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computer science

Key Stage 3

Computer Science and ICT are taught together at Key Stage 3, and include practical elements such as; programming, image editing and game development.  As well as theoretical elements to help scholars understand the key concepts and how to apply those concepts.

Students are taught to be confident and safe users or commonly used digital technology (mobile phones, social media and the internet) and know what a crucial role computer science plays in our everyday lives)

Key Stage 3 units of work include;

  • Effective use of digital technology

  • The use of basic office applications, such as; word processing and presentation software

  • How technology impacts individuals, society and the environment

  • How technology is used in the real world

  • Analysis of computational problems, plan and write computer programs

Key Stage 4

The department offers two courses at Key Stage 4.  Both subjects are taught throughout Key Stage 3, and have the ability to choose one area to specialise in at Key Stage 4.

BTEC Digital Informational Technology

The BTEC in Digital Information Technology gives learners the opportunity to develop sector-specific knowledge and skills in a practical learning environment.

Scholars will;

  • Develop skills such as; project planning, designing and creating user interfaces, creating dashboards to present and interpret data

  • Research effective ways of working in digital information technology, such as; project planning, the design process, cyber security, virtual teams, legal and ethical codes of conduct

  • Develop skills on personal management and communication

  • Research how user interfaces meet user needs, how organisations collect and use data to make decisions, virtual workplaces, cyber security and legal and ethical issues

The course has 3 components.  2 of which are internally assessed components, and one that is externally assessed.


Component 1 - Exploring User Interface Design Principles and Project Planning Techniques (internally assessed)

Aim: Develop their understanding of what makes an effective user interface and how to effectively manage a project. They will use this understanding to plan, design and create a user interface.

  • Investigate user interface design for individuals and organisations

  • Use project planning techniques to plan and design a user interface

  • Develop and review a user interface.

  • internally assessed assignment(s)

  • 36 points

  • 30% of the total course

Component 2 - Collecting, Presenting and Interpreting Data (internally assessed)

Aim: Understand the characteristics of data and information and how they help organisations in decision making. They will use data manipulation methods to create a dashboard to present and draw conclusions from information.

  • Investigate the role and impact of using data on individuals and organisations

  • Create a dashboard using data manipulation tools

  • Draw conclusions and review data presentation methods.


  • internally assessed assignment(s)

  • 36 points

  • 30% of the total course

Component 3 - Effective Digital Working Practices (externally assessed)

Aim: Explore how organisations use digital systems and the wider implications associated with their use.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of facts, terms, processes and issues in relation to digital information technology

  • Apply an understanding of facts, terms, processes and issues in relation to digital information technology

  • Analyse, evaluate and make reasoned judgments about the use, factors and implications influencing digital information technology

  • Make connections with the concepts, issues, terms and processes in digital information technology


  • written exam (synoptic external assessment): 1 hour 30 minutes

  • 60 marks (48 points)

  • 40% of the total course

GCSE Computer Science (Exam Board: Edexcel)

The Edexcel GCSE in Computer Science is an essential course for anyone who wants to understand the enormous importance of computing in the world, today and in the future.

Scholars will gain an understanding of some of the most important concepts in the modern world, including algorithms, data handling, cyber security and systems architecture, as well as developing computer programming and problem-solving skills.

The aims and objectives of this qualification are to enable scholars 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

  • understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society

  • apply mathematical skills relevant to computer science


  • Algorithms

  • Requirements for programming

  • Binary representation, data representation, data storage and compression; encryption and databases

  • Components of computer systems; truth tables, logic statements and pseudo-code

  • Computer networks, the internet and the worldwide web

  • Emerging trends; impact on individuals, society and the environment; ethical and legal issues


Written Examination: Principles of Computer Science

  • 1 hour and 30 minutes

  • 75 marks (50% of the qualification)

This paper will assess Topics 1 to 5.

Topic 1: Computational thinking – understanding of what algorithms are, what they are used for and how they work; ability to follow, amend and write algorithms; ability to construct truth tables.

Topic 2: Data – understanding of binary, data representation, data storage and compression.

Topic 3: Computers – understanding of hardware and software components of computer systems and characteristics of programming languages.

Topic 4: Networks – understanding of computer networks and network security.

Topic 5: Issues and impact – awareness of emerging trends in computing technologies, and the impact of computing on individuals, society and the environment, including ethical, legal and ownership issues.

Onscreen Examination: Principles of Computer Science

  • 2 Hours

  • 75 marks (50% of the qualification)

This paper will assess;

Topic 6: Problem solving with programming. The main focus of this paper is:

  • understanding what algorithms are, what they are used for and how they work in relation to creating programs

  • understanding how to decompose and analyse problems

  • ability to read, write, refine and evaluate programs.

  • This practical paper requires scholars to design, write, test and refine programs in order to solve problems. Scholars will complete this assessment onscreen using their Integrated Development Environment (IDE) of choice.

Recommended Texts

BTEC Tech Award in Digital Information Technology Student Book

ISBN: 9781292208374

Pearson BTEC Level 1/2 Award in DIT: Component 3 Textbook

ISBN: 978-1910523148

Useful Links

GCSE Pod Code Academy BBC Bitesize

Curriculum Overview