Skip to content ↓

Computer Science


Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

A high-quality computing education equips learners to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which learners 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, learners are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that learners 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.



Year 7



Impact of technology – Collaborating online respectfully

This unit has been devised as a transitional unit to allow students to confidently move from Year 6 to Year 7. By the end of the unit, they should be able to use the school network safely and respectfully.

Modelling data – Spreadsheets


This unit progresses students’ knowledge and understanding of modelling data using a spreadsheet. Due to the transitional nature of Year 7, the unit assumes that students have little to no experience of using spreadsheets.

Programming essentials in Scratch – part I

This unit is the first programming unit of KS3. The aim of this unit and the following unit (‘programming 2’) is to build students’ confidence and knowledge of the key programming constructs. Importantly, this unit does not assume any previous programming experience, but it does offer students the opportunity to expand on their knowledge throughout the unit.  The main programming concepts covered in this unit are sequencing, variables, selection, and count-controlled iteration.

Networks from semaphores to the Internet

This unit progresses students’ knowledge and understanding of networks and associated hardware. The unit will establish a foundation understanding of how data is transmitted across networks, as well as exploring the factors that can affect performance. The unit will spend time focusing on the internet and services provided over the internet.

Programming essentials in Scratch – part II


Programming II follows on from the foundations built in ‘Programming I’. It is vital that students complete ‘Programming I’ before beginning this unit.

This unit begins right where ‘Programming I’ left off. Student will build on their understanding of the control structures’ sequence, selection, and iteration (the big three), and develop their problem-solving skills. Students will learn how to create their own subroutines, develop their understanding of decomposition, learn how to create and use lists, and build upon their problem-solving skills by working through a larger project at the end of the unit.

Using media – Gaining support for a cause

This unit progresses students’ knowledge and understanding of licensing and legal issues surrounding the use of online sources of information. They will also gain an understanding of how to apply techniques to help determine the reliability of a source. Learners will develop practical skills in using software to make a blog that could be published online.

Year 8



Introduction to Python programming

This unit introduces learners to text-based programming with Python. The lessons form a journey that starts with simple programs involving input and output, and gradually moves on through arithmetic operations, randomness, selection, and iteration. Emphasis is placed on tackling common misconceptions and elucidating the mechanics of program execution.

A range of pedagogical tools is employed throughout the unit, with the most prominent being pair programming, live coding, and worked examples.

The Year 7 Programming units ( are a prerequisite for this unit.

Developing for the web

In this unit, learners will explore the technologies that make up the internet and World Wide Web. Starting with an exploration of the building blocks of the World Wide Web, HTML, and CSS, learners will investigate how websites are catalogued and organised for effective retrieval using search engines. They will also consider the hidden network technologies that protect us from the threats that a connected world brings, as well as looking at the impact of these services and technologies.

Computing systems

This unit takes learners on a tour through the different layers of computing systems: from programs and the operating system, to the physical components that store and execute these programs, to the fundamental binary building blocks that these components consist of.

The aim is to provide a concise overview of how computing systems operate, conveying the essentials and abstracting away the technical details that might confuse or put off learners.

The last lessons cover two interesting contemporary topics: artificial intelligence and open source software. These are linked back to the content of the unit, helping learners to both broaden their knowledge and focus on the topics addressed in the unit.

The unit assumes no prior knowledge. There are, however, links to the ‘Representations’ units taught in Years 8 and 9 and the ‘Networks’ units taught in Years 7 and 8.

Media – Vector graphics

This unit progresses students’ knowledge and understanding of designing vector graphics.

Mobile app development

This unit progresses students’ knowledge and understanding of programming constructs in a block-based programming environment. Learners will also develop their computational thinking and project planning, by going from decomposing a larger project into smaller parts and creating success criteria for the project to getting user feedback and evaluating their projects.

Representations – from clay to silicon

The fundamental concepts around binary representations and the way in which they have been approached in this unit are visualised in the concept map. This can be found in Lesson 1: Across time and space.

Year 9




This unit takes the learners on an eye-opening journey of discovery about techniques used by cybercriminals to steal data, disrupt systems, and infiltrate networks. The learners will start by considering the value of their data to organisations and what they might use it for. They will then look at social engineering techniques used by cybercriminals to try to trick users into giving away their personal data. The unit will look at the more common cybercrimes such as hacking, DDoS attacks, and malware, as well as looking at methods to protect ourselves and our networks against these attacks.

Media – Animations

This unit progresses learners’ knowledge and understanding of creating animations using Blender. By completing this unit learners will gain a greater understanding of how this important creative field is used to make the media products that we consume.

Python programming with sequences of data

The Year 7 and 8 Programming units are prerequisites for this unit. It is assumed that learners are already able to write Python programs that display messages, receive keyboard input, use simple arithmetic expressions, and control the flow of program execution through selection and iteration structures.

Physical computing

Python syntax and short examples relevant to the contents of this unit are condensed into a set of Python for micro:bit cheat sheets. This resource can be found in Lesson 1: Hello physical world.  The Year 8 and 9 programming units are prerequisites for this unit. It is assumed that learners are already able to write Python programs that use variables and data structures to keep track of information. They are also expected to be able to combine sequence, selection, iteration, and function/method calls to control the flow of program execution.

Representations – going audiovisual

The fundamental concepts around binary representations and the way in which they have been approached in this unit are visualised in these concept maps:

  • Bitmap images concept map (part of Lesson 1: Binary mosaic)
  • PCM sound concept map (part of Lesson 4: Good vibrations.

The structures of the nodes in these two concept maps are identical. This illustrates the direct correspondence between the concepts that pertain to image and sound digital representations.

Python Turtle

The Year 7 and 8 Programming units are prerequisites for this unit. It is assumed that learners are already able to write Python programs that display messages, receive keyboard input, use simple arithmetic expressions, and control the flow of program execution through selection and iteration structures.  This unit brings together learning from KS3 in order to create eye-catching visual displays.

Year 10



1.1 Systems architecture

In this unit, learners will gain an understanding and knowledge of how computer systems work. Starting with the building blocks of the microprocessor — logic gates — learners will discover how a computer system works and executes instructions.

The term ‘note taking’ is used throughout this unit, how this is applied is left to your judgement. Some computing teachers use exercise books or paper folders with learners, some use files on the computer, and some use online note-taking software. You should adapt the lesson to your preferred way of working.

Ideally, learners would have prior knowledge of the binary number system and programming in a high-level language.

2.2 Programming fundamentals

This extensive programming unit takes learners from being complete novices to having the confidence to tackle any GCSE-level programming challenge. Essential programming theory is also interleaved into the practical elements of programming to provide tangible links between required knowledge and skills.

The latest pedagogical research has been used to ensure that learners are appropriately scaffolded and challenged as they move through the lessons. Learners that have already programmed with a text-based language might advance through the earlier lessons at a faster rate than planned. Explorer tasks have been provided to help stretch learners that need a further challenge.

2.1 Algorithms

The main focus of this unit is on searching and sorting algorithms, though other topics are covered, such as computational thinking, flow charts, and tracing algorithms. Learners will have opportunities to analyse, interpret, modify, and implement a range of algorithms.

Each lesson that introduces a new searching or sorting algorithm uses numbers hidden under cups to help learners visualise how the algorithm works step by step. This is so that learners can better understand how a computer executes these algorithms, as a computer cannot ‘see’ all of the items in a list at once as a human can, but instead is only able to compare two values at a time. There are also written instructions alongside each of these steps that together represent the algorithm in structured English; coded solutions are provided in a subsequent lesson.

There are many crossovers with the KS4 Programming unit so the order of which unit is taught first, or possibly alongside, depends on the teacher. For instance, the lessons that involve tracing code (Lesson 3), coding linear search and binary search (Lesson 6) and coding bubble sort and insertion sort (Lesson 9) require learners to be familiar with programming concepts such as selection, iteration, and lists. However, the lessons on computational thinking, representing algorithms, and introducing the searching and sorting algorithms can be taught without any prior programming experience. These non-programming dependent lessons could be taught at the beginning of KS4 and then the code-based lessons in this unit could be revisited once learners are better prepared.

1.2 Memory and storage

In this unit, learners will gain an understanding and knowledge of how computer systems work. Ideally, learners would have prior knowledge of the binary number system and programming in a high-level language.

This unit allows learners to gain the understanding and skills required for the data representation sections of the GCSE computer science exam. First, learners look at binary and hexadecimal numbering systems, how they work, and how to convert between bases. Then, learners explore different coding systems and find out how text, images, and sound are represented in computers. All lessons include worksheets to allow learners to explore each topic through practical application.

1.3 Computer networks, connections and protocols

This unit guides learners to gain an understanding of computer networks as required for GCSE Computer Science. It starts by defining what networks are and where we find them in our modern world. Then, learners look at the hardware involved in creating networks. In this unit, you will use Raspberry Pi computers to create a network and demonstrate to learners how data is shared across networks.

1.4 Network security

This unit enables GCSE students to gain knowledge and understanding of the range of cybersecurity threats impacting the world, our organisations, and us as individuals. The learners start by defining fundamental terms such as cybersecurity and network security. They then progress to understanding different forms of attack, both non-automated and automated. Examining the different techniques used by social engineers (perpetrating non-automated attacks) enables the learners to protect themselves against such tactics as blagging, phishing, and pharming. They also learn about automated cybercrime such as denial of service (DoS) attacks and SQL injection.

The learners then take this further by examining how organisations design and use networks and software to reduce the likelihood of attack, for example by using firewalls, MAC address filtering, automatic software upgrades, and modular testing. They also learn about the policy side of organisations, understanding how levels of access and network policies can protect an organisation.

Once they have understood the impact of cybercrime, they learn about how companies identify and reduce vulnerability through penetration testing. Lastly, they will be inspired to be part of the solution, when they learn about the potential for lucrative and fulfilling careers in cybersecurity.

2.3 Producing robust programs

This unit provides depth to students’ experience with programming, and introduces some methods to code more reliable programs that do not fall down.  It introduces a range of validation and testing methods.  Students should have developed fundamental Python programming techniques before attempting this unit – certainly be confident with sequence, selection and iteration.

Year 11



    1. Programming fundamentals

This series of lessons revisits the programming techniques encountered in Y10 and before, and applies them to solve common algorithms encountered in GCSE exams.  Students work though a short programming project.

    1. Systems software

In this unit, students engage with the purpose and functionality of operating systems, and learn about a range of utility system software.  They should have studied the Computer Systems unit first, as the knowledge in this unit rests on understanding the CPU, primary and secondary storage.

2.4 Boolean logic

Starting with the building blocks of the microprocessor — logic gates — learners will discover how a computer system works and executes instructions.

1.6 Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impacts of digital technology

This unit has been designed to enable GCSE students to gain knowledge and understanding of the impact of technology on individuals, organisations, and the planet. Through a range of real-world examples, they will learn how to identify the specific type of impact, i.e. legal, cultural, privacy, environmental, and ethical. They will then progress to identifying stakeholders who are impacted by technology, and learn how these impacts are experienced, negated, or adapted to. Throughout the unit, learners will be encouraged to discuss their views and make use of sample long-form answers as either cloze or comprehension exercises, to further develop their rhetorical skills. Lastly, they will complete an assessment and identify which of the technologies that they have studied they believe to have had the most negative or positive effect on our society as a whole.

2.5 Programming languages and Integrated Development Environments

This unit extends the knowledge in 1.1, 1.2 and 1.5, and also features assembly language programming.  Ideally, students should have completed the above units before engaging with 2.5, and also be confident in Python, so as to make better progress in programming on the LMC.


unit overview - autumn term 1

Subject: Comp 1.5 Systems software


Describing the purpose and function of systems software

Explain the role of an operating system within a computer system

Describe the various uses of utility and application software


Understand the purpose and functionality of systems software

Understand operating systems: user interface, memory management/multitasking, peripheral management and drivers, user management, file management

Understand utility system software: encryption software, defragmentation, data compression, the role and methods of backup (full & incremental)


Software on a computer system is classified into three broad categories: operating system, utility and applications software. Learning this develops the sense that computer systems are an impressive orchestration of programs that come together to serve our wants and needs.

This unit provides a clarified sense of purpose for the programs that we want to write. Do our programs create an interface which points to the whole system? Do they perform specialised tasks like compression or encryption?  Do they contribute to our better productivity, our entertainment, allow us to while away the hours having fun on the computer?  These are, respectively, operating system, utility and application software, and this unit provides a better vocabulary for understanding where any software fits into the computing picture.

Students must also be able to successfully respond to GCSE level test questions on the above.

unit overview - autumn term 2 

Subject: Comp 2.4 Computational logic


Be able to describe the purpose of the base two number system in a computer system

Be able to draw simple and complex logic circuits using AND, OR and NOT

Be able to trace inputs to simple and complex logic circuits using truth tables

Be able to write computer programs that utilise common computational mathematical operators


Know why data is represented in computers in binary form

Understand simple logic diagrams using the operations AND, OR and NOT

Understand truth tables

Understand how to combine Boolean operators using AND, OR and NOT to two levels

Applying logical operators in appropriate truth tables to solve problems

Applying computing-related mathematics: +, -, /, *, ^, MOD, DIV


Students must be able to consider abstract logic using a framework that can be communicated to colleagues.  By applying Boolean logic, it is possible to express whether something seemingly complex is, in the end, either True or False.  This unit teaches a framework for performing logical evaluations on multiple inputs, and arriving at True/False judgements.

These same circuits are the building block of computing, while AND, OR and NOT are to be found universally in programs, circuit boards and digital devices.  For example, automatic security lights rely on logic gates to know when to switch on and off; sensors used with logic gates can trigger actions like windows that shut automatically when it rains; on/off transistors are combined into logic circuits in order to solve real world problems.

Students must also be able to successfully respond to GCSE level test questions on the above.

unit overview - spring term 1 

Subject: Comp 1.6 Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns


Be able to investigate and discuss concerns regarding the development, use and impact of computing technology such as:

  • Ethical
  • Legal
  • Cultural
  • Environmental

Be able to discuss issues of privacy and data collection

Be able to describe the legislation relevant to Computing


Understand the factors to consider when investigating and discussing Computer Science technologies: ethical issues, legal issues, cultural issues, environmental issues, privacy issues

Understand how key stakeholders are affected by technologies

Understand the environmental impact of Computer Science

Understand the cultural implications of Computer Science

Understand the features of open source vs proprietary software

Know the legislation relevant to Computer Science:

  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988
  • Creative Commons Licensing
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000


The contribution made by computer science to humanity is beyond measure, and computers are now so ubiquitous that they support most aspects of our lives. It is common today for computers to be embedded in robot limbs, in software for language learning, in cars to sense the proximity of other cars, on our phones to send each other silly images, on our televisions to stream television on demand, on speakers that understand voice-instructions to play music, in the background on our PCs to protect us from cyber-attacks, and even on every hotel door handles, to identify the guests as they leave and enter the rooms.  In the next twenty years, advances in artificial intelligence will bring about ever greater leaps and bounds forward to augment our lives in ever more clever ways that today, we cannot even imagine.

This unit examines the impact of these advances, and asks if more harm is being done than good. Does the development, use and disposal of these hardware devices create too large a carbon footprint? Do the computers bring about losses of privacy, or worse – do they put tools to steal money, property and even identity from ordinary people and businesses? Does the widespread use of computers actually exacerbate gaps between the haves and the have nots?

Understanding these issues will make for an ethically aware generation of future computer scientists that understands the issues and laws surrounding them, and is able to make environmentally conscious decisions, mindful of the less desirable impacts of the technology that they are building.

Students must also be able to successfully respond to GCSE level test questions on the above.

unit overview - spring term 2 

Subject: Comp 2.5 Translators and facilities of languages


Be able to describe the difference between low and high level languages

Explain the advantages of using high level languages

Explain how program instructions are encoded in low level languages

Explain why high level languages needs to be translated

Explain the characteristics and use of an assembler, a compiler and an interpreter

Be able to understand – and even code – simple programs in assembly language.


Know the characteristics and purpose of different levels of programming language, including low level languages

Understand the purpose of translators

Understand the characteristics of an assembler, a compiler and an interpreter

Know the common tools and facilities available in an integrated development environment (IDE): editors, error diagnostics, run-time environment, translators


Students must be able to consider milestones in the evolution of programming languages, seeing how each iteration along the way finds a better way for a human being to give an instruction to a computer.

In this unit, students are encouraged to see how programming languages have evolved over the last half-century as developers refine how we tell the computer to perform instructions in sequence, in branches, and iteratively.  At the same time, students should also see how no matter what the programming language, it still must be translated into machine-readable strings of 1s and 0s – the only language that computers understand.

Students must also be able to successfully respond to GCSE level test questions on the above.

knowledge Organiser

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.