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.

Key Stage 4 (Current Year 10)

Subject GCSE Computing
Examination Board OCR
Specification Computing – J275
Assessment 60% Controlled Assessment  40% Examination
English Baccalaureate Yes

Course Summary

Unit A451: Computer systems and programming

This unit covers the body of knowledge about computer systems on which the examination will be based.

1 hour 30 minutes Written paper – 80 marks (40%)

Unit A452: Practical investigation

An investigative computing task, chosen from a list provided by OCR, Controlled assessment which assesses the following: research, technical understanding, analysis of problem, historical perspective, use of technical writing skills, recommendations/evaluation.

Investigative task. OCR-set scenario with a choice of research tasks. – 45 marks (30%)

Unit A453: Programming Project

Pupils will need to:

  • Understand standard programming techniques
  • Be able to design a coded solution to a problem

including the ability to:

  • Create a coded solution fully annotating the developed code to explain its function
  • Identify test procedures.
  • Identify suitable variables and structures
  • Design suitable input and output formats
  • Develop suitable algorithms
  • Test their solution:
  • To show functionality
  • To show how it matches the design criteria
  • Identifying successes and any limitations.
Controlled assessment

Programming task. Design, develop and test a solution to a problem within the OCR-set scenario. – 45 marks (30%) Practical investigation

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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