Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest

Computer Science & ICT

Academic Year 2016/2017

Head of Department:
Mr C Deighan

Teaching Staff:
Mr S Murtagh

Mr S Gallagher

Network Manager:
Mr K Elgin

We are part of the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science and Computing At School

What is Computer Science?
Computer Science is the study of how computers and computer systems work and how they are built and programmed. Its primary aspects are drawn from the disciplines of Technology, Design, Engineering, Mathematics, and the Sciences.
Computer Science has many sub-fields.  These include: computer graphics; digital hardware design; communication networks; and, computer programming.
Computer Science is a discipline, like mathematics or physics, that explores foundational principles and ideas (such as techniques for developing search engines or developing a brand new phone), rather than artefacts (such as word-processor or a game, that already exist), although it may use the latter to explain the former. 
Loreto College is the only school in the Coleraine area to be part of the British Computer Society-backed Network of Teaching Excellence (NTE).  NTE schools work in conjunction with Computing at School to raise the standard of Computer Science and ICT across all schools.

What is ICT?
Information and Communication Technology is the study of the systems that are used throughout everyday life and work to allow humans to develop, share and process information. The rapidly changing world of ICT has affected older communications methods, such as newspapers, books and television as well as leading to new media, such as social networking websites.

ICT is a skills-based course focussing, typically, on the use of applications such as word processing and spreadsheets. ICT skills are fundamental to ALL areas of the curriculum, as are literacy and numeracy.  That is, ICT emphasises the study of hardware and software that already exist, rather than the creation of new hardware or software.
As can be seen, there is a significant difference between ICT and Computing, though the two should be seen as complimentary and not as rivals.

ICT Facilities at Loreto
There are three specialist ICT rooms containing 75 network stations, open from 8.30am to 4.30pm daily In addition to the ICT rooms, students have access to clusters of PCs in the Library and Science, HE, and Careers departments. All stations have filtered Internet access. There is a wide range of modern software and electronic reference material available to students and staff. All staff and students have access to their work from home, via C2k.

Key Stage 3
In Year 8 & 9, ICT is timetabled for one period per week.  As well as developing end-user ICT skills, elements of Computer Science are introduced.   ICT skills are reinforced in cross-curricular work, which is included in assessment.  Skills taught include office applications, graphic and web design, and game development.  
In other subject areas, teachers bring classes to the computer rooms when it is appropriate, in support of their subjects and cross-curricular ICT assessment. 

Key Stage 4
Both GCSE ICT and GCSE Computer Science are offered as optional subjects.  Students are given clear guidance on the differences between the two subjects, and the career areas which one or other are suitable for.
In ICT, the CCEA course is followed.  Practical assessment is worth 60% of the mark.  In Year 11, this focuses on office applications and introducing graphics editing. In Year 12, this emphasises web-design and games development. A theory-based exam sat at the end of Year 12 makes up the remaining 40% of the mark.
Students who complete the best GCSE Controlled Assessment work are awarded the AVX prize.

In Computer Science, the WJEC course is followed.  This course emphasises a good understanding of how computers function, at a hardware level.  By the end of the course, students are expected to be confident programmers.  Practical work, worth 25% of the final mark, tests a student's ability to solve problems through writing new software, and through breaking them into manageable pieces.  Languages used here include C#, Java and JavaScript. 

A Level
Software Systems Development is offered at both AS and A2

What is Software Development?
Software development is the process of developing software through successive phases in an orderly way. This process includes not only the actual writing of code but also the preparation of requirements and objectives, the design of what is to be coded, and testing that what is developed has met objectives.

A level Software Systems Development was introduced to try to encourage and foster development of key object-oriented programming skills, a key requirement for anyone considering choosing a career in the software development industry.

This course offered by CCEA aims to help students to:

  • develop a genuine interest in programming in software systems development;
  • develop an understanding of systems approaches and modelling techniques;
  • develop skills that will prepare them for work in today’s software industry;
  • participate in developing a software project using a complete software development process;
  • apply their skills to work-related scenarios;
  • research, develop and present their findings in a variety of formats;
  • develop advanced study skills to prepare for third level education; and
  • demonstrate their understanding and application of key concepts through assessments.
Extra-curricular ICT
ICT rooms are open from 8.30am to 4.30pm daily for students who wish to study. In addition, extra-curricular activities such as programming, graphics and web-design are available.  Since 2010, this has included a programming club, offered in conjunction with the University of Ulster.