Learning in Computing

In the Computing Department, our aim is to fully equip all Goodwin Academy students with the knowledge, understanding and skills they will need to succeed in a digital world. Within our department, we are developing a broader curriculum that offers both Digital Literacy and Computer Science to all students in Key Stage 3.

We hope to develop our students’ passion for Computing thus enabling them to build strong foundations for them to succeed into their adult lives. By making students more digitally literate, it will enable them to be a versatile worker as many companies and business are moving to online systems.

Curriculum Intent

In computing Learners are encouraged to be their BEST.


Our curriculum drives students to aspire to brilliance in all areas by promoting opportunities for academic excellence through a broad and balanced learning experience that stimulates students to be imaginative, creative and reflective in their learning. In line with the 2014 National Curriculum for Computing, our aim is to provide a high-quality computing education which equips all students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and progress as learners. Our curriculum will teach students key knowledge about how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed. Learners will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers.


Enrichment opportunities are not limited to lesson times. Our extracurricular coding club is a way for those learners who want to further their coding skills to meet and develop programs in an environment with likeminded individuals. Opportunities to visit and see the use of computing in real world environments is something which we as a subject will be developing.


Encouraging students to use the internet for research and acquiring further learning, gives students the ability to navigate our digital environments in a way that's safe and responsible and to actively and respectfully engage in these spaces. Fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance is learnt by students covering topics that include an understanding of how:

  • Legal, ethical, safety and security issues affect how computers should be used: how legislation affects business computer users.
  • Digital safety – covered in Key Stage 3 and 4.
  • Data protection, copyright, computer misuse, how moral and ethical issues affect business computer users.
  • The use and abuse of personal and private data – covered in Key Stage 3 and 4.
  • The implications and consequences for organisations of data loss, corruption and theft.
  • Legal implications – covered in Key Stage 4.
  • Cyberbullying – covered in Key Stage 3.


Our curriculum sequencing ensures students develop long term knowledge, skills and understanding which can be effectively transferred to new opportunities. In computing our curriculum is designed so that key concepts are presented repeatedly throughout KS3, but with deepening layers of complexity, or in different applications. We develop lifelong learning habits to be successful within the Academy and beyond. The use of Thinking Tools is embedded into our curriculum to support students to develop metacognitive approaches, creating awareness of both their own strengths and of areas they would like to develop to be ready for the next step in their life journey.


KS3, Year 7, 8 & 9 Computing

Over a 3 Year course of study Learners will cover the following topics:

Year 7:

Term 1

During this term students will create and edit graphics to introduce:

Setting up of folder structures, files, and the use of strong passwords. How to use cloud storage (MTeams) for saving and backing up files. The issues of Internet /email and how to keep themselves safe Students will then complete the “What is a Computer” topic. In this topic student’s look at:

  • What a computer is and how they can come in various forms.
  • Understand how computers receive commands and data
  • Understand what ‘processing’ means
  • Understand how computers can output information.
Term 2

E-safety: Students research how to stay safe when using the internet and social networking websites. They learn about the dangers to technology including viruses, worms and Trojans.

Presenting information. Use DTP software to create suitable information documents, e.g. leaflets and posters. Learning about formatting and structuring documents and presenting information to different audiences based on the purpose of that information.

Term 3Introduction to Binary: Student become familiar with the difference between the denary number system (base 10) and the binary number system (base 2). How most standard computer memory is measured from Bits, to Terabytes.

Learning how to count in binary teaches the concept of long bit patterns and being able to process larger amounts of data. The role of ASCII and Unicode Standards in providing a unique number for every character, no matter what platform, device, application or language is also covered.
Term 4

Introduction to Spreadsheet: This unit teaches how to create a spreadsheet structure, including;

  • Introduction to cells, rows, fields, labels and data to produce information.
  • Spreadsheet functions and formatting.
  • Use simple formulae to calculate amounts.
  • Snakes and ladders game to develop the use of functions e.g. count/randbetween.
Term 5Introduction to text based Mark-up languages (HTML). In this unit students develop an understanding of how HTML is used to structure website pages. Although not a programming language the use of HTML enables the concept of building a script using text characters and symbols.

This unit also facilitates the practice of presenting information in a structured form. Pupils learn about the purposes of different websites and how they target specific audiences. Using knowledge acquired they will design and create the layout and content of an index page using HTML to write it.
Term 6

Coding: This is an introduction to the fundamentals of computer programming and algorithms via Scratch, a highly intuitive graphical development environment, developed to teach coding in a visual way.

Students are introduced to the idea of computer programs requiring a precise series of statements and, through using scratch, will understand how to build a stage and program characters and objects before moving on to enhance their games with more advanced features.

Year 8:

Term 1

Spy school- Revisiting Spreadsheet software: This unit furthers knowledge about spreadsheet programs and their procedures, we look at simple and advanced spreadsheet features, but focus on built in program functions, for example:

  • Filtering and sorting data to find specific information
  • Using graphs and chart to visually present information
  • The use of comparison operators and functions to display results based on certain criteria being met, analysing the use of spreadsheet systems compared to other forms of data storage/manipulation
Term 2Binary, hexadecimals & logic gates: In this unit pupils will build on past binary understanding and learn how hexadecimals digits are used to provide 16 bit codes.

They will learn how Hexadecimal (or hex) is a base 16 system used to simplify how binary is represented. They will see the reasoning behind using Hex, as each 8-bit binary number can be written using only two different hex digits - one hex digit per nibble (or group of 4-bits). An understanding of how logic gates control the flow of binary/data around the computers circuits will also be taught.
Term 3Coding: An introduction to Python, a powerful but easy-to-use high-level programming language.

The focus is on getting pupils to understand the process of developing programs, the importance of writing correct syntax, being able to formulate algorithms for simple programs and debugging their programs. The program they develop will include the use of inputs, variables and decisions to produce the required outputs from the program.
Term 4Introduction to Data structure and storage: In this unit a database is created using tables and suitable fields/labels; this allows the difference between a field and a record to be considered.

Validation routines are set based on data types/representation. The difference between flat file and relational databases are looked at and analysed, to decide which is most suitable for the types of data being stored. The use of Primary and Foreign keys to link tables/information, shows students how to avoid the need for duplicate data (data redundancy), thus also minimising data entry mistakes. The creation of a data entry form will also demonstrate how pre-set validation routines and buttons can minimise data entry mistakes. Using the Boolean /logical operators And, Or and Not, queries will then be used to search the database for specific information and these will then be output onto reports.
Term 5

Image manipulation: In this unit learners will develop their understanding of how digital images can be changed and edited, and how they can then be resaved and reused.

They will consider the impact that edited images can have in society and evaluate the effectiveness of their choices. They will learn the skills needed to Render images, create shadows, the use of texture and colour blending, combining Multiple Images.

Term 6

Programming in Kodur: Introduction to the project planning cycle. In this unit the further use of algorithms clarify the benefits of planning the procedures of a game before programming it.

Students then decompose, plan and create a program (implementation) that uses control and sequences (threads) to output movements/creatables based on events. Testing is then carried out to ensure that the program code works as intended and contains no bugs. The program is then edited introducing Iteration/repetition to make the program more efficient. This then leads to the evaluation stage, to identify further improvement.

Year 9:

Term 1

GUI - Planning and Creating a User Interface for a Ski arena: In preparation for KS4, this unit follows the criteria for the BTEC DIT specification. Students gain the knowledge needed to follow a 'Project life cycle', when developing a project.

They create a report to identify, the purpose of a project, what the project requirements are, who the end users of a project will be (audience), the constraints and how they can be mitigated.

They will then design a user interface by developing a wire frame, identifying house style elements and justifying design choices. A prototype to implement their designs, including navigation routes and accessibility features will then be completed. Evaluate prototype to identify strengths and elements to improve.

Term 2

Advanced Spreadsheets-Collecting, Presenting and Interpreting Data: In preparation for KS4, this unit follows the criteria for the BTEC DIT specification.

Learners will understand the characteristics of data and information and how they help organisations in decision making. They will use data manipulation methods to create a dashboard to present and draw conclusions from information. Pupils will explore ways of handling and manipulating data to make it easier to understand and analyse. Pupils will use a variety of functions and formula such as Count, Countif’s and VLOOKUP’s. The dashboard will display a variety of visual data using pivot tables, slicers and a range of graphs.

Term 3

Mobile App development: This unit takes learners through the entire process of creating their own mobile app, using App Lab from

Building on the programming concepts learners used in previous units, they will work to perform user research, design their app, write the code for it, before finally evaluating and publishing it.

Term 4

Website development with CSS design: Completing the Band project learner’s further knowledge about Web page design and how to create a website for a specific audience (Fans of band).

Learners will build on their current knowledge of HTML, moving from basic tags to areas of more advanced website development. Pupils will utilise web development software such as Dream Weaver to develop and enhance their pages. Pupils will customise most elements of their pages and arrive at a finished product.

Term 5

Cyber Security and legislation: Pupils will explore the theory elements of computing in the modern world - security issues, viruses and malware and threats to data as well as the many legal aspects such as GDPR and the computer misuse act.

Learners will be able to recall most of the key threats, including viruses and malware understanding key terminologies: e.g., man-in- the middle attacks, Trojan Horse, Botnet, rootkit. They will understand the importance of security measures such as antivirus programs and firewalls.               

Term 6

Python Coding - Game making: Building on learners’ prior knowledge of python programming.

They develop their knowledge of data types and understanding of programming concepts. Working with lists and arrays and how to manipulate data, pupils will develop their own program. Pupils will then test their programmes and develop more efficient solutions. They will develop their work into a text-based game using functions such as Randint and further advanced programming concepts.


Skills Learned:

By the time student go into KS4, students will have gained key knowledge and skills in the three main areas of the computing curriculum:

  • Computer science (programming and understanding how digital systems work). Students will be able to accurately describe the processes behind the operation of a computer system, including the roles of key hardware components. Employing computational thinking skills, students will be able to decompose a problem to abstract the key details, then produce algorithms to plan and code programs/systems. Students will be able to apply these key skills to other contexts (such as other subjects) to create appropriate products.
  • Information technology (using computer systems to store, retrieve and send information). Students will be able to demonstrate a range of practical ‘digital life’ skills. This includes the efficient use of office software and browsing the internet safely.
  • Digital literacy (evaluating digital content and using technology safely and respectfully). Students will be aware of dangers which exist on the internet and in terms of the technological world.

Objectives within each strand support the development of learning across the key stages, ensuring a solid grounding for future learning and beyond.

Key Vocabulary: 

Algorithms; Abstraction, Decomposition; E-safety; Data; Information; Inputs; Processes; Outputs; Hardware; Software; Operating System; Binary; Number System; Central Processing Unit (CPU); Random Access Memory (RAM); Hard Drive Disk (HDD); Variables; Selection; Iteration; Hyper Text Mark-Up Language (HTML); Cascading Style Sheets (CSS); Website; Internet; World Wide Web (WWW); Cryptography; Encryption; Decryption; Interface.



We assess students’ progress throughout the year. Using both formative and summative assessment routines, and in line with the schools marking policy, regular marking and feedback is carried out. This enables identification of understanding and any concepts that need further clarification.

In addition to the formative assessment taking place within each lesson, at the end of each topic an end of topic assessment will be completed. All homework tasks add to a student’s ongoing assessment record.

Assessment routines used:

• Theory-based units are assessed through the medium of questions and answers. Questions are structured using: multiple-choice, link boxes, sentence completion, labelling/drawing diagrams, short answers, calculations and extended response.

• Practical-based units are assessed through the students’ ability to meet a given specification, and demonstrate certain skills, these are assessed using a Rubric based on the criteria that needs to be produced.

Self and Peer marking is also regularly carried out within lessons:

  • Self-assessment allows students to recognise their own accomplishments and areas for development.
  • Peer assessment allows students to see how tasks can be completed in different ways, students can also learn from the successes and in some cases the mistakes of others.

Links to KS4

All units studied, enable students to build the skills needed for them to become confident users of IT technologies. Many of these skills are also transferable into other aspects of learning and day to day practices.

The units below specifically build the skills and academic understanding needed to complete the units delivered in our courses at KS4:


Key Stage 3 UnitsKey Stage 4 BTEC DIT / Learning outcomes

Year 7 - E-Safety-Presenting information

Year 8 - Programming using Kodu –How to decompose and plan a project and Image manipulation

Year 9 - Planning and Creating a User Interface for a Ski arena and Website development

Component 1:

LOA: A Understand interface design for individuals and organisations

LOB: Be able to use project planning techniques to plan, design and develop a user interface

LOC: Be able to review a user interface.

Year 7- Analysing Data and Asking Questions - Introduction to spreadsheets

Year 8 - Spy School-Revisiting Spreadsheets, Introduction to Data structure and storage

Year 9 - Advanced Spreadsheets

Component 2:

LOA: A Understand how data is collected and used by organisations and its impact on individuals

LOB: Be able to create a dashboard using data manipulation tools

LOC: Be able draw conclusions and review data presentation methods.

Year 7 - E-Safety

Year 8 - Image manipulation, consider the impact that edited images can have in society

Year 9 - Cyber Security and legislation, the threats and how to mitigate the risks from online sources and risks to data. 

Component 3:

AO1: Demonstrate knowledge of facts, terms, processes and issues in relation to digital information technology

AO2: Demonstrate an understanding of facts, terms, processes and issues in relation to digital information technology

AO3: Apply an understanding of facts, terms, processes and issues in relation to digital information technology

AO4: Make connections with the concepts, issues, terms and processes in digital information technology


Preparation for Future:

Living in a world that increasingly relies on digital skills, the KS3 curriculum will enable our students to become confident, responsible users of technology.

Many core skills are developed within computing such as:

  • Analysis, evaluation and terminology across each topic,
  • Logic and reasoning skills are developed when programming,
  • Planning, Drafting and Editing are skills used throughout computing,
  • Students develop their resilience through using new software, and producing programs that sometimes require more than one attempt to run correctly.
  • Working together to discuss and plan some projects, develops communication and team building skills.

Key Stage 4

All students will complete the BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Digital Information.


This qualification will teach the learner about data management and information systems. What different technologies could be used, why they should use them and how to make best use of them, to gather, store, manipulate and present data and information.

They will learn about tools and techniques for use in different digital hardware and software technologies, and how these can be integrated to create digital solutions to manage and communicate data and information. They will also be taught what data and information are and the legal, ethical and moral considerations when using technology to gather, store and present data and information, and how to mitigate the risks of cyber-attacks. Through this qualification they will be able to select and use the most appropriate technology safely and effectively, to complete a data management task.

They will also learn to follow a project life cycle of initiation, planning, execution and evaluation to complete a data management task and use their skills, knowledge and understanding of technology to complete each of the phases of the project life cycle. 

There are three units of assessment. Learners must complete all units of assessment to achieve the qualification.  


Component 1: Internally assessed.

Exploring User Interface Design Principles and Project Planning Techniques

Learners will develop their understanding of what makes an effective user interface and how to effectively manage a project. They will use this understanding to plan, design and create a user interface.

Learning outcomes:

  • A - Understand interface design for individuals and organisations
  • B - Be able to use project planning techniques to plan, design and develop a user interface
  • C - Be able to review a user interface.

Component 2: Internally assessed.

Collecting, Presenting and Interpreting Data

Learners will understand the characteristics of data and information and how they help organisations in decision making. They will use data manipulation methods to create a dashboard to present and draw conclusions from information.

Learning outcomes:

  • A - Understand how data is collected and used by organisations and its impact on individuals
  • B - Be able to create a dashboard using data manipulation tools
  • C - Be able draw conclusions and review data presentation methods.

Component 3: External Synoptic.

Effective Digital Working Practices

Learners will explore how organisations use digital systems and the wider implications associated with their use.

Assessment objectives:

  • AO1 - Demonstrate knowledge of facts, terms, processes and issues in relation to digital information technology
  • AO2 - Demonstrate an understanding of facts, terms, processes and issues in relation to digital information technology
  • AO3 - Apply an understanding of facts, terms, processes and issues in relation to digital information technology
  • AO4 - Make connections with the concepts, issues, terms and processes in digital information technology

This external component builds on knowledge, understanding and skills acquired and developed across the qualification. It requires learners to select and integrate knowledge and understanding synoptically from all components. It is assessed through an external assessment that is set and marked by Pearson. Questions will require learners to apply knowledge and understanding to the given scenarios or context. 

Links to other components  

The table below illustrates how knowledge, understanding and skills from components across this qualification could be integrated to the delivery of this component. The skills support learners in making a synoptic response.


ComponentMaterial from the component that learners could select and integrate in their synoptic assessment response to Component 3
Component 1:
Exploring User Interface Design Principles and Projects Planning Techniques

Topic area A1 

  • Types of interfaces 
  • Factors affecting the choice of user interface

Topic area A2 

  • Accessibility needs

Topic area B1 

  • Planning tools
Component 2:
Collecting, Presenting and Interpreting Data

Topic area A7 

  • Threats to individuals


Key vocabulary:

Initiation, Planning, Data, Information, Manipulation, Modelling, Processing, Malware, Threats, Security, Output, Merge, Integrated system, Policies, Iteratively, Systemic, Review, Data capture.


Equally weighted, the three components focus on the assessment of knowledge, skills and practices.
These are all essential to developing a basis for progression and therefore learners need to achieve all components in order to achieve the qualification.

All results are awarded on the following scale: 

  • Level 2 – Distinction* (*2), Distinction (D2), Merit (M2), Pass (P2) 
  • Level 1 – Distinction (D1), Merit (M1), Pass (P1) and Unclassified.

Components 1 and 2 are centre-assessed controlled assessment tasks which is then moderated by Pearson’s, students will have approximately 6 hours to complete each of these project-based assessments.  Prior to and in preparation for this assessment they will be taught the skills needed to complete all objectives; however, once they have started the controlled assessment unit and under the requirement set out by Pearson’s, they will receive no marking, or feedback, however students own notes are allowed. These units must be completed and assessed before undertaking the final component.

Component 3 is a written paper, set and marked by Pearson’s, this paper will take 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete. In preparation for this paper, students will undertake a range of practical tasks to teach the theoretical knowledge required. To ensure that students are familiar with the content and form of exam style questions, student will also complete practice papers.  


The skills, knowledge and understanding they will develop through this qualification are very relevant to both work and further study. They will support them in a range of subject areas such as A Levels in Business, or further IT based qualifications. They can also support their progression into employment through Apprenticeships that require data management skills.


Preparation for the Future:

Completing this qualification, prepares students for future study in most subjects involving digital, or information/data management skills.

The project planning abilities developed throughout KS4 are transferrable to most future contexts. Being able to decompose a problem, to then plan and execute its solution, is an applicable skill in most workplace and personal life situations.

Practical skills developed makes them confident users of technologies and their systems, a sought-after ability in a world where most workplace practices require the use of technology in one form or another.

Learning about the impact of technologies and their relevant legal implications, teaches students about the moral and ethical issues surrounding its use; this not only creates a responsible digital citizen, it informs their own practices surrounding data security.