We have always firmly believed that students should have opportunities to explore and develop a greater understanding of how the digital elements of their lives, studies and tools are developed and created; giving them a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of the tools and systems they take for granted.

Our aim for Computing in the curriculum is to enable all pupils to be confident and effective designers and developers of their own software, applications, and systems. It is also our aim to develop a particular way of thinking and problem solving, that will not only facilitate their ability to develop computer-based solutions, but also be useful in a broader range of situations.

Here is a link to our curriculum statement:

Computing Curriculum

Key Stage 3

Classes are set by Mathematics in year 7, 8 and 9. All students follow the same Schemes of Learning which fully meets the requirements of the National Curriculum and spiral from one year to the next. Whilst work is targeted somewhat to the ability of those classes, through the provision of differentiated class materials and scaffolding, all students can access all areas and levels of achievement.

In Year 7, students are given a strong foundation in some of the main Computing concepts they will need to use throughout their time at Saint Aidan’s. This includes learning how to research safely and find reliable information, creating a model to convert from Binary to Denary and understanding basic networks. They are also given the opportunity to develop computational thinking skills which they then apply to creating either a Fitbit or rewards and sanctions counter using a micro:bit.

Year 8 allows students to build on and improve their skills and understanding. This includes creating a simple online safety expert system in Scratch; exploring physical computing with hands on hardware, including understanding logic and how the CPU works; designing and programming a Magic 8 Ball simulation using Python and converting between Denary, Binary and Hexadecimal.

In Year 9 we place even greater emphasis on students learning and developing solutions independently. Students are provided with brief recaps then given all the resources they need to solve problems and complete tasks in a practical, real-world context. These tasks cover a range of competences including text-based programming with Python; making an interactive presentation to explore the impact of technology on online safety, privacy, and identity; creating a band logo and other associated promotional materials, or code a database to hold fan details; finally, they explore further the operation of the CPU and code using a low-level language.

The content within each year is designed to visit, revisit, and embed all the basics of computational thinking, computer use and the computer’s mechanics. Thereby allowing students to achieve a certain level of mastery by the end of Key Stage 3, and then make informed choices about further study at KS4, 5 and beyond.

Here is an overview of the Key Stage 3 curriculum:

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Unit 0 Introduction to the school network and facilities. Unit 6 Scratch Online Safety Expert System – using Scratch to create a quiz about Online safety and develop planning skills. Unit 10 Online safety Interactive Multimedia Presentation – students make an interactive tool to flag the dangers and how to stay safe online.
Unit 1 Computer Research – how to research safely and some key computing facts Unit 7 Python 8 Ball Simulation- using a text-based programming language to simulate a magic 8 ball. Unit 11 Encryption Simulation – use Python programming language to make a program to encrypt words/phrases.
Unit 2 Think Like a Computer Scientist- learn about how to solve problems like a computer scientist Unit 8 Hardware -students explore inside the computer and find out how the CPU and logic works. Unit 12 Pop Idol – use a wide range of tools to produce materials to promote and support a Pop Band.
Unit 3 micro:bit – code a mini computer/microprocessor to display text, images and play games Unit 9 Binary, Denary and Hex Conversion Spreadsheet – create a spreadsheet model to convert; Binary to denary, denary to Binary and denary to hex. Unit 13 – Inside the brain – students explore in more detail how the CPU works and some basic assembly language.
Unit 4 – Binary Calculator – create a spreadsheet model to convert binary to denary
Unit 5 Networks and Networking- how computers are networked, communicate and the topologies used.

Assessment at Key Stage 3 involves the use of tests at the end of each lesson to assess understanding of key lesson concepts. These tests are either self-marked, low stakes MCQs using Microsoft Forms or take the form of end of lesson exam questions.

As part of their ongoing development of work, students are given regular peer and teacher feedback using WWW and EBI success criteria. They are encouraged to use the ongoing feedback to demonstrate modification and improvement of work in progress using the unit’s success criteria and evaluation documents found in the OneNote TAP Sheets.

Key Stage 4

Students are given the opportunity to study the academic Computer Science at GCSE or the more vocational Creative iMedia qualification.

Option students cover the programme of study provided by OCR(J817/J834) for Creative iMedia and AQA (8525) for Computer Science, with a departmental adaptation of the work into suitable schemes of work to match the opportunities available. They are currently delivered via Teams and OneNote, with support from Synergy.

AQA Computer Science 8525 Specification

OCR Creative iMedia J834 Specification – Current Year 10

AQA Computer Science 8525 Content

Paper 1: Computational thinking and programming skills

What’s assessed?

Computational thinking, code tracing, problem-solving, programming concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing, and refining of code.

  • 1 Fundamentals of algorithms
  • 2 Programming

How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 90 marks
  • 50% of GCSE

Paper 2: Computing concepts

What’s assessed?

  • 3 Fundamentals of data representation
  • 4 Computer systems
  • 5 Fundamentals of computer networks
  • 6 Cyber security
  • 7 Relational databases and structured query language (SQL)
  • 8 Ethical, legal, and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy

How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 90 marks
  • 50% of GCSE

OCR Creative iMedia J834 Content – Current Year 11

Topics studied and assessed include:

  • The media industry and product design
  • Pre-production documents and planning
  • Visual identity and digital graphics
  • Interactive digital media
  • Animation and audio
  • Visual imaging
  • Digital games
  • Laws

Students’ understanding of these topics will be assessed using a 1 hour 30-minute written exam (R093) contributing 40% of their final mark.

Non-examined assessment (NEA)

Students will also be expected to complete 2 NEAs.

  • Mandatory Unit R094 – 30%

Students are expected to complete a series of tasks relating to the creation and use of digital graphics in an industry context. They will be expected to understand client requirements and target audience to meet a given client specification.

  • Optional Unit – 30%

Students will complete one unit from the following list of tasks, all of which are based on an exam board-based client specification:

  • Characters and comics
  • Animation with audio
  • Interactive digital media
  • Visual imaging
  • Digital Games


Computer rooms are open before school, at lunchtimes and after school. In addition, we have a Coding Club and a Vex Robotics Club on offer after school, where students can work together to solve problems using a variety of languages and hardware.

Where location and opportunity permits, we enter students into a variety of competitions, mostly, but not exclusively based around the use of robotics; this includes the yearly Vex Robotics competitions.

Once a year we take a group of Year 9 students to The National Museum of Computing to give them some exposure to the amazing history of the subject, and hopefully inspire them to take the subject further.

Department Staff

Mr N Ireland Head of Department
Mrs E MacPhee Teacher of Computing