Oliver Williams, CAS member and Head of ICT & Computing at Queen Elizabeth High School shares how CS helped boost his schools ranking.
Computing at Queen Elizabeth High School had some great results last year, and certainly helped the school attain its best ever results! 42% of the cohort gained A*-A, six students got over 85%, with two very close to maximum UMS in 451, with one gaining full marks. In the coursework units, almost a third of the students achieved over 85%. Beyond the day-to-day work that goes into a great set of results, there was plenty going on behind-the-scenes.
My experience before teaching
14 years of teaching was preceded by nearly 10 years of experience in the IT industry, covering most areas of the development life-cycle. This has provided me with so many stories to help bring my teaching to life- such as a colleague's poor testing nearly triggering a £5 million direct debit rather than £2.65 and another who tried to extort money from the company with a very early (and failed) attempt at ransomware (10 years before the term had been created!).
We had some excellence coursework projects
As so much relied on coursework, it was vital that this was successful. Careful analysis of controlled assessment options- based on the skills of staff, availability of the technology required, and the interests of students- led to some excellent projects. Students will not rise to the challenge of a task they see no relevance in, or where they cannot be adequately supported.
When it comes to exam preparation, I'm always looking out for good ideas. Obviously past papers and questions help, but keeping up the momentum is vital. Mixing up revision tasks helped a lot. A range of games, team challenges and quizzes got students motivated. Many of these came from forums such as CAS, so thank you to those who took the time to create them for the rest of us!
I really like the 6-a-day from ComputerScienceUK as quick starters and homework- to help keep students on their toes as they are nicely mixed up!
It's a whole school effort
It certainly wasn't just computing that helped the school. There was also a huge effort across the whole school to maintain and raise standards, with staff across departments coping well with the beginnings of the transition to the 9-1 system.
Hard working students