ICT FACILITIES AT ST. MARY’S COLLEGE
Mr N Vagianos
Pupils at St. Marys's College enjoy a widely varied ICT curriculum providing pupils with the confidence to become independent learners able to make informed choices regarding their ICT usage. We aim to ensure that all pupils are capable of researching, processing, storing, analysing, exchanging and presenting information using a range of modern applications and high speed internet access. Pupils study a wide range of application areas, exposing them to both creative and technical topics within the subject. Whilst the curriculum followed in years 7 and 8 is influenced by the national curriculum, as an independent school we have the flexibility, and expertise, to vary the topics of study undertaken to best suit the needs of individual year groups. In year 9 pupils will have the opportunity to study software development, through a practical introductory course in computer programming, and aspects of computer science. Throughout the remainder of their time at the college, pupils will study toward a nationally recognised qualification in ICT producing work to an extremely high standard, which has been consistently described as 'of outstanding quality' by external examiners.
All pupils are catered for in their study of ICT at St. Mary's College and we have spent much time preparing a wide range of support materials tailored to the needs of our pupils. We are currently engaged in a process of preparing a range of video tutorials, covering the software taught at the college to provide all pupils with the confidence to engage with the topics taught. These tutorials are made available through the college's VLE to provide access for pupils at school and at home. The remote access system employed by the college also gives pupils access to their work and a variety of applications to enable them to effectively work from home.
We recognise that our pupils ability to effectively utilise the ICT facilities available to them at the college can positively affect their study, and enjoyment of other subjects in the varied curriculum offered. To this end the ICT department provides support to other departments within the college and a fully equipped ICT suite for other subjects to book as required.
St Mary's is exceptionally well equipped to meet the need for ICT in modern education, with a number of modern well equipped ICT rooms, including a dedicated suite in the Sixth Form Block, as well as several other significant clusters of machines. We have established a modern school-wide network of more than 200 workstations providing access for students to their work wherever they are in school. Students have a range of modern applications to use and high speed internet access. We also have video-conferencing and digital imaging facilities, and a rapidly increasing number of interactive whiteboards and projectors in each department.
The school continues to invest heavily each year in ICT and over the summer a number of major improvements were made including; a new suite of computers were added to DT for graphics, new thin client machines have also been installed in the main computer room, and upgrades for machines in other areas. In addition the school is piloting a VLE enabling students & parents to access work from home.Other significant upgrades to the network infrastructure were also put in place during the summer, giving us a robust, up-to-date network. The Board of Governors supports a policy of rolling upgrading and replacement to ensure that our equipment is kept up to date.