Our weekly blog has been written by Mr Hamilton, Head of Computing and IT Science, who talks of the amazing trips the department have embarked on to date and how his hopes are to set Bethany Pupils up for the digital future.
As we come to the close of another School year at Bethany, it is always a good time to reflect on what achievements have been made both in the Computer Science department and across the School. It will be an especially poignant time as I move on from Bethany at the end of this year.
Celebrating an early achievement in William Stoneham in Year 13 being awarded a Distinction* at the end of his course has been an accolade for the Computer Science department. William is looking to go on to work and train in IT and I hope he will be able to use the skills he has acquired from his time in the subject in his future prospects. Since offering a course at Key Stage 5 level, the department has seen a number of pupils go on to work, train or access higher education in IT and the digital industry and it is always exciting to see what they go on to do.
It has been the mantra of the department that being able to go out and visit industry and external places of learning allows you to understand the world that you couldn’t learn in a textbook. This year we have been able to visit Industrial Light and Magic and Pembury Hospital with the sixth formers, as well as undertake virtual masterclasses with Electric Square Games Studio. During my time at Bethany, I have been able to take GCSE pupils to The National Museum of Computing, The Crystal in London, the BETT Show and, most notably, the San Francisco trip in 2018. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the next big trip to Tokyo had to be rescinded but it paves a way to hold another international academic trip in the future. Learning new skills and experiences doesn’t just happen in the classroom and trips and visits will continue to be a big part of the department.
This term, pupils in Key Stage 3 have been able to show their creative side in the subject. Year 7 pupils have been dancing along to ‘Three Is The Magic Number’ to create a music video using video editing software on their laptops, while Year 8 have been getting to grips with photo advertisements and promoting Bethany School. Year 9 pupils have been learning about HTML and CSS code to create websites and what is involved in creating them. These project-based methods of learning will encourage teamwork, research and collaboration skills that can be used in other subjects.
In the wider IT department at Bethany, we have seen lots of changes to our ways of working and developing more avenues to teaching and learning over the years. In my time we have successfully moved from the FireFly VLE to Microsoft Teams, become more cloud based with our infrastructure and have brought online more services for staff, pupils, and parents to use. We have also been selected as a Showcase School for the second year, an accolade that the School is immensely proud of and will look to apply for the status again next year. I would like to pay my thanks to Mr Crafter and Mr Thorncroft, our in-house IT Technicians, and to WestSpring IT, our IT outsourcing arm. Together, the department has been working to support the School in its endeavours.
It has been an honour and a privilege to work at Bethany School since 2017; it is an excellent place to learn and pupils achieve highly in all areas. As we prepare our pupils for the world of tomorrow, it would be a fitting tribute to know that all pupils have developed their digital skills and can meet the demands of what is to come.
Head of Computer Science and IT Services