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Copley Academy

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ICT, including Computer Science


Curriculum Intent

Powerful Knowledge in Computing is based on the ability to abstract and decompose a problem to produce a solution through thorough investigation. Students have opportunities throughout KS3 to produce robust and considered solutions to problems posed in class. Alongside this, it is important students develop an understanding of how the hardware within a computer functions, removing the ‘black box’ nature of technology.  

Our KS3 curriculum is designed to ensure that students studying GCSE Computer Science, or any other ICT Qualification, have a grounding in the fundamental concepts covered at KS4. Students start with the ‘big picture’, studying Hardware and Algorithms, giving them the skills to access later topics such as Binary and Hexadecimal, where students study the mathematical makeup of machines. Over the 3 years, students learn to program in 3 languages, starting with block-based languages before progressing to High-Level Languages. The development of programming skills is also built into physical Computing tasks such as coding thermometers and LED lights to effectively apply the knowledge learnt in earlier Algorithm and Programming units.  

After KS3, students can access either the GCSE in Computer Science or the BTEC in Digital IT.

Curriculum Content


Year 7

Students will be introduced to the topic of E-safety and Digital Literacy. Children are instructed how to log on and use the Copley Academy resources safely. Students will be shown their network storage and how to submit work for assessment. Students will be shown how to set up their files and folders, following department guidelines, and will be shown how they will be assessed. Students will then move on to learn about Computer Systems in Term 2 and Programming in term 3.

Year 8

The first unit is programming and Algorithms where students will learn how to write programs in both pseudocode and flowchart notation. This unit will link on from year 7 programming in the summer. We hope to start advance programming in year 8, so students are ready to pick options in year 9.

In term 2, students will learn the fundamentals of computer science in preparation for the GCSE in Computer Science. Students will be taught about memory, sound hardware/software, the role of the CPU and data representation in a unit entitled: System Architecture.

In the third term, students learn about networking, the internet and web design. In this unit students will learn how computers connect to each other and how they communicate. Students will learn what a LAN and WAN are, what hardware is required to connect and how to create and manage topologies. Students will also study network security and factors that can affect network performance. This unit also introduces students to website design in fireworks. They will learn how to link pages together and add content to create a formal and professional looking website. They will learn how to add functionality and address a wide audience, including those with a visual impairment. Students will plan their websites and decided on an appropriate house style which will be replicated in Fireworks.

Year 9

Year 9 begins with a unit on Advanced Systems architecture. Students will learn the fundamentals of PCs including an introduction to hardware and software, data representation, types of memory, recommending a PC for given scenarios. Students will learn about network types and topologies and be able to list benefits and drawbacks of each network type. Students will be given a writing frame for the longer answer questions and shown how to answer these types of questions correctly.

In term 2, students move on to Algorithms, Computational thinking and programming where students will write several algorithms in both pseudocode and flowchart notation as well as learn about how data is represented within a computer system.

Year 9 finishes with a unit on Encryption and Mobile app development.

Students will learn the different methods of Encryption dating back to the Julius Cesar Cipher Algorithm and then will learn how to create an App for a mobile phone using software called App inventor.

Year 10

BTEC Digital IT:

Component 1: Exploring User Interface Designs

You will explore user interfaces, discover how to develop and review them, and investigate how to use project planning techniques.  

Component 2: Collecting, Presenting and interpreting Data 

You will explore how data impacts on individuals and organizations. Develop a dashboard using data manipulation tools. Draw conclusions and make recommendations on data intelligence. 

Component 3: Effective Digital Working Practices 

The aim of this component is to explore how organisations use digital systems and the wider implications associated with their use.  You will explore how modern IT is evolving. Understand what cyber security is and how to safeguard against it. Consider legal and ethical issues in data and information sharing.  

The external assessment will demonstrate your knowledge to propose digital solutions to realistic situations.  


GCSE Computer Science:

Component 1 - Computer Systems. Students will:  

· Study how processors work.  

· Investigate computer memory and storage.  

· Explore modern network layouts and how they function. 

· Build skills in the ever-important realm of cyber security. 

· Investigate how types of software are used within computer systems.  

· Stretch wider comprehension of how computers and computing affect ethical, legal, cultural and environmental issues.   

Component 2 - Computational Thinking, Algorithms and  

Programming. Students will:

· Study fundamental algorithms in computer science.  

· Build a firm foundation in programming techniques.  

· Produce programs through diagrams.  

· Thoroughly test programs and make them resistant to misuse.  

· Explore Boolean algebra (AND, OR, NOT).  

· Understand how we store data within computers in binary form. 


A Programming Project: All students will undertake a programming task or tasks during their course of study. The programming task(s) will allow students to develop skills within the following areas when programming:  

· Design 

· Write 

· Test 

· Use new-found programming skills on an independent coding project 


Year 11


GCSE Course Details



GCSE Computer Science

BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Digital Information Technology


Exam Board



Syllabus Details

Computer Science J276

Qualification number: 603/2740/6


Link to Exam Board Website


Assessment Details

The assessment is 100% exam based.

Computer systems (50%) – 1hr 30mins written examination.

Computational thinking (50%) - 1hr 30mins written exam on algorithms and programming.

Programming project – 20 hours practical unit.   

Equivalent to one GCSE, the BTEC DIT Tech Award is a qualification that will help students develop the knowledge and skills needed to go on to further education in IT or computing.  


Coursework Details

100% exam based subject

The course Includes 3 Components - 2 of which are coursework based and are internally assessed. The final component is externally assessed in the form of an examination

Recommended Course Books

The textbooks that are recommended by the exam board can be found here:


A list of recommended resources can be found here:



Suggested Websites

BBC Bitesize Year 7 Computing -

Teach ICT -

Ks3 Computing Quizzes -

BBC Bitesize Year8 Computing -

Teach ICT -

Ks3 Computing Quizzes -

BBC Bitesize Year 9 -

Cambridge Computing -

Craig & Dave Computing -

Craig & Dave Computing YouTube Channel -

Enrichment Opportunities

Copley Academy intends to embed lunchtime and after school clubs, including web developing/app designer and games club, post September 2020

We frequently take advantage of opportunities with our partners, such as: App/Web design workshops and Manchester University; work with The Computer Science Museum and the National Museum of Computing.

Students from the University of Manchester run ‘Mini MIT’ for KS3 students to learn how to program robots.

There are plenty of opportunities for students to enter competitions throughout the year. E.g. Bafta young game designer and APPS for good.

Places of interest to visit as a family:  Auto trader Event, Alan Turing Memorial, Computing Museum, Bletchley Park, Science and Industry Museum.

Students from the University of Manchester run ‘Mini MIT’ for KS3 students to learn how to program robots.



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