Purpose of Study

A high-quality computing education equips pupils to understand and change the world through logical thinking and creativity, including by making links with mathematics, science, and design and technology. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, and how digital systems work. Computing equips pupils to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of media. It also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.


The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

Attainment Targets

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

Subject Content

Key Stage 3

Pupils should be taught to:

  • design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
  • understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking, such as ones for sorting and searching; use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem
  • use two or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems; make appropriate use of data structures such as lists, tables or arrays; design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions
  • understand simple Boolean logic (such as AND, OR and NOT) and some of its uses in circuits and programming
  • understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
  • understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits
  • understand and use binary digits, such as to be able to convert between binary and decimal and perform simple binary addition
  • undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users
  • create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability
  • understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns.

Key Stage 4

All pupils must have the opportunity to study aspects of information technology and computer science at sufficient depth to allow them to progress to higher levels of study or to a professional career.

All pupils should be taught to:

  • develop their capability, creativity and knowledge in computer science, digital media and information technology
  • develop and apply their analytic, problem-solving, design, and computational thinking skills
  • understand how changes in technology affect safety, including new ways to protect their online privacy and identity, and how to report concerns.
Subject GCSE Computer Science
Examination Board OCR
Specification Computing – J276
Assessment 20% Controlled Assessment 80% Examination
English Baccalaureate Yes

Course Summary

OCR’s GCSE (9–1) in Computer Science will encourage learners to:

  • understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation
  • analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs
  • think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems

Content Overview

Content Assessment
Computer Systems
  • Systems Architecture
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Wired and wireless networks
  • Network topologies, protocols and layers
  • System security
  • System software
  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns
Computer Systems
80 marks
1 hour and 30 minutes
Written paper (no calculators allowed)
40% of total GCSE
Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming
  • Algorithms
  • Programming techniques
  • Producing robust programs
  • Computational logic
  • Translators and facilities of languages
  • Data representation
Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming
80 marks
1 hour and 30 minutes
Written paper (no calculators allowed)
40% of total GCSE
Programming Project
  • Programming techniques
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing and evaluation and conclusions
Programming Project
40 marks
Totalling 20 hours
Non-exam assessment (NEA)
20% of total GCSE

Key Stage 4 (Current Year 10)

Subject Technical Award in IT (Level 2)
Examination Board AQA
Specification 3735
Assessment 60% Controlled Assessment, 40% Examination
English Baccalaureate No

Course Summary

IT is about the real world, practical application of theory. IT professionals are the users of technology, utilizing established building blocks and existing operating systems, software and applications, to create a system to solve a problem. IT professionals interact with clients and coworkers, and help to explain how to solve technology problems or work to construct a technology solution that meets a need.

This qualification will equip learners with the necessary knowledge and skills to translate business/user needs into practical and workable IT solutions. Learners taking this qualification will study the fundamental knowledge, understanding and skills required in the two IT occupational areas covered by this specification: creative and data management.

Learning will take place through a mixture of real life case studies, practical tasks and a study of theoretical concepts, enabling learners to develop their IT knowledge, understanding and skills.

Learning will be engaging and take place in a vocational context, allowing the learner to create products or artefacts that demonstrate their ability to put theory into practice.
This qualification is modular and is split into three units. One is an externally assessed exam and the other two are internally assessed.

Unit 1: Practical Skills in IT

What’s assessed

This unit assesses the knowledge and understanding of the theoretical content associated with a range of core IT skills. Learners will undertake a number of projects/samplings to demonstrate
their level of competency.

How it’s assessed
  • Internally assessed
  • 36 GLH (guided learning hours) approx
  • 60 marks
  • 30% of Technical Award

Tasks will cover 10 practical skills from two skills groups. The learner wil carry out these tasks and provide a portfolio of evidence.

Examples of acceptable forms of evidence for this unit are:

  • photographs
  • screenshots
  • witness statements.

Learners produce:

  • a variety of small IT systems that demonstrate their skills within two skills groups
  • a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates their skills containing a page of screenshots and/or photos for each of the 10 skills addressed.

Unit 2: Creating IT systems

What’s assessed

This unit assesses a learner’s knowledge and understanding of tie frieoretical content associated with planning, testing and evaluating IT systems.

  • design a solution to an IT related problem
  • design solutions that meet user needs
  • explain their choices when creating a suitable design
  • use suitable design tools effectively
  • create suitable Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) interfaces
  • design suitable security methods to meet the needs of the user
  • create effective test plans
  • justify the use of suitable test data
  • generate and use correct expected outcomes
  • create an appropriate IT system to achieve user requirements
  • carry out effective testing to establish whether user requirements have been achieved
  • evaluate their created system against user requirements.
How it’s assessed
  • Internally assessed
  • 36 GLH approx
  • 60 marks
  • 30% of Award

An AQA-set task will be provided year. The learner will create an IT system and provide a portfolio of evidence. Examples of the forms of evidence for this unit are:

  • products
  • presentations
  • photographs
  • witness statements
  • observations
  • screenshots

Learners produce a written portfolio containing evidence of:

  • full design plan for the IT system
  • choice and justification of software used for the IT system
  • creation of the IT system
  • full test plan
  • test evidence showing that the test plan has been carried out
  • evaluation of the IT system.

Unit 3: Fundamentals of IT

What’s assessed

The knowledge, understanding and skills from across the specification.

How it’s assessed
  • Externally assessed
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 48 GLH approx
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of Technical Award

A range of question types will be used. Some questions will be based on case study prompt material and will test the learner’s application of knowledge, whilst others will test recall, understanding and skills.

The number and type of questions set will vary from series to series. As a guide:

  • a number of multiple choice questions, each having up to two marks
  • short answer questions, each having up to six marks
  • one or two extended response questions each having up to nine marks.

Key Stage 4 (Current Year 11)

Subject Information and Communications Technology
Examination Board Edexcel
Specification 2IT01
Assessment 60% Controlled Assessment 40% Examination
English Baccalaureate No

What will pupils learn on this course?

UNIT 1: Living in a Digital World

In this unit, pupils explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society. Pupils learn about current and emerging digital technologies and the issues raised by their use in a range of contexts (learning and earning, leisure, shopping and money management, health and well-being, on the move). They develop awareness of the risks that are inherent in using ICT and the features of safe, secure and responsible practice.

UNIT 2: Using Digital Tools

This is a practical unit. Pupils broaden and enhance their ICT skills and capability. They work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts. Pupils learn to reflect critically on their own and others’ use of ICT and to adopt safe, secure and responsible practice. They put into practice what they learned about digital technology in Unit 1.

More information about the course.

How will pupils be assessed on this course?

A Written paper – Externally Assessed
Pupils have 90 minutes for the written paper (40% of the final grade)

A Controlled Assessment Brief (CAB) provided by Edexcel, marked by teachers and moderated by Edexcel. Pupils have 40 hours to complete the CAB (60% of the final grade).

What kind of work will pupils need to do outside of lessons?

Skills in using the various programs employed in ICT lessons will help improve the quality of work produced when attempting the CAB, so practice and development and enhanced knowledge of the numerous functions within them will undoubtedly help. The CAB will be available online throughout the course, so regular checks on what is expected will improve understanding of the four activities and set tasks.

Revision will be required for the examination component and also for any other school set tests undertaken during the course.

What could pupils go on to do at the end of the course?

There are a whole host of Computing related courses on offer post-16, from Computing, Computer Graphics, Game Authoring and ICT through to the more technically related qualifications. Most of these lead on to qualifications at university level and, of course, a whole range of careers in the IT Industry.

Additional Information

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