COMPUTER SCIENCE AT DOWNSIDE

Head of Computing, Ian Ramsden, is committed to inspiring our pupils – from the First Form up to A level – to enjoy computer science, become accomplished programmers, and develop (transferable) skills such as problem solving, objective evaluation and logical thinking.

He is joined in the department this year by Siobhan Allen, a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. Siobhan has started a cross-curricular robotics project with the School’s Design Technology department. Using arduino boards, pupils will make circuits and programme algorithms to create and control devices in the real world such as light displays and mini vehicles. In DT they will use the 3D laser cutter to create their vehicle chassis and other components.

As well as their work in the classroom, Ian and Siobhan continue to support the School’s pupil-led Digital Leaders group. This year the group is headed by Upper Sixth Digital Leader prefect Marianna, who joined Downside for Sixth Form. The Digital Leaders affect real world change at Downside helping fellow pupils and staff to become better digital citizens, and take the lead on E-Safety and digital literacy within the School. The group is run in line with the leading online safety charity, Childnet Digital Leaders Programme. In a recent online study conducted by Childnet, 95% of teachers said that the programme has helped their school staff fulfil their safeguarding duties, and that they noticed safer online behaviours from young people as a result of the programme, and over 90% of Digital Leaders said the training made them feel more confident about educating other pupils in their school. Ian and the Digital Leaders group also provides E-Safety outreach work to local primary and prep schools.