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Computer Science

Key Stage 3

We study computing because it is important economically, socially, and culturally.

Our curriculum aims to empower our students to be active producers of technology rather than passive consumers, and supports their development into safe, innovative practitioners in school, at home and in the future.

We deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, divided into three strands: Computer Science, Creative Media and Digital Literacy.

Computer Science, at its core, is about understanding how computers work. This includes writing code and developing ‘computational thinking skills’ such as abstraction and decomposition.  These skills are essential in daily life, allowing students to remove unnecessary information and break problems down into more manageable blocks.

Creative Media is concerned with creating products such as graphics and websites using multimedia applications. These technical skills showcase those required in industry and arm our Key Stage 3 students with the skills they will need for undertaking our Creative iMedia course in Key Stage 4.

Digital Literacy is using technology in a functional and safe way. This consists of the basic skills that we all need to be able to participate fully in the digital world and includes using and communicating with technology in a safe and appropriate way, thus covering the Computer Science Programme of Study and relevant RSHE statutory guidance.


What will they learn?

Students will gain exposure and experience in programming with both textual and visual languages. They will understand how to use computational thinking, logic, algorithms and data representation to solve problems and create applications.

They will be introduced to unfamiliar software and gain mastery in its use to create digital products and be competent in the ability to review these products.

Students will understand hardware and software in relation to computer systems and understand how data is represented in computer systems.

Students will understand how to use technology responsibly and how to stay safe in an ever-changing technological environment.  

Content covered is as follows:

  • Using computers effectively and staying safe online

  • Introduction to graphics

  • Understanding computers

  • HTML & website creation

  • Introduction to Python

  • Cybersecurity

  • Advanced Python

  • Animation

  • Web design & development

  • Scratch programming


How are they taught?

Students are taught in mixed ability classes. A range of teaching methods are used, including spaced learning, dual coding and interleaving.  These techniques are aimed at engaging the students, as well as creating resilience and independence in them all.


How will they be assessed?

Students are assessed in a range of ways including questioning, evaluating digital products, informal quizzes. more formal written assessments and producing creative projects to demonstrate their learning.

Key Stage 4

What will students learn?

The course covers three components:

1. Computer systems

This unit introduces students to the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, data representation, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with Computer Science.

2. Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

In this unit, students apply knowledge and understanding gained in Unit 1. They develop skills and understanding in computational thinking: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic and translators.

3. Practical programming

Students are given the opportunity to undertake a programming task(s) during their course of study which allows them to develop their skills to design, write, test and refine programs using a high-level programming language. Students will be assessed on these skills during the written examinations, in particular Unit 2, Section B.


How will students be taught?

The lessons will be a varied combination of both computer theory and learning to code concepts using the Python coding language. Students must be willing to extend their programming skills outside lessons using an online tutorial system.

The practical part of the course relies heavily on mathematical concepts and the confident use of logic and algebra. Students who are not expected to achieve a grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics will find the course challenging.


How will students be assessed?

There are two written papers which carry an equal weighting of 50% of the final marks. Both exams last 1 hour 30 minutes. Component 1 is theory and Component 2 is computational thinking.


Examination board & course type

OCR – GCSE Computer Science (J277)


What can studying this subject lead to?

The course provides an excellent basis for entry into Computer Science at A level.



Teacher to contact for further information

Mr A Howard


Contact Us

Northgate High School
Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, IP4 3DL

Tel: 01473 210 123