Curriculum - Computer Science

Pupils and teacher outside

Intent (based on the National Curriculum)

Computer science equips students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils come to understand the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and, through programming, how to put this knowledge to use. Students will be equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computer science also ensures that students 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.


Our curriculum for computer science aims to ensure that all students:

  • 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


Through learning computing at key stage 3 students will be taught how to:

  • design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
  • understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking [for example, ones for sorting and searching]; use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem
  • use 2 or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems; make appropriate use of data structures [for example, lists, tables or arrays]; design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions
  • understand simple Boolean logic [for example, AND, OR and NOT] and some of its uses in circuits and programming; understand how numbers can be represented in binary, and be able to carry out simple operations on binary numbers [for example, binary addition, and conversion between binary and decimal]
  • understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
  • understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits
  • undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users
  • create, reuse, revise and repurpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability
  • protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct, and know how to report concerns

At key stage 4 RET schools follow the OCR specification for computing and, in addition, THS follows the OCR creative I media qualification. At Key Stage 5 BFS  and THS follow OCR A level specification for computer science.

Key concepts

  • Computational thinking

Links to Key Stage 2

Pupils in Key Stage 2 should be able to do the following. However, experience says that the coverage varies from school to school. Therefore, we aim to quickly ensure all students are up-to-speed in Year 7. Some feeder schools do this very well. Others do not.

  • design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
  • use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output
  • use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs
  • understand computer networks, including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the World Wide Web, and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration
  • use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content
  • select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information
  • use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact

Relationship to the wider Key Stage 3 Curriculum

  • English language: spelling, grammar, punctuation, written analysis, written investigation.
  • Mathematics: numeracy, ratio and percentage, graphical interpretation and problem solving.
  • Science: electricity, magnetism, light and waves.
  • DT: control systems
  • History: Alan Turing
  • PSHE: online safety

Links to KS4

The key stage 3 curriculum is coherent with the offer for all students who will have the opportunity to:

  • develop their capability, creativity and knowledge in computer science, digital media and information technology
  • develop and apply their analytic, problem-solving, design, and computational thinking skills
  • understand how changes in technology affect safety, including new ways to protect their online privacy and identity, and how to report a range of concerns

The key stage 3 curriculum is also coherent with the GCSE specification which focuses on:

  • Computer systems
  • Computational thinking, algorithms and programming
  • Programming Project

Extra-Curricular Experience

  • BFS Coding club, iDEA, Bebras, Cyber Discovery and Cyber Start, SubSea UK, AWS Get IT app competition, Unlock Cyber, Cyber First, Software developers come in to support A level.
  • STA
  • KSH Coding club
  • THS iDEA, AWS Get IT app competition, Lego club (programming)