Key Stage 3

 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.

The new Computing curriculum consists of three strands that are Computer science, IT and Digital Literacy.  Computer science is the scientific and practical study of computation: what can be computed, how to compute it, and how computation may be applied to the solution of problems. Information technology is concerned with how computers and telecommunications equipment work, and how they may be applied to the storage, retrieval, transmission and manipulation of data. Digital literacy is the ability to effectively, responsibly, safely and critically navigate, evaluate and create digital artefacts using a range of digital technologies.

Year 7

  • Introduction to the basics of using a school network and sending and receiving emails including attachments, replying and forwarding emails.

  • Creating a storybook using a digital camera to re-enact the Shakespeare play “Macbeth”

  • Introduction to binary and allows pupils the opportunity of converting numbers from base 10 to base 2 and back again.

  • Learning to use spreadsheets, databases and graphic software

  • Completing the level 1 BCS e-safety certificate

Year 8

  • Pupils to look into performing primary and secondary research including internet and paper research and creating a questionnaire and using a spreadsheet to analyse and display data

  • Understanding basic terminology about hardware and software, the history of computers, the internet and cloud computing

  • Learning to use and develop relational databases

  • An introduction to programming techniques including understanding writing algorithms and creating games using Scratch.

Year 9

  • Develop their understanding of network topologies, the hardware and software needed in a network and system tools.

  • They also learn about the internet and dangers which can be transmitted over a network such as viruses, Trojan horses and worms.

  • Planning and creating content for a specific use such as documents, sound and video

  • Pupils learn how to program using Python. It shows them how to using input and output messages, use variables, data types, if statements and loops in their programs.

  • Pupils learn to create websites and animations

  • Computer and Online Basics

Technology has evolved and advanced over recent years, we at Challney have embraced that change and have adapted our teaching and curriculum contents in order to reflect this.

The broad aim of the computing curriculum is to provide a quality computing education that equips our students here at Challney to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and prepare them with skills required in the workplace. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing 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.

All pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 have a dedicated lesson of computing. The curriculum is broad and balanced; it encompasses Computer Science and Information Technology. The main focus of Key Stage 3 is digital literacy, programming using a range of applications as well as devices such as the BBC micro:bit and computational thinking which is incorporated through a range of activities. Assessment is an important element of the curriculum, we use a range of methods in the department to ensure effective learning and application of knowledge are being assessed and developed as a result of the assessment.

Work in Computing at Key Stage 3 is accessible both at school and home via Google classroom. Students are able to access computers in their dedicated heartspaces and study club during lunch time and after school.

The following software used in school can be downloaded for free at home to support the learning in the classroom:

Year 7

My Digital World
Web /App design
Algorithms and Flowcharts
BBC Microbit

The units shown above are covered by students in year 7 we hope that our students are able to use existing skills from the primary stage to develop and broaden their expertise in computer science.

Year 8

My Digital World
How data is represented in computers
Web Design Project
Python for Beginners
Microbit Using Python

In year 8 we build on skills taught in year 7 and introduce some new units, we introduce the students to python which is an industry standard application used for programming, developing the use of Python further through the BBC micro:bit.

Year 9

Hardware , Networks and Computational Thinking
Algorithms and Python
Python Programming
Project Based Activity

In year 9 we develop skills needed for their GCSE’s and prepare students for their next stage of learning. Students work through the above units giving them the skills needed for both computer science and iMedia.

Pupils who wish to continue their interest in the subject are able to take GCSE Computer Science (OCR J276). This will enable them to progress to higher levels of study in the subject or to a professional career. For those who enjoy IT and would like to continue to develop their skills using industry standard applications we also offer OCR in iMedia.

Key Stage 4

At KS4 students can currently opt to study one of the two courses we run; OCR GCSE Computer Science or Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia.

GCSE: Computer Science

Exam Board: OCR
Specification Number: J276

What will be studied?

This practical qualification encourages students to develop their understanding and application of the core concepts in Computer Science. Students also analyse problems in computational terms and devise creative solutions by designing, writing, testing and evaluating programs. Relevant to the modern changing world of computing, it is designed to boost the computing skills essential for the 21st century.

We also organise visits to allow students to experience the world of computer science outside of school.

Visit to Bletchley Park March 2018:


How is the course assessed?

  • Computer Systems theory paper, 1.5 hours, 50%

  • Computational Thinking theory paper, 1.5 hours, 50%

Additionally, students will undertake a 20 hours in-school programming project which will support their understanding across the whole specification. For this project a real life problem will be set up by the exam board and students will program a solution and document its development.


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, and 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.

Unit 1

  • Systems Architecture

  • Memory

  • Storage

  • Wired and wireless networks

  • Network topologies, protocols and layers

  • System security

  • System software

  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

This component will introduce learners to the Central Processing Unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software.

It is expected that learners will become familiar with the impact of Computer Science in a global context through the study of the ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with Computer Science.

Computer systems (01), 80 marks, 1 hour and 30 minutes Written paper (no calculators allowed).

50% of total GCSE.

Unit 2

  • Algorithms

  • Programming techniques

  • Producing robust programs

  • Computational logic

  • Translators and facilities of languages

  • Data representation

This component incorporates and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in Component 01, encouraging learners to apply this knowledge and understanding using computational thinking.

Learners will be introduced to algorithms and programming, learning about programming techniques, how to produce robust programs, computational logic, translators and facilities of computing languages and data representation. Learners will become familiar with computing related mathematics.

80 marks, 1 hour and 30 minutes, written paper (no calculators allowed).

50% of total GCSE.

Programming Project

  • Programming techniques

  • Analysis

  • Design

  • Development

  • Testing and evaluation and conclusions

Learners will need to create suitable algorithms which will provide a solution to the problems identified in the task. They will then code their solutions in a suitable programming language.

The solutions must be tested at each stage to ensure they solve the stated problem and learners must use a suitable test plan with appropriate test data. The code must be suitably annotated to describe the process.

Test results should be annotated to show how these relate to the code, the test plan and the original problem. Learners will need to provide an evaluation of their solution based on the test evidence. Learners should be encouraged to be innovative and creative in how they approach solving the tasks.

20 hours, non-Exam assessment (NEA)