The ICT curriculum is developed for the needs of the 21st Century Learner. A 21st Century student is expected not only to be converse with the latest software applications but to be able to take advantage of the rapid developments in technology.
In the Fourth Form the ICT curriculum is based on the Hodder Dynamic Learning Series; ICT InteraCT. The girls have access to the interactive books on the school network and the course enables pupils to be self-paced in their learning. The course provides both stretch and challenge for the more able and there are opportunities for pupils to create their own work and to work collaboratively. Discussion and feedback are central to the course and we make use of self review and peer review in most tasks. The girls are taught using Microsoft Office 2007 and in the Enrichment Weeks we develop skills in more advanced applications such as Macromedia Dreamweaver (web design), Fireworks (graphics), Flash (animation) photo and video editing.
In the Fifth and Sixth Form girls are expected to continue ICT studies and each girl is able to develop her own individual learning plan based on the wide range of qualifications outlined below. All girls in the Fifth Form take the ECDL and on completion we provide a range of options for those who wish to further develop their ICT skills.
European Computer Driving Licence
The ECDL programme is introduced in the LV Form and completed in the UV Form. The ECDL is an internationally recognised qualification administered by the British Computer Society and certifies competence in the Microsoft Office suite of programmes. Universities are keen for students to arrive with proof of ICT skills, and indeed in many cases make it a stipulation of entry. The ECDL is worth 10 UCAS points and can be converted into a GCSE with the completion of an extra module.
On completion of the ECDL, girls have the opportunity to develop their higher level computer skills by taking Advanced ECDL modules in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint. Certificates in each application are awarded individually; however, if all the modules are completed girls are awarded an additional 'ECDL Expert ' certificate. When all the modules have been completed there is the opportunity to gain an ‘A’ level qualification.
Most jobs in the 21st century involve use of a computer and the ability to use a keyboard efficiently is an important skill in the workplace. Good keyboard skills are essential. E-type is the modern equivalent of the RSA certificates, teaching speed and accuracy through 10-finger touch typing. The course is on-line and provides self-paced learning.
OCR AS and A Level ICT
ICT is available as an A Level option. At both AS and A2 there is a significant coursework element (40%); this practical element allows girls to be rewarded for their application as well as their theoretical knowledge. At A2 the girls complete a major study which requires the use of project management skills. The course examines new technologies and their impact on work and society.
St Mary’s girls and staff have excellent access to ICT facilities. There are several fully equipped bookable computer suites: two with 21 – 22 machines, another of 14 machines and one with 8 machines which is mostly, but not exclusively, used by Sixth Form classes. Girls are encouraged to have their own laptop from the UIV form and these are connected to the school internet and printing facilities. Girls have both wired and wireless access to the school network across the site, every House has a computer in the common room; more computers are available for general use in the UV and Sixth Form Houses. Interactive whiteboards are available in most departments and all teaching rooms have digital projectors. There are departmental digital cameras and digital video cameras are available for girls to sign out as they need to.
Mrs Anne Thornton (Head of ICT)