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 years are undertaking the new two year KS3, the department have devised a Computing curriculum based on the programme of study by the DfE. This includes a number of practical programming units using both visual and textual based and theoretical units investigating Hardware and Software and Data representation. All pupils also participate in an e-Safety unit accredited by the British Computer Society.

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

Curriculum Content - KS4

Computer Science GCSE (AQA)

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:

3. Fundamentals of data representation

4. Computer systems

5. Fundamentals of computer networks

6. Fundamentals of 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

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

90 marks

50% of GCSE

Curriculum Content - KS5

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 as a brand new A-Level course beginning September 2016. 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




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.