Computing Curriculum Intent Statement

“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.”

Our Computing curriculum is ambitious in both its breadth and depth. It is not limited to “how to use a computer”. We intend that every student, regardless of ability or background, acquires the knowledge, skills and understanding of the digital world and participate productively within it, as well as gaining an understanding of how it shapes the world around them.

Our curriculum covers how computer hardware, software, networks and other digital technologies are used in the modern world. This includes their wider effects on society. Our curriculum goes beyond IT to include relevant aspects of Computer Science, giving students a better understanding of how computer technology works (or not), how they can get the most out of it and possible ramifications that may affect their lives. When students can see the relevance of what they are studying, they are much more likely to engage in their learning.

Our subject does not stand still, and we are continually refining and updating both our curriculum content and teaching practice to give our students the best possible learning experience. We have continuously refined our schemes of work to include topics and activities that are often overlooked in other schools, making for a more engaging and coherent mix of learning opportunities.

Our curriculum ensures students are well-placed to go on to study IT related qualifications at Key Stage 5, including both the A Level and BTEC Level 3 pathways. The curriculum also provides a foundation that has relevance to those progressing on to ITrelated degree subjects, including Computer Science, IT Systems & Networking, Web Design or Game Design & Development.

Our Key Stage 3 Computing curriculum is:

  • Relevant to current and further study, to the workplace and to everyday life.
  • Interesting to ensure the engagement of all students.
  • Accessible to all students, not just to the most able.

We deliver content based on the requirements of Key Stage 3 National Curriculum for Computing, which defines three broad areas: Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy. Our curriculum aims to cover all three of these areas in suitable depth. This curriculum has been organised through a set of ‘key constructs’ which represent the most important ideas and knowledge of our subject.

Our computing team explicitly teach computational thinking from Year 7, using the vehicle of digital literacy to make sure all students can use digital tools to enhance their presentation of information and data across the school’s curriculum. In Years 8 and Year 9, the curriculum gives students a chance to experience a broad curriculum, covering aspects of digital literacy (including researching, structuring and presenting information), computer science (including a mixture of theoretical topics, algorithms and programming) and information technology (networks and web-design).

In Year 10, students may begin GCSE Computer Science. We are currently looking for an alternative vocational qualification to iMedia after the web-development module was removed (our major reason for adopting the course). Students that choose not to study Computer Science at GCSE continue to develop their Digital Literacy through work in other subjects, including Development Day activities.

Everything that we cover falls under at least one of the following Key Constructs or “building blocks”:

KC-1 Impact of Digital Technology (how technology affects people)
This covers the effects of computer technology on people, organisations and society:
Productivity, personal safety, security, privacy, social, moral, legal, ethical, environmental issues – whether in the context of standalone devices, networked devices or use of the internet.
(Understanding the rights and responsibilities we and others have when using digital technologies.)

KC-2 Working with Software and Documents (using computers, devices and software to create things)
This covers how we use computers to perform useful tasks to best effect:

Organising documents and working efficiently. Structuring information for legibility, formatting text, manipulating images, calculations using numbers, processing data and presenting useful results, sorting and filtering.
(Emphasis on using pre-existing tools effectively, rather than how things work “inside the box”.)

KC-3 Computer Systems (how the digital tools work)
This covers how circuitry and programs work to provide useful working systems:
Parts inside a computer, peripheral devices, embedded systems, operating systems, application programs, utilities.
(Gives an understanding of how the tools work, both internally and how they work together.)

KC-4 Networks and Communication (connecting whole systems together)
This covers how we can connect whole systems together to share and communicate:
Network hardware and communication links, PANs, LANs and WANs. Protocols, the internet and the web.
(Understanding how complete systems can connect together, what they can do and how they do it.)

KC-5 Data Representation (how devices model things as digital data)
This covers how we can store and process different kinds of information and data inside a computer device:
Representing numbers, conversions between number bases, ways to store text, images and audio. Units of storage, files, streams and compression.
(Understand how everything in a digital system is represented using data values, which can be processed.)

KC-6 Problem-Solving and Programming (how to create new solutions and programs to solve problems)
This covers how we can create new programs as effective computer-based solutions to problems:

Decomposition, abstraction, creating algorithms using flowcharts and pseudo code, tracing and predicting possible outcomes, writing and testing programs using programming languages and tools.
(Emphasis on breaking down problems, designing, implementing and testing solutions as new computer programs.)

Phil Gardner
Subject Leader
Reg Gilbert
Deputy Head
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