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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School

Computer Science & ICT

Computer Science FAQs

What exam board do you follow?

OCR because they have plenty of resources and a large network  of students and staff all over the counter.


Is Computer Science hard?

It is a challenging yet fun, engaging and very modern subject with plenty of transferable skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, numeracy, literacy and communication skills. That will really be beneficial in any future education.


What is ICT and is it the same as Computer Science?

Information Communication Technology is what ICT means – this is the understanding of how information is created, communicated and transferred and shared around the world and the technology used to achieve this.  ICT is embedded within Computer Science but computer science is not also apart of ICT.

Some ICT can be learning out to create digital artefacts such as Power Points and Excel Spread sheets up to a professional level.


My child really likes computers, should they take computer science?

Here at HLS all students get the opportunity to experience Computer Science topics in KS3 (year 7 and 8), however, using the computer all the time to play games, post content on social media such as Tik Tok videos does not mean they will enjoy computer science as a GCSE subject.  You need a passion for the Computer Science and a love for the understanding of how things work within computers.


What is Creative iMedia?

This is a vocational course will offer here at HLS it focuses more on the creative aspect of computing and ICT such as creating targeted Power Points, Web sites and game designing.


How many Computer Science Specialist does HLS have?

We have three computer science specialist that teacher our GCSE and Creative iMedia course.


My child wants to be a doctor, should they take Computer Science?

They can if they have the mind for it but they do not need to, this is the science of how computer systems work rather than topic like biology.


As technology continues to progressively impact all aspects of our lives, here at Higham Lane School we focus on imparting computational thinking as well as digital literacy, creative and e-safety skills across our curriculum. We strive to provide an engaging and challenging curriculum that gives our student a healthy range of lifelong transferable skills.

The Computer Science & ICT Department ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to take part in challenging lessons that promote and nurture of computer science. All students will develop computational thinking; which can then be employed as a cross-curricular skill. We aim to cultivate both independent and collaborative learners.  Students are equipped to use technology with an open mind-set inclusive of moral, social and ethical drawbacks and benefits. 

Across Higham Lane school all students are educated around the dangers and opportunities that Computer Science, inclusive of ICT contain.

Year 7 Curriculum

Our Year 7 curriculum has been designed on developing the skills, and knowledge our students would have begun at Key Stage 2 such as online safety, problem solving, algorithms and digital literacy.

In Year 7, students will study four units, each lasting eight weeks:

  • Using Computers Safely (Digital Literacy) - Students learning about the dangers of computer communication systems and how to use computer safely. They learn about on line safety, file management and a range of computer software packages.
  • Understanding Computers (Hardware and software) - Students will explore various components of a computer in practical session.  This unit is all about understanding computers are made up and how they work.
  • Programming through Scratch (Visual Programming) – Students will being to develop their computation thinking and programming skills using a visual coding language.  This will be used to develop coding skills.
  • Control Systems with Flowol (Algorithmic Thinking) - Students will be learn how to model real work problems using flowcharts and electronically represent these flowcharts using Flowol software.

Year 8 Curriculum

The Year 8 curriculum continues to develop our students towards being completely digital literate, have a heightened awareness of online safety, and develop textual coding and being to use creative computing skills. By Year 8, our students will have a foundation of both computing and ICT skills. Elements of the Computer Science GCSE and ICT are embedded within the Year 8 curriculum so the options at the end of Year 8 can be approached fully informed with examples to draw upon.

In Year 8, students complete four units:

  • Advanced E-safety (Digital Literacy) – Student learning about the various hazards related to online presence e.g. viruses, fraud, fake-identity, using social media safely, firewall, file-management and so on. 
  • Computer crime and Cyber Security (Security & Ethics) – Students will further develop their e-safety skills by becoming aware of the legalities and legislations around hacking, GDPR, copyrights as well as health and safely issues.
  • Programming with Small Basic (Coding/Programming) – Students will learning the basis of computer programming using the textual coding language Small Basic.
  • Adobe Photoshop (Information Technology) – Students will learning how to use the professional graphic software Adobe Photoshop.  Students will create, manipulate and edit graphics using the software.

Year 9 Curriculum

In Year 9, students will study component one of the GCSE curriculum. There are six units and each unit will last for six weeks. They will have the same Computer Science teacher throughout the year.

The six units are:

Unit 1 (Systems):

This unit includes: CPU, Functions & Characteristics of CPU, Memory and Storage.

Unit 2 (Memory and Storage):

This unit includes: Memory and Storage, Types of Memory and Storage with storage mediums.

Unit 3 (Wired and Wireless Networks):

This unit includes: Internet, Local-area-network, Wireless networking, Client-Server networking, Peer-to-Peer networking and Protocols and Layers.

Unit 4 (Network Threats):

This unit includes: Identifying and preventing vulnerabilities, Operating system software and utility software.

Unit 5 (System Software):

This unit includes: The application and use of software within a computer system.

Unit 6 (Ethics):

This unit includes: Ethical and cultural issues, Computers in the modern world, Legislation and Privacy.

Year 10 Curriculum

In Year 10, students will study component two of the GCSE curriculum. There are six units and they will have the same teacher for the whole year.

The five units are:

Unit 7 (Algorithms)

This unit includes designing algorithms for common computer science problems.

Unit 8 (Programming)

This unit involves learning the key concepts of programming.

Unit 9 (Robust Programming):

This unit includes: ensuring code and computer programs are tested before deployment.

Unit 10 (Logic and Languages)

This unit involves understanding how logic gates work in relation to the mechanics of a computer.

Unit 11 (Languages and IDEs)

This unit involves understanding how computer languages and IDEs work to produce solutions for computer programmers.

Year 11 Curriculum

In Year 11, students will study component three of the GCSE curriculum. In this component students’ programming skills will be tested. They will be asked to model, design, program and evaluate a computer program. The fundamental programming concepts will be revised, however, students are required to carry out this programming project independently.

Students will also get the opportunity to recap on Component 1 and Component 2 of the course in preparation for the exams sat at the end of the year.

Year 12 and Year 13 Curriculum


Component 1:  Computer Systems

This component investigates computer architecture, communication, data representation, data structures, software applications, software development, algorithms and the ethical, cultural and legal impacts of Computer Science in society.

Component 2: Algorithms and Programming

This component assesses both the written and practical application of programming to solve problems. Units involve elements of computational thinking, problem solving, programming and writing algorithms to solve problems.

Component 3: Programming Project

This component allows the learner to choose their own computing based problem to solve and they will create a program that solves the problem. This program could include an application, game or simple database. This will be assessed in the form of a project write-up which will usually take place in the second year of the course.

M Lewis, Subject Leader for Computer Science & ICT