Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

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IT & Computing

The vision of the department continues to develop in line with that of the government’s. The department now offers both an ICT and Computer Science qualification at GCSE.

  • Pupils are prepared for a world in which Computing is seen as a natural part.
  • Every child leaves able to use computing efficiently and effectively at an appropriate level.
  • Pupils are aware of the dangers associated with the development of computing and their E-Safety.
  • Pupils understand what is meant by programming and have a basic knowledge of coding and algorithms.
  • Curricular and extra-curricular activities that enhance learning and enjoyment of the discipline.
  • Pupils are aware of the possibilities created by the developments within computing.
  • Pupils have an understanding of careers and opportunities in Computing and ICT related jobs.

Curriculum Content - KS3

The current first and second year pupils are undertaking a two year KS3 Computing curriculum that the department have devised based on the programme of study by the DfE. This includes a number of practical programming units using both visual and textual based languages and theoretical units investigating Hardware and Software and Data representation. All pupils also complete an e-Safety unit.

The School’s Computing (ICT) curriculum has always been dynamic and the department’s staff have always tried to provide a rich curriculum, we therefore do not foresee a complete redevelopment of the curriculum, rather some amending and fine tuning. The department has refined and redeveloped its unique tracking and assessment systems so that they encourage greater pupil reflection and provide pupils with a clearer understanding of pupil’s performance in a unit and across the key stage.

Year 7 Topics include:

  • - Understanding Computers
  • - Programming using BBC MicroBits
  • - Data Handling (MS Access)
  • - Networks & The Internet
  • - E-Safety

Year 8 Topics include:

  • - Data representation
  • - Programming using Python
  • - HTML Web design
  • - Modelling using Spreadsheets
  • - Cybersecurity

Curriculum Content - KS4

Computer Science GCSE (AQA - 8525)

Computer technology continues to advance rapidly. The growth in the use of mobile devices and web-related technologies has exploded, resulting in new challenges for employers and employees. Computing is of enormous importance to the economy, and the role of Computer Science as a discipline itself and as an ‘underpinning’ subject across science and engineering is growing at an exponential rate.

The qualification gives pupils an understanding of key computing concepts and the fundamentals of programming. The course also contains some advanced mathematical concepts including an understanding of the use of number bases, e.g. binary and hexadecimal notation. Students will need to be able to understand the concepts behind binary arithmetic and base number conversions, and to manipulate and link various programming concepts such as flowcharts, data types, variable manipulation, program flow control, functions, procedures and error handling.

Assessment summary:

Paper 1: Computational thinking, problem solving, code tracing and applied computing as well as theoretical knowledge of:

  1. Fundamentals of algorithms
  2. Programming

Written exam: 2 hours

90 marks

50% of GCSE

Paper 2: Theoretical knowledge of:

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

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

90 marks

50% of GCSE

More information: Computer Science GCSE AQA 8525

Cambridge Nationals - Information Technologies Level 1/2 (OCR - J808)

The collection and communication of data and storing of data/information happens all around us. Technology underpins how it’s collected and communicated nearly all of the time. It can be seen in all walks of life, from a wearable fitness tracker recording how many steps you have taken, your mobile phone provider recording your usage to create your bill or an online retailer being able to target you with specific promotions based on your purchase history.

Knowing how and why data is gathered and being able to turn raw data into something meaningful is essential as the learner moves through education and into employment. To be able to do this the learner will need to have the confidence to use a range of information technology that is currently available, as well as being adaptable and resilient enough to deal with the rapid advances.

Content overview

R012: Understanding tools, techniques, methods and processes for technological solutions

Students develop their knowledge and understanding of different hardware and software applications and the tools and techniques used to select, store, manipulate and present data. They also explore the various risks associated with the collection, storage and use of data, including legal, moral, ethical and security issues, and how such risks can be mitigated.

R013: Developing technological solutions

Students create a technological solution that processes data and communicates information, following the phases of the project life cycle using different hardware and software technologies to create an integrated technological solution. They develop practical skills such as carrying out a SWOT analysis, creating GANTT charts, developing online surveys, and presenting data through web-based technologies

Assessment summary:

There are two units of assessment. To claim the OCR Level 1/2 Cambridge National Certificate Information Technologies qualification, learners must complete both units of assessment. Performance in both assessments will be underpinned by acquiring the knowledge, understanding and skills specified for the qualification through learning by doing.


R012 – Theory Paper

1 hour 45 minutes written examination

80 marks (120 UMS)

OCR-set and marked

50% of the overall grade

R013 – Developing technological solutions (Coursework)

Approximately 20 hours 

80 marks (120 UMS)

An assignment set by OCR, marked by teachers and moderated by OCR

The assignment will include a context and set of tasks

A new assignment will be released each series and published on the OCR website

50% of the overall grade


More information: Information Technologies Level 1/2 OCR J808

Curriculum Content - KS5

A Level Computer Science (AQA – 7517)

This A-level can help lead to a wide range of degrees at university including: computer science, software engineering, mathematics, engineering, information systems, computer security, game development and other sciences.

It is an exciting time to be a computer scientist! We are living in the midst of a revolution powered by computers. This revolution has invaded all aspects of society. It is a communication revolution, a transportation revolution, a medical revolution, an entertainment revolution. Consider the things one would need to give up to live a day without computers:

  • Social networking: email, IM, Facebook, texting, cell phone, landline phone
  • Transportation: GPS, car, planes, trains
  • Medical systems: electronic health records, nearly all medical tests
  • Commerce: ecommerce, ATMs, credit cards, debit cards

The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School is pleased to offer Computer Science at A-Level. The course will follow the AQA specification, which is a new and up-to-date syllabus that focuses on the skills students need to progress to higher education or thrive in the workplace.

A-Level specification at a glance:

  • Fundamentals of programming
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Fundamentals of algorithms
  • Theory of computation
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture

    More information: A Level Computer Science AQA 7517




What's assessed

This paper tests a student's ability to program, as well as their theoretical knowledge.


What's assessed

This paper tests a student's ability to answer questions through extended writing.

What's assessed

The non-exam assessment assesses student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve or investigate a practical problem.


On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

40% of A-level


Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

40% of A-level


75 marks

20% of A-level


Students answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend programs in an electronic answer document


Compulsory short-answer and extended-answer questions.