IT and Computing

Subject Overview

"Everyone should know how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think"

Steve Jobs - Co-founder of Apple Inc

IT and Computer Science are important skills in the digital age that we live it. We want to enthuse our students to become the creators of new technology rather than to simply be the consumers. Skills learnt in this subject will help students develop their problem solving skills that will help them in various other subjects and walks of life even if our students do not end up being the next Bill Gates.  

Our aim is to teach students 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.

Students who take this subject will be able to use two or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems;

Please be aware that at GCSE and A-Level, Computer Science is a rigorous subject that requires a good mathematical ability and willingness to work independently.

KS3 Computing at Durham Johnston School

Throughout KS3 students will follow 3 distinct stands:

Students will undertake projects in each to help develop their knowledge, skills and understanding. Students will be expected to solve problems using their prior skills and knowledge evidencing their progression.

KS3 Computing

In Year 7 students will study:

  • Problem Solving
  • Word Processing & Desk Top Publishing Skills
  • E-Safety
  • Computing with: The BBC micro:bit, Logo & Control Insight
  • Internet & Email
  • Digital Imagery
  • Web Design

In year 8 students will study:

  • Computing with: The BBC micro:bit & Flowal (algorithms)
  • Modelling & Financial Modelling
  • Sound Editing
  • Video Creation & Editing
  • E-Safety – cyberbullying, sexting, privacy and reporting
  • Scratch – games design

In Year 9 students will study:

  • Computing with a textual language - Python
  • Produce a Media Solution to a set problem
  • Images, Sound & Video manipulation & editing
  • Databases, Interrogate, search, validate, present.
  • Research & presenting skills
  • HTML & CSS
  • Modelling
  • Problem Solving & teamwork

Students will be assessed on their K, S & U throughout the year. They will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the software, the task and the appropriate application of skills.

Examination Board: OCR

Course outline

Component 01: Computer Systems.

  • Written paper 1hr 30
  • 50% of the GCSE

The first component is an exam focused on computer systems covering the physical elements of computer science and the associated theory. Component 02: Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming.

  • Written paper 1hr 30
  • 50% of the GCSE

This component is focused on the core theory of computer science and the application of computer science principles. Component 03: Programming Project (non-exam assessment)

  • 20hr Controlled Assessment (NEA)

This component is the non-exam assessment where candidates will be challenged by a range of exciting and engaging tasks to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned. Topics / Skills Covered The content has been designed not only to allow for a solid basis of understanding but to engage learners and get them thinking about real world application. This will encourage learners to:

  • Understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation
  • Analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs.
  • Think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
  • Understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.
  • Understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society.
  • Apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science

The Award

The Creative iMedia certificate is designed around key occupational areas where research indicates a skills gap:

  • Creative (interactive entertainment products and websites)
  • Multi-media

Students will also study the specific theory and skills required in their chosen occupational area in greater depth. Learning will take place through a mixture of real life case studies, practical tasks and a study of theoretical concepts, enabling learners to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills.

Why Choose This Qualification

IT offers essential skills, skills which enable you to progress in school and in life. Whether that be in sixth form, college, university, socially or in the world of work.

"The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. "

Steve Ballmer

Digital technology allows us a much larger scope to tell stories that were pretty much the grounds of the literary media.

George Lucas

Assessment – Equivalent to 1 GCSE:

Exam - R081: Pre-production Skills: 1 ¼ hours – 25%

Planning is an essential part of working in the creative and digital media sector. This unit will enable you to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to create digital media products, using mood boards, storyboards and camera techniques as well as looking at the legal aspects of media.

Coursework - R082: Creating Digital Graphics 25%

The aim of this unit is for learners to understand the basics of digital graphics editing for the creative and digital media sector. They will learn where and digital graphics are used and what techniques are involved in their creation.

Coursework - R085: Creating a multi-page website 25%

This unit will enable learners to understand the basics of creating multipage websites. It will enable learners to demonstrate their creativity by combining components to create a functional, intuitive and aesthetically pleasing website. It will allow them to interpret a client brief and to use planning and preparation techniques when developing a multipage website.

R086: Creating Digital Animations

Digital animation is used in a wide range of applications in the creative and digital media sector. It can enhance applications, and be used to entertain and inform the viewer. This unit enables learners to understand the basics of digital animation for the creative and digital media sector.

This course is an excellent basis for Industry, College, A level / L3 Award work in both ICT & Media.

This course will suit you if:

  • You like to be challenged
  • You enjoy designing and creating
  • You like to use digital media
  • You are interested in new technologies
  • You want to gain essential life skills for your future


  • Web designer / developer
  • Games designer / developer
  • TV/Film/Music Production
  • Graphic designer / Animator
  • IT Manager
  • Social Media developer
  • Business & Media

It is safe to say there a very few professions where you won’t need to use IT – It’s a life skill! It’s also a proven fact that the tech’ sector pays well and there is a real need for people will IT skills – this opens a lot of doors!

Examination Board: OCR

Minimum course entry requirement

At least GCSE grade 5 (B) in Maths and Computer Science if taken. It is not absolutely essential for an exceptional student to have studied GCSE Computer Science before starting but they should have a demonstrable skill in at least one programming language. For continuation to Year 13 a minimum entry grade D in Year 12 Computer Science.

Computer Science is a practical subject where students 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. OCR’s A Level in Computer Science will value computational thinking, helping students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence. Students 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 student is able to tailor their project to fit their individual needs, choices and aspirations.

Course content

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software and software development
  • Exchanging data
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Problem solving and programming
  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms

Students will choose a computing problem to work through according to the guidance in the specification.

  • Analysis of the problem
  • Design of the solution
  • Developing the solution
  • Evaluation


Year 12

  • Paper 1 (50%)
  • Paper 2 (50%)

Year 13

  • Paper 1 – Computer Systems – 140 Marks. 2½ hour written exam (40%)
  • Paper 2 – Algorithms and Programming – 140 Marks. 2½ hour written exam (40%)
  • Programming project – 70 Marks. Non-exam assessment (20%)

Career Possibilities

This specification has been designed for students who wish to go on to higher education courses or employment where knowledge of computing would be beneficial. Students can study Computer Science and go on to a career in Software and Hardware Development, IT Systems Management, business, any type of science and many other areas.

Resource Description URL
Program Arcade Games in Python A set of short, easily digestible YouTube videos taking you from getting started with Python, to programming an Arcade Game
Beginners Guide to Python This is a written tutorial taking you through the basics of Python. Each concept is covered by you coding some very easy to follow examples followed by a challenge to complete.
Program Games in Python A book written by the official Raspberry Pi magazine the MagPi. Takes you through how to create a game using Python. Again starting from the basics to moving to the more complex concepts.