In January, Marlwood will launch a new pilot programme for KS3 Computing to cover core curriculum content, and ensure learners have the prerequisite skills, knowledge and confidence to take a GCSE in Computer Science or BTEC Digital Information in Technology if they wish.
The new programme follows a project-based learning approach, with the KS3 Computing Programme of Study (PoS) delivered using the Level 1 Foundation Project Qualification (FPQ) as the framework for skills delivery and as the end-point assessment for the course. The whole course is designed to be delivered via Google Classroom, so that teaching and learning can take place during timetabled IT classrooms in the computer lab or remotely (this works well for the independent project part of the course and will also mean learning can continue if pupils are sent home to isolate).
Pearson, one of the UK awarding bodies that awards the L1, L2 and L3 Project Qualification, is creating a scheme of work for the pilot and providing an online toolkit of resource links, templates and checklists, which enables centres to effectively deliver the course online.
After completing the training, Marlwood teachers will use IT lessons to deliver the Pearson scheme of work to over 200 year 7, 8 and 9 learners. Learners will cover the KS3 PoS content and then complete small-scale project assignments as a means of exploring topics more deeply, as well as developing their project management and independent learning skills. So, for example, they might be asked to work collaboratively to develop a video on e-safety; this would nicely fit with the expectations of the KS3 PoS as well as helping to facilitate the development of the project skills they will need for the FPQ.
Having explored the KS3 Computing content and worked on a small-scale project, learners will work on a larger-scale project, for which they will be expected to choose their own title, carry out research, engage in critical analysis of ideas, and reflect on the learning process. Learners can opt to produce written reports, artefacts or performances. By the end of the course, learners will have gained a Level 1 FPQ which is equivalent to half a GCSE, so they’re already entering KS4 with an accredited level 1 qualification under their belt and key transitional and future skills.
The partnership with Pearson has emerged at a crucial time in our improvement journey. In our recent inspection the new curriculum was identified as the ‘bedrock’ of our improvement, however, as a school our computing curriculum has been a real concern for me both in terms of subject specialist and an assessment approach that supports deep learning and meaningful progress.
The opportunity to combine the project qualification approach with the development of staff confidence in delivering the curriculum affords us the opportunity to provide a sustainable, engaging and meaningful curriculum experience for our students in an area which plays a vital role in their lives as well as the local economy.
- Del Planter, Headteacher, Marlwood School
This is the perfect example of how the FPQ can provide a framework for project skills development and subsequent assessment, leading up to an accredited qualification that forms the end-point of the project computing course. The attractions of project work lie in the fact that projects offer an opportunity for a more engaging learning process, one which allows learners to pursue their own interests, develop their critical thinking, research and employability skills, and which links learning to the real world much more directly than tends to happen when the focus is simply on jumping an examination hoop. As a model for the future of assessment, projects have a lot to offer.
John Taylor, Pearson EPQ Chief Examiner and Director of Learning, Teaching and Innovation at Cranleigh
Jenna Tinkle, Pearson Project Qualification Product Manager