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Computer science

subject overview

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.

unit overview - living in a digital world

Subject: Living in a Digital World


Articulate expectations of appropriate online behaviour.

Describe how to operate and interact safely online.  This includes:

  • Distinguishing between appropriate and inappropriate online behaviour
  • Describing their own online responsibilities and how to behave in an appropriate way online
  • Describing how to report concerns or issues as they arise


Understand a range of ways to use technology responsibly, safely and securely

Know how to report online concerns

Recognize inappropriate content and contact

Understand a range of ways to use technology respectfully

Recognize acceptable and unacceptable online behaviour


Given the clear dangers arising from participation in social networks, this unit addresses the various types of threats that exist online.  Every young person must be able to use the internet safely and securely, with an understanding of the issues and threats that exist.  This means understanding the expectations of their own behaviour and how to act appropriately in various online scenarios and on common media.  Furthermore, should participation in social networks give rise to any concerns, students should be aware of how to report it.

unit overview - programming essentials in scratch - part 1

Subject: Scratch Games


Program a piece of music in Scratch with several instruments

Program a chat-bot that:

  • responds to user input with appropriate responses
  • outputs responses depending on conditions

Program a quiz with a score

Program ‘Ten Green Bottles’ using iteration

Attempt to beat the teacher using techniques & terms learned in the unit


This unit develops the following techniques:

  • Sequencing
  • Variables
  • Selection
  • Operators
  • Count-controlled iteration

Scratch is used throughout the unit, so it is important to be comfortable with the language.


An excellent pathway into text-based programming is creating games using Scratch software.  Although it features coloured blocks to drag and drop, it much reduces the possibility of the syntax errors which deter the progress of so many young people when they learn programming.  Moreover, it highlights what is important – ready access to the programming constructs; sequence, selection and iteration. 

In this unit, students learn programming techniques in Scratch and create games featuring animation, event handling and character interactions.  By considering and improving their designs, they come to create increasingly complex gameplay and game code.  By responding to constructive comments about their games, they engage in iterative development. By annotating their games and justifying their code design decisions, they become more mindful of the decisions that programmers make.                                                                                                                                                    

unit overview - python for absolute beginners

Subject: Python for Absolute Beginners


Create computer programmes (in Python), which:

  • Instantiate and manipulate variables
  • Use various data types (String, Integer, Float, Boolean)
  • Interact with the user using input and output
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating sequence
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating control/selection structures
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating iterative structures
  • Make use of various mathematical operators as appropriate

Develop programs to solve specific problems

Apply the concepts of decomposition, abstraction and algorithmic thinking

Debug and correct problems in their code

Annotate code using appropriate terminology and technical language


Implement programs in the Python development environment

Know the basic syntax of Python

Understand the need for variables in digital systems, and assign different data types, i.e., string, integer & float

Implement sequence, selection and iteration in Python

Prompt the user for data and assign it to a variable

Output data to the screen for user interaction

Utilise the mathematical operators needed for numerical calculations

Produce algorithmic solutions for specific problems

Understand the importance of ‘commenting’ code and documentation


This unit introduces the students to the fundamentals of writing computer programmes using the Python programming language.   The key principles of how to write algorithms using the concepts of abstraction, decomposition and simplification are introduced and refined.

By the end of the unit, the students will be able to create their own solutions to simple problems. They will also be able to debug, annotate and document their code to explain their design decisions and justify their solutions.

unit overview - networking

Subject: Networks from semaphores to the Internet


Explain how data is transmitted between computers across networks

Compare wired to wireless connections and list examples of specific technologies currently used to implement such connections

Discuss familiar examples where bandwidth is important

Explain how data travels between computers across the internet

Explain the difference between the internet, its services, and the World Wide Web

Explain the term ‘connectivity’


Define what a computer network is and Define ‘protocol’

Provide examples of non-networking protocols

List examples of the hardware necessary for connecting devices to networks

Define ‘bandwidth’, using the appropriate units for measuring the rate at which data is transmitted

Define what the internet is, using keywords such as ‘protocols’, ‘packets’, and ‘addressing’

Describe how services are provided over the internet, and list some of these services and the context in which they are used

Describe how internet-connected devices can affect you

Describe World Wide Web components and how they work together: Browsers, Servers, Pages, URLs, HTTP, HTTPS


This sequence of lessons explores the contribution of networks to our digitised, connected world, and examines the methods of data transfer that make all our online activity possible.

Students will learn what networks are, and some rules that exist that enable a computer in China to send a message to one in London within seconds.  They will also come to understand the role played by the various machines that data passes along the way, whether by cable or wireless methods.  Students will come to appreciate the differences between the Internet and the World Wide Web, and some common services that the Internet provides for all.

By studying this unit, students will come to understand how networks have made possible all that we take for granted on the Internet, from study and socialising to banking and shopping.

unit overview - modelling data

Subject: Modelling data – Spreadsheets


Use cell references

Use the autofill tool

Format data

Create formulas for add, subtract, divide, and multiply

Create functions for SUM, COUNTA, AVERAGE, MIN, MAX, and COUNTIF

Sort and filter data

Create graphs

Use conditional formatting


Design, use, and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems

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


This Y7 unit takes students from having little knowledge of spreadsheets to being able to confidently model data with them. It uses engaging activities to progress students from using basic formulas to writing their own COUNTIF statements. It also gives students a set of skills to use in Computing lessons and across the curriculum.

This unit progresses students’ knowledge and understanding of modelling data using a spreadsheet. Due to the transitional nature of Y7, it assumes that students have little to no experience of using spreadsheets.

unit overview - how computers work

Subject: How Computers Work


Explain what is meant by a computer with reference to its inputs, processes and outputs

Discuss the role of various peripheral input and output devices in a computer system

Explain the hardware elements of a modern computer, including:

  • the role of the CPU, RAM and hard drive
  • how the CPU, RAM and hard drive work together

Describe how performance is measured, and justify hardware choices for better computer performance


What a computer is, and the difference between computer and non-computer systems

How modern computers have developed over time

The key features of hardware and software

The role of peripherals in a computer system

The various hardware elements in a computer system and their functions

How hardware choices can impact the performance of a computer


As technology evolves, conceptions of what is meant by the term ‘computer’ have moved beyond standard notions such as PCs and laptops.  Devices which were never considered to be computers have now converged into being classified as computers – this includes watches, mobile phones, washing machines, cars, cameras, and so on.  By the end of this unit, students will have a sharper understanding of how computers are defined, and be able to state with authority what is and is not a computer.

Students will also be able to classify and explain the purpose all the key components in a computer system, and how each one facilitates input, output or storage.  Being able to hold informed dialogue such as this will enable students to see computers for what they are, and contribute to new notions of what else can become 

unit overview - bbc microbit

Subject: BBC Microbit


Code simple programs on the micro:bit which use events, inputs and outputs

Create simple games using the BBC micro:bit features (compass, LED, accelerometer)

Explain how the BBC micro:bit is an implementation of hardware elements which handle inputs, outputs and some key internal hardware components

Create simple programs for the BBC micro:bit which:

  • Instantiate and manipulate variables
  • Use various data types (String, Integer, Float, Boolean)
  • Interact with the user using input and output
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating sequence
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating control/selection structures
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating iterative structures
  • Make use of various mathematical operators as appropriate
  • Make use of the key elements of the BBC Micro-bit including:
    • Accelerometer
    • Compass
    • LEDs

Apply the concepts of decomposition, abstraction and simplification in simple programs

Debug and correct problems in their code

Annotate code using appropriate terminology


Implement simple programs for the BBC micro:bit

Simulate and flash programs onto the  micro:bit

The importance of code annotation and documentation


The BBC Micro-bit is a hardware system which implements the key features of modern computer, with additional capabilities such as an accelerometer, compass and LED displays.  This unit brings together the programming skills and the hardware knowledge from the previous units to reinforce previous learning on this hand-held device.

Although the programs that students write on the micro:bit are short, the output is on LEDs that light up in their hands, on a tiny device which they can touch, turn over, and examine closely. We believe that this kinaesthetic element to the micro:bit brings home some of the key features of programming (and computer hardware) in a more motivating way that purely seeing outputs on screen.  Computers are a huge part of the ‘maker society’ and bringing program outputs off the monitor and into a strange piece of hardware might underline how programming is not something that belongs purely on screen, but can also bring life to objects too.

unit overview - digital fakery

Subject: Digital Fakery (Photoshop)


Critically analyse images to identify manipulation using modern imagery software

Explain when it is ethically acceptable to modify images and when acceptability boundaries are blurred

Use Photoshop to create and manipulate and manipulate images:

  • selection tool
  • how layers are used to build the image
  • use the selection tool & its functions
  • use the scissors and masking tools to modify an image
  • duplicate components of an image

Apply these skills to create their own poster


Identify & justify doctored images

Apply the following techniques to create a movie poster:

  • The Photoshop selection tool
  • The use of layers in an image
  • The ‘Scissors select’ tool
  • Use image masks to modify images
  • Clone & airbrush parts of images

Explain & justify the tools and techniques used


Image modification is becoming increasingly common throughout advertising and on social media.  By the end of this unit, students will be able to critically assess images, to identify possible manipulations and qualify the acceptability of such manipulation dependent upon a given scenario.

Students will be able to use Photoshop image manipulation tools to create and modify their own images.  They will learn these foundation skills to in a creative task where they design a unique, high-quality image of their own

knowledge organisers

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 un