Cardiff school leads the way

Kings Monkton inspires next generation of computer science innovators

One of the longest-established schools in Cardiff, Kings Monkton, has unveiled a unique computer science curriculum that is placing its pupils at the cutting edge of digital innovation.

Created with support from Cardiff University and the first of its kind in the UK, the curriculum is completely bespoke and has been created in line with the university to ensure its younger cohorts are literate in computer science by year nine.

With coding high on the agenda but only currently taught in England as of last September, the course has been developed to harness the coding talent of its pupils and make sure they are fully equipped with the skills required in further and higher education. 

The curriculum sees elements of The WJEC GCSE Computer Science course being taught to its pupils in years seven, eight and nine – a level normally taught to those in years 10 and 11 only. 

Now, the team at Kings Monkton is working with the support of the university to develop specialist recommendations that will be shared with all other schools in Wales and pave the way for other institutions to imbed the lessons into their own courses. 

Kings Monkton offers fully-inclusive independent education for children of all abilities and backgrounds. It is also home to a brand-new sixth form academy, which opened in September 2014, complete with state-of-the-art technology and equipment and offering a range of qualifications including A-levels, BTECs and Welsh Baccalaureate. 

Speaking of the collaboration, Adam Speight, Head of Computer Science at Kings Monkton said: “With young peoples’ digital literacy and computational thinking hurtling forward at a speed of knots, for us it’s integral to make sure our pupils leave the school fully armed with a strong set of skills which are required in today’s competitive digital industry.”

As part of the link up, girls in both years nine and 10 recently paid a visit to the university to participate in a number of lectures and ‘Technocamps’ workshops to celebrate Women in Computer Science Day and highlight the opportunities available to women in the industry. The day included a ‘hack session’, in which they were shown equipment the police and army use to recover data from electronic devices. The lecturers also showed them how to recover lost data from sim cards, mobiles and an iPad.

Helen Phillips, Lecturer in the School of Computer Science & Informatics at Cardiff University, said: “Digital literacy and computational thinking are now essential skills, with computers pervading our everyday lives. The University and Technocamps welcomes the exciting opportunity to support schools and teachers in their development of innovative schemes of work. 

“These engagement links enable us to develop resources and events that both support the national curriculum and highlight the Universities research. An understanding of the changes to the computing curriculum and current teaching pedagogy will help us support students in their future transition to university.”   

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