minimal disruption to our ambitions. The last year or so has seen the expansion of our VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), by which our whole curriculum has been made available on line for our boys to access from home. We have a significant number of devices/pupil on site, but the access to devices at home is something we are more than aware of,  and we made significant efforts last year to ensure universal access was achieved. Moving forward this remains a challenge, not only for West Hill, as this does require significant investment.  School has done all we can to ensure all families can access our VLE, as it will underpin much of our learning moving forward. The pressure to also make home broadband affordable and reliable.  This beyond what schools can solve on their own.  This fact has recently been identified as a key issue to address nationally, with former Education secretaries co signing a letter on this matter  along with former Prime Minister Anthony Blair.

We at West Hill remain committed to doing everything we can, to support our boys’ learning on site as well as off site.

Mr Owens

Posted by Mr Owens on 18 June 2021

Category: Headteacher's Log Book

Tags: Computer Science Headteacher