Computing and ICT

Computing is taught as a discrete subject at KS3 in year 7 and 8. Where they follow a detailed scheme of work linked to the current Computing Programme of Study.  Computing is concerned with how computers and computer systems work, how they are designed and programmed, how to apply computational thinking and how to make the best of information technology.  We aim to give pupils a broad education that encourages creativity and equips them with the knowledge and skills to understand and change the world.

There are three distinct strands within computing which are complementary to each other: computer science, information technology and digital literacy.  Each component is essential in preparing pupils to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

E-Safety is also very important to us and is something that we revisit regularly with students.  Technology offers unimaginable opportunities and is constantly evolving.  Access is currently becoming universal and increasingly mobile and pupils are using technology at an ever earlier age.  Because of this we are committed to delivering an age appropriate curriculum that enables our students to become responsible digital citizens who are aware of the dangers online and know what to do if they encounter this.

At KS4 students are also offered the option of studying Computer Science GCSE, more information on these qualifications can be found by following the links above.

At KS5 student are currently studying the OCR Applied A2 course in ICT, the BTEC Level 3 course in IT or the A Level in Computer Science. 

The Computing department are passionate about helping students to reach their potential and our KS4 success within the school reflects this. We set ourselves very high targets within the school and have always achieved a very high success rate A*-C in all our courses. 

We are a department that is continually involved in developing our area of this very successful school. The school has two main networks - one for curriculum use, one for administrative purposes.  The curriculum network has over 500 connected stations.  There are 7 suites of 32 stations and 7 suites with 20 stations.  There are also machines in Learning Support and the Library.  We have an RM Connect 4 network and all stations have internet access making use of the Hertfordshire Grid broadband link and run Microsoft Office 2010 suite (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher) as well as Adobe Master Collection CS6 and an abundance of specialist curriculum software.  Every computer is connected to a MFD which are positioned strategically around the school and all classrooms throughout the school have a projector and interactive whiteboard. 

Art and Media also have specialist ICT equipment that they utilise.  There is a rolling programme of upgrade and expansion on the network.  All the ICT suites are well used both by the ICT & Computing department for delivery of specialist lessons and by other curriculum areas to deliver the cross-curricular ICT programme.

Year 7

Year 7 students start off the year with lessons based on organising files and folders followed by the unit on E-Safety. They will then go on to start working on Unit 2 Virtual Tour of Goffs School, which will be done in the first term and part of the second term as well.

The purpose of this unit is to create a virtual tour of the school for year 6 students who are intending to come to the school the following year. Students will learn how to plan, create, test and evaluate their product and make sure it is appropriate for the target audience. They will continue to work on their virtual tour in half term 1b and 2a in order to complete the PowerPoint and evaluate it.

In the second term Students will be learning about how the computer works. They will learn about hardware such as input and output devices and different types of software including the operating system. Students will also learn about binary and have the opportunity to convert binary to denary and vice versa.

In the final term, students will be writing block based programming language with Scratch software. They will design and create the code for a racing car game using various programming skills such as variables and loops. The students will be required to give feedback on each other's games then tweak to improve the program they have created in this unit.

Year 8

In year 8, students cover 5 different Units throughout the year. In the first term they work on Unit 1 – Staying Safe, Unit 2 – Under the Hood.  In the second term Unit 3 – About Me Website. Finally in the last term they do Unit 4 – Exercise and Wellbeing and Unit 5 - Scratch Factor Animation.

Term One – Students will be looking at how to stay safe online including how to report any concerns from using online services and digital technology. In this term students will also learn about what happens under the hood of a computer such as the hardware components that make up a computer system. Students will learn to convert binary to ASCII and find out how the computer stores bitmap images. This unit also involves looking at logic gates as well as sort and search algorithms.

Term two - This term students will be working on creating a website about themselves using HTML. They will use this text based programming language to format text and lists in their webpages as well as creating style sheets and navigation.

Term three – In this term students will be required to use a spreadsheet model, to change variables, create formulas and use goal seek to find answers to What if scenarios about exercise and nutrition. Students will then go onto the final unit which involves creating an animation using scratch software. They will learn to use loops, triggers, broadcast and many other block based tools to code their scratch factor animation.

GCSE Computer Science

In Year 9 and Year 11 students are given the option to study GCSE Computer Science.  This course will give students an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. Students will no doubt be familiar with the use of computers and other related technology from their other subjects and elsewhere. However, this course will give them an insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, including computer programming, which many students find absorbing.

This GCSE provides excellent preparation for higher study and employment in the field of Computer Science. The increasing importance of information technologies means there will be a growing demand for professionals who are qualified in this area. Learners who’ve taken a GCSE in Computer Science and who then progress to study the subject at A Level or university will have an advantage over their colleagues who are picking up the subject at these levels.

This course will develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming. For many learners, it’ll be a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-today life. In this respect, the course will make an excellent preparation for learners who want to study or work in areas that rely on these skills, especially where they are applied to technical problems. These areas include engineering, financial and resource management, science and medicine.

There are three Units to the GCSE Course:

•Component 1 – Computer Systems - Written Examination
•Component 2 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming – Written Examination
•Component 3 - Programming Project

The written exam is designed to test students’ understanding of various topics related to computer science.

Component 1 -The specification splits the topics into the following sections:

• 1.1 – Systems Architecture
• 1.2 - Memory
• 1.3 -Storage
• 1.4 – Wired and wireless networks
• 1.5 – Network topologies, protocols and layers
• 1.6 - System security
• 1.7 – Systems software
• 1.8 – Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

This is then tested in an exam that lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Component 2 - 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.

This is also tested in an exam that lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes

Component 3 -  OCR will issue three assessment tasks at the start of  the terminal academic  year of assessment. Only tasks designated for that examination series can be submitted unless carrying forward marks from a previous year. The tasks will provide opportunities for the learners to demonstrate their practical ability in the skills outlined in the specification.

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.

The work for this will be submitted at the start of March and will be worth 20% of the total GCSE.


Edexcel GCSE ICT


Year 9 and 10, students begin a full GCSE in ICT.  This two year course will give students an understanding of how computers and digital technology are vital in the modern world. Students will explore what it is to be a responsible digital citizen, and through independent coursework, will build skills and experience of a wide range of professional software packages. 


The course will develop critical thinking, analysis and application of developed skills to meet specified scenarios.  For many students, GCSE ICT will enable the refinement of creative abilities and support the development of independent thinking, as well as prepare them for the many ways in which they will use technology in their future beyond education.


There are two Units to the GCSE Course:

Unit 1 – Living In a Digital World

This is a theory unit which is assessed through external examination and is worth up to 40% of the final grade.  The exam is sat at the end of the course, in the second year.

Unit 2 – Using Digital Tools

This is completed as a controlled assessment, within lesson time.  It requires the use of a wide range of software and problem solving skills to create a series of digital products.  Skills in software can be developed outside of lesson time, but the actual assessed work must be completed within a controlled environment.  This unit is worth up to 60% of the final grade.

Useful links 
This is a link to the Edexcel GCSE ICT Homepage, which students can use to access previous exam papers and guidance on controlled assessments. 
The BBC Bitesize website is a useful resource for theory notes and help with the exam.

GCE Applied ICT

The GCE in Applied ICT provides a broad introduction to the subject and prepares students for study in further or higher education. The qualification attracts UCAS points in the same way as ordinary GCEs.  It is expected that students will be able to acquire, analyse, manipulate, store and distribute information.  They should also have an awareness of the design and provision of equipment and what software is most applicable for task’s set. 

At GCE AS Level (single) there are three mandatory units.  For the single award grades are awarded from A – E.

Unit 1

Using ICT to communicate

Unit 2

How organisations use ICT (external assessment - examination)

Unit 3

ICT Solutions for individuals and society


As well as the three mandatory AS units, there is one mandatory A2 unit and four optional A2 units which are available to candidates (however of those four A2 units the candidate will only do two).


Unit 9

Working to a brief (external assessment)

Unit 10

Numerical modelling using spreadsheets

Unit 14

Developing and creating websites



As with other GCEs, AS units and A2 units are equally weighted and, in the GCE awards, each level forms 50% of the total assessment.  Aggregation, within and across units’, means that candidates can fail a unit but still pass overall.  Each unit requires 60 guided-learning hours.  For the single award, assessment is 33% externally tested and 67% by portfolio evidence.  One of the externally assessed A2 units has delegated assessment (OCR set, teacher mark, OCR moderated).


The GCE in Applied ICT is designed to provide a vocational alternative to the AS GCE, GCE ICT and GCE Computing.  These awards are designed to provide a progression route to higher education and further training for employment.


Students are expected to have Maths & English at GCSE (A-C) plus a Merit in the OCR Nationals Level 2 or equivalent, students must also show an aptitude for ICT.

Level 2 Certificate in Open Systems and Enterprise

This qualification would assess the application of ICT skills through their practical use. It would provide you with essential knowledge, transferable skills and tools to improve your learning in other subjects with the aims of enhancing your employability when you leave school, contributing to your personal development and economic growth.

Through completing coursework you would need to gain at least 17 credits over the time of the course.  Once you have completed this you would be eligible to sit the exam.

The coursework you will be completing is:

Unit 1 Gold - Improving Productivity Using IT (4 credits)
Unit 10 Gold - Presentation software (4 credits)
Unit 4 Gold - Web site Software (4 credits)
Unit 5 Gold – Spreadsheet Software (4 credits)
Unit 4 Silver – IT Security for Users (1 credit)

The online test is worth up to a further 70 marks.  This exam is carried out on the computers and should take less than an hour to complete.  You will be allowed to take a resit if required.

 Grade boundaries

C   = 50 marks (20/70 in test)
B   = 60 marks (30/70 in test)
A   = 70 Marks (40/70 in test)
A* = 80 Marks (50/70 in test)

A level Computer Science

Course Description

Computer Science is a practical subject where learners can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems.

It is an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, and can look at the natural world through a digital prism.  An A Level in Computer Science will value computational thinking, helping learners to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.

Learners will develop an ability to analyse, critically evaluate and make decisions.  The project approach is a vital component of ‘post-school’ life and is of particular relevance to Further Education, Higher Education and the workplace.  Each learner is able to tailor their project to fit their individual needs, choices and aspirations.

Aims and Learning Outcomes

The aims of this qualification are to enable learners to develop:

  • An understanding of, and ability to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science including; abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • The ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems including writing programs to do so
  • The capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • The capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science
  • Mathematical skills
  • The ability to articulate the individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural opportunities and risks of digital technology

Course Outline


If you take the AS Computer Science course you will sit two exams at the end of year 12.  These exams will cover two components

Component 01 – Computing Principles which will cover the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture and other areas including the following:

• Operating systems
• Introduction to programming 
• Data types, structures and algorithms
• Exchanging data and web technologies
• Using Boolean algebra
• Legal and ethical issues

Component 02 – Algorithms and Problem Solving Where there’ll be a short scenario/task contained in the paper, which could be an algorithm or a text page-based task, which will involve problem solving. Other areas covered include the following:

• Elements of computational thinking
• Programming techniques
• Software development methodologies
• Standard algorithms


If you take the full A level course you will sit two exams at the end of Year 13 which will cover two components and you will also be required to undertake a programming project.

Component 01 – Computing Principles which will cover the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture and other areas including the following:
• Software and its development
• Types of programming languages
• Data types, representation and structures 
• Exchanging data and web technologies
• Following algorithms
• Using Boolean algebra
• Legal, moral and ethical issues.

Component 02 – Algorithms and Problem Solving

Section A will cover traditional questions concerning computational thinking. 
• Elements of computational thinking
• Programming and problem solving
• Pattern recognition, abstraction and decomposition
• Algorithm design and efficiency
• Standard algorithms.

Section B will have a scenario/task contained in the paper, which could be an algorithm or a text page-based task, which will involve problem solving.

Component 03 - Programming project
This is an internally assessed task where students solve a problem of an appropriate size and complexity. This will enable them to demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the Assessment Objectives. Students will need to analyse the problem, design a solution, implement the solution and give a thorough evaluation.

Course Assessment

The AS is assessed at the end of Year 12 in two equally weighted exams.
01 Computing Principles exam lasts 1hr and 15 mins (50%)
02 Algorithms and Problem Solving exam lasts 1hr and 15 mins (50%)

A Level
The A level is assessed separately to the AS.  Again there are two exams at the end of year 13 and one programming project.
01 Computer Systems  exam lasts 2hrs and 30 mins (40%)
02 Algorithms and Programming exam lasts 2hrs and 30 mins (40%)
03 Programming Project (20%)


Career Opportunities

The qualification is suitable for learners intending to pursue any career in which an understanding of technology is needed.  The qualification is also suitable for any further study as part of a course of general education.

It will provide learners with a range of transferable skills which will facilitate personal growth and foster cross curriculum links in areas such as maths, science and design and technology.  Computer Science is a very creative subject, and skills such as problem solving and analytical thinking will all be refined and explored as learners progress through the learning and assessment programme.

Progression to University

Students who achieve this qualification will be able to apply for a variety of degree level courses in ICT or computing related subjects.

Entry Requirements

Students are expected to have A*- B in GCSE ICT, A* - C in GCSE Computing GCSE Maths and English at A* - C plus 4 other passes C or above. 



Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in IT

Course Description

The BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in IT is a qualification developed by e-skills UK (the Sector Skills Council for IT), in consultation with employers.  It is very ‘hands-on’ for learners and is designed to develop the IT skills and competencies they need in the 21st century.

This course is also designed to improve employability skills as the up-to-date content is interesting and gives learners important IT skills for future employment.

Course Outline

The Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Diploma for IT Users (ITQ) (QCF) is a 39-credit qualification that consists of one mandatory unit (Improving Productivity Using IT, Unit 301) plus optional units.

At least 22 credits (including those from the mandatory unit) must be at Level 3 or above.

Mandatory Unit:

Unit 301:   Improving Productivity Using IT                   (5 credits)

Optional Level 3 Units: 
(units will be chosen based on the strengths/interests of the students and teacher delivering the qualification)
Unit 303:   Set Up an IT System                                  (5 credits)
Unit 304:   Optimise IT System Performance               (5 credits)
Unit 305:   IT Security for Users                                 (3 credits)
Unit 307:   Using the Internet                                     (5 credits)
Unit 309:   Using Email                                               (3 credits)
Unit 311:   Using Collaborative Technologies            (6 credits)
Unit 313:   Audio Software                                         (4 credits)
Unit 314:   Video Software                                         (4 credits)
Unit 315:   Bespoke Software                                     (4 credits)
Unit 316:   Specialist Software                                   (4 credits)
Unit 317:   Computerised Accounting Software         (5 credits)
Unit 318:   Database Software                                   (6 credits)
Unit 319:   Data Management Software                    (6 credits)
Unit 320:   Design Software                                       (5 credits)
Unit 321:   Imaging Software                                       (5 credits)
Unit 322:   Drawing and Planning Software               (4 credits)
Unit 323:   Desktop Publishing Software                    (5 credits)
Unit 324:   Multimedia Software                               (6 credits)
Unit 325:   Presentation Software                              (6 credits)
Unit 326:   Project Management Software                (5 credits)
Unit 327:   Spreadsheet Software                              (6 credits)
Unit 328:   Website Software                                      (5 credits)
Unit 329:   Word Processing Software                       (6 credits)


Course Assessment 
Learners compile a portfolio of evidence, in a digital format where possible, to demonstrate their competence. There are no formal written examinations.  Portfolios are internally assessed and are then subjected to external standards verification.


Progression and Career Opportunities
The intended destinations for learners successfully achieving these qualifications include: 
•     BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Computing and Systems Development (QCF) 
•     Apprenticeships 
•     Supported employment 
•     Independent living

Entry Requirements
Students are expected to have A*- C in GCSE ICT plus 5 other passes at C or above.