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Computer Science


The department is staffed by:

Miss A. McLean - Subject Leader

Mrs A. Evans

Mrs S. Larkin

Mr T. Nugent

Miss R. Simpson      

All teachers have responsibility for teaching KS3, KS4 and Sixth form Computer Science and ICT. Staff are available at break times and most days after school to give help and support to students wanting to improve their work. Over the year a number of extracurricular activities take place from using Raspberry Pis, to coding clubs.

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KS3 Computer Science and ICT

In Years 7 and 8 lessons focus on key skills in computer science to prepare those students who wish to study Computer Science or ICT at GCSE level. Students are taught in a way that promotes and utilises knowledge and understanding of computing. Programming will be a core activity at KS3 because it enables the students to access and release the potential of the computer they are using.

At Upton High School, students show a keen interest and are stimulated by the use of Computer Science and ICT and are very enthusiastic about exploring new software systems. As a result of this, we are developing materials to guide our “interested, gifted and talented” students towards extending their capability beyond what they experience in lessons. Students who are interested in this development can visit gaming web sites such as and

Year 7

In year 7, emphasis is placed on improving students' skills, confidence and awareness of Computer Science and ICT. Some of the modules that students complete are:

  • Introduction to Computers
  • Digital Literacy
  • E-Safety
  • Visual Programming with Algorithms (Game Creation)
  • Introduction to Text-Based Programming

Year 8

During Year 8 a greater emphasis is placed on developing students' capability to solve problems using the software skills they have acquired. Some of the modules that students complete are: 

  • Heroes of Computing
  • Small Basic with Algorithms
  • Binary
  • Web Design using HTML & CSS

Options KS4

AQA GCSE Computer Science

The Computer Science department is offering GCSE Computer Science as an alternative to ICT. This course will give the students an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and what goes on behind the scenes.

Engaging and Contemporary – We’ve talked to companies like Microsoft, Google and Cisco, organisations like Computing At School (CAS)

Focus on Cyber Security – It looks at phishing, malware, firewalls and people as the ‘weak point’ in secure systems, which students will study for the first time at this level.

Providing a Greater Emphasis on ‘Computational Thinking’ - It allows us to take a complex problem, understand what the problem is and develop possible solutions. We can then present these solutions in a way that a computer, a human, or both, can understand.

Encourages Mental Versatility – Students use their new-found programming skills on an independent coding project by solving a real-world problem of their choice.

The topics covered in this course are:

1. Algorithms

2. Programming

3. Design Testing and Translation

4. Data Representation

5. Components of a Computer System

6. Networks and Issues

The course is assessed over three units:

  • Paper 1: Computational thinking and problem solving, including Programming
  • Paper 2: Computer Networks, Cyber Security, Ethical, Legal and Environmental impact of Digital technology


Question Type



A mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing a student’s practical problem solving and computational thinking skills.

  • Written exam set in practically based scenarios: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of GCSE


A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing a student’s theoretical knowledge.

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of GCSE

Non-examined Assessment

The development of a computer program along with the computer programming code itself which has been designed, written and tested by a student to solve a problem.

  • Report: totalling 20 hours of work
  • 80 marks
  • 20% of GCSE

GCSE Information Technology Level 2 Qualification - Creative Media

Digital Media is a key part of many areas of our everyday lives and vital to the UK economy. Production of digital media products is a requirement of almost every business so there is huge demand for a skilled and digitally literate workforce. T

This qualification will help students develop specific and transferable skills such as research, planning, and review, working with others and communicating creative concepts. The qualification’s hands-on approach has strong relevance to the way young people use the technology required in creative media.

Current Course - OCR National in Creative I-media

This qualification is aimed at creative learners with a passion for digital applications. Tailor-made to meet the needs of today’s creative industries, it covers creative multimedia, artwork and imaging, game making and developing web products.


This qualification aims to:

  • equip young people with the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to design and make, effective digital products for others to use
  • enable young people to use digital tools as a means of expression to inform, persuade and entertain
  • foster young people’s creativity and develop their independent learning skills
  • challenge young people to reflect on what they produce and strive for excellence
  • increase young people’s awareness of their responsibilities in the digital world and their respect of other people’s rights
  • equip young people with professional, real-world skills in planning, project management and communication  give young people the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to support future learning and exploit the creative digital industries.


Mandatory Unit:

Students must complete these units:



Pre-production Skills

1hr 15 minute Practical Exam

2 Creating digital graphics Project

Students also need to complete two of the following units:


Example Optional Units



Website design



Digital Animation



Game Development



Digital Video



Interactive Multimedia


Practical examination

The examination will be set and marked by the exam board.

Summative Project Briefs

The Summative Project is the means by which students bring together the knowledge, skills and understanding they have acquired throughout the unit into a synoptic piece of work. There is one Summative Project for each unit, each based on a brief. Summative Project Briefs are set by the exam board, administered and marked by the centre, and moderated by the exam board. 

Year 12 & 13

AQA A Level Computer Science

Course Outline

The specification consists of two exams and a non-exam assessment, which assesses student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve or investigate a practical problem. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving.

The topics covered by the course include:

  1. Fundamentals of programming
  2. Fundamentals of data structures
  3. Fundamentals of algorithms
  4. Theory of computation
  5. Fundamentals of data representation
  6. Fundamentals of computer systems
  7. Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  8. Consequences of uses of computing
  9. Fundamentals of communication and networking
  10. Fundamentals of databases
  11. Big Data
  12. Fundamentals of functional programming
  13. Systematic approach to problem solving




  • Assessment


What's assessed: this paper tests a student's ability to program, as well as their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science from subject content 1 to 4.

Students answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend programs in an Electronic Answer Document provided by us.

We will issue Preliminary Material, a Skeleton Program (available in each of the Programming Languages) and, where appropriate, test data, for use in the exam

  • On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 40% of A-level



  • What's assessed: this paper tests a student's ability to answer questions from subject content 5 – 13.

Compulsory short-answer and extended-answer questions.

  • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 40% of A-level


Non-exam Assessment

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. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving.

Students make their own choice about what they want to do a project in. This goes from creating a game, a simulation or an app, a translator, or a website with backend database. The ideas are endless.

  • 75 marks
  • 20% of A-level


KS3 Assessment

Students will complete a baseline test at points during the year to assess their overall progress, the tests are based on how their computational thinking is developing, and this is a test that cannot be revised for.

Assessments are done for each unit and is Teacher assessed based on work done in lesson.

KS4 Assessment

In GCSE Computer Science, students will sit topic tests when appropriate, they will be given ample time to revise and resources to help them. Students in Y10 will complete an end of year exam, with Y11 students completing two mock exams.

In CiDA (ICT) the assessment is ongoing, with the teacher assessing the work as the students are producing it as all work forms a portfolio.

KS5 Assessment

At A Level students will sit topic tests when appropriate, they will be given ample time to revise and resources to help them. In Y12 students will sit two Internal Exams in the summer to gauge their understanding and knowledge development in Computer Science, along with testing their programming skills.

In Year 13 students will sit a mock exam that tests their theory knowledge and understanding.


Homework will be set by the class teacher when deemed appropriate. Homework will be set to consolidate work that has been done in class or to review work for an upcoming assessment.

Sixth Form: Homework will be set when it is appropriate for the activity completed in class. Students should be making sure that they are practising their programming each week, along with reviewing along with reviewing their notes from class.

Year 11: Homework will be set each week using a workbook that has been provided to each student. If homework is not set that week, students are to use the time to review their theory notes from Year 10, the workbook has sections on this.

Year 10: Homework will be set that builds on the activities covered in class. If homework is not set that week, students are to use the time to review their theory notes from the previous year or practice their programming skills.

Year 9: Homework when appropriate to the class activities, if homework is not set students need to use the time to practice their programming skills.

KS3: Homework to be set when appropriate for the class activity.

Department Marking Policy

Students will be set work through Google Classroom, and work is returned via the same method. Google Classroom allows students to view their work from any computer or device with an Internet connection (at home or school), and also access lesson material and tasks set by the teacher.

Class teachers are then able to access the work and provide marking electronically.

At Key Stage 3 - Marking Targets

General Marking: Students will be awarded What Went Well (WWW) and Even Better If (EBI) to give student feedback on what they are doing in lesson.

Targets will be generic skills that students can use across the different units that will improve general skills and knowledge in their work production.

Students will be given WWW and EBI grades which they will need to look up, with the EBI grade being implemented in their next piece of work or in the next unit of work.






Unit knowledge applied accurately



Understanding of key terms



Detail of work






Presentation of work



Work Organisation



Skill/Work Evidence



Self-Review of work

Verbal Feedback

During lessons, students will receive verbal feedback on their work, with guidance on what they can do to improve or modify it. Most units have practical elements that require feedback throughout the lesson to ensure that the work is developing correctly. It is during these lessons that students will be reviewing and refining their work constantly, along with gaining verbal feedback from the teacher to guide them.

Extended Marking and Feedback

During each half term, students will receive a piece of constructive feedback on their current work and time to go and improve what they have done (DIRT). Feedback will give the students a focus and direction on how to improve their work/skill during that lesson.

The final piece of work will be uploaded by the students through Google Classroom for final marking and assessment. This will then form part of their overall mark for that unit, and  work in conjunction with the teacher’s classroom observations.

At Key Stage 4 and 5

At GCSE and A Level the level of marking is done when required by the teacher, many activities are marked in class to aid with the students’ understanding of the theory studied. Google Classroom is used to set assignments to allow teachers access to work digitally, allow for corrections and improvements to be made.

Much of the feedback given to students is verbal as is the nature of the practical implications of the subject, with students reviewing their work each lesson and continually making changes and improvements. Students are given milestone hand in dates for work to be upload to allow the class teacher to review it and given extended feedback, before further improvements are carried out by the students.