IT & Computing

At St Mary’s we believe that the future workforce will need technical expertise in areas such as IT and Computing, plus skills which robots cannot replace – flexibility, empathy, creativity and enterprise. The Digital Revolution was prompted by the Bank of England’s prediction that up to 15 million jobs are at risk of automation across the UK economy including professions such as law and accountancy. The economy is changing at an unprecedented pace. Every day, jobs are being lost in professions we used to regard as careers for life. Artificial intelligence, robots, 3D printing and driverless vehicles will impact on sectors as varied as the legal profession, transport and construction.

In the Digital Revolution, knowledge is as necessary as ever, but it is not enough. It has to be connected with the real world through practical applications. This is why we are offer all pupils at Key Stage 3 1hr a week IT & Computing lessons and all Key Stage 4/5 pupils the opportunity to study IT & Computing at a higher level.

Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 pupils follow the programmes of study set out by the national curriculum.
Year 7

·          Introduction to computers

·          Binary

·          Online safety

·          Scratch

·          Modelling

Year 8

·         Graphics

·         Web Development

·         Modelling

·         Programming with Scratch to Python

Year 9

·          Understanding Computers

·          Festival Project

·         Python

·          Data Handling


Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4

(IT) Certificate in Creative i-Media.

The qualifications aim to empower learners to play an active role in the digital sector rather than being simply consumers of digital content. Tailor-made to meet the needs of today’s creative industries, the qualifications covers


  • Unit 1 – Understanding Computer Systems (R081)  - Written exam (1 hour) – 60 marks
  • Unit 2 – Creating Digital Graphics (R082) - Coursework – 60 marks
  • Unit 3 – Web Design (R085)  – Coursework 60 marks
  • Unit 4 – Creating Animations (R086) - Coursework – 60 marks


The qualification is ideal for students who want the opportunity to explore and acquire a broad understanding and knowledge of the creative digital industries, and the ability to apply that knowledge in practical contexts


Learning will take place through a mixture of real life case studies and practical tasks.

Pupils are assessed throughout the course, via practical assignments and a practical exam.  These assessments will provide the pupils with regular feedback and the opportunity to analyse and improve their performance, as well as help build confidence in applying their knowledge. This course is unique in the fact it offers a 75% internally assessed practical, 25% external practical examination weighting, which we feel will really benefit our students.


After completing the qualification, you will have the foundation of knowledge and skills you need to progress to further study of computing and IT-related courses at St Mary’s sixth form or elsewhere.


You will succeed on this course if you:

-          Enjoy designing and completing challenging ICT tasks

-          Are happy to work hard in a practical way

-          Are willing to go that extra mile to get the best grade you can

-          Like to use the Internet and work online independently

GCSE Computer Science


Course content

This course involves working with real-world programming and provides a good understanding of the fundamental principles of computing. You will have a chance to look at computer systems, networks and security, and the use of algorithms in computer programs. You will also evaluate the effectiveness of computer programs / solutions and the ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impact of computer technology in society today and in the future. This GCSE provides an academically challenging specification for students of all ability levels.


How will you be assessed?

There are two externally assessed examinations at the end of Year 11. There is a considerable amount of practical programming to build skills, but it is likely that from 2019 this will no longer be externally assessed.


You will succeed on this course if you:

-          Have an interest in computers and how they work

-          Enjoy completing practical programming tasks

-          Like working independently both offline and online

-          Are happy to work hard at analysis and problem solving

-          Enjoy being on the edge of your knowledge and like a challenge


Note that this is an academically challenging and demanding course, most suitable for students who have a target grade of 6 or above in maths, and / or an aptitude for languages.



Key Stage 5
Key Stage 5
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Information Technology


This qualification is designed for learners who are interested in an introduction to the study of creating IT systems to manage and share information, alongside other fields of study, with a view to progressing to a wide range of higher education courses, not necessarily in IT. Learners will develop a common core of IT knowledge and study areas such as managing and processing data to support business and using IT to communicate and share information.


Equivalent in size to 1 A-Level


You will study 4 units. A mix of written exam, controlled assessment and internally marked coursework.


Course Details and Assessment


You will study a total of four units over the duration of this two year course:


Unit 1: Information Technology Systems


Information technology (IT) systems have a significant role in the world around us and play a part in almost everything we do. Having a sound understanding of how to effectively select and use appropriate IT systems will benefit you personally and professionally.


You will explore the relationships between the hardware and software that form an IT system, and the way that systems work individually and together, as well as the relationship between the user and the system. You will examine issues related to the use of IT systems and the impact that they have on organisations and individuals.


This unit is assessed through a 2 hour written examination. The result in this unit contributes to 33% of the final qualification grade.


Unit 2: Creating Systems to Manage Information


In order to produce information to support many business processes as well as our social lives, relational databases are widely used to manage and process data. From the smallest in-house systems to stock control systems for large online retailers, databases are repositories of information that are a significant part of organisational operating requirements.


You will examine the structure of data and its origins, and how an efficient data design follows through to an effective and useful database. You will examine a given scenario and develop an effective design solution to produce a database system. You will then test your solution to ensure that it works correctly. Finally, you will evaluate each stage of the development process and the effectiveness of your database solution.


This unit is assessed through a 10 hour examination board set task that you will completed over a 1 week period. The result in this unit contributes to 25% of the final qualification grade.


Unit 3: Using Social Media in Business


Social media websites are a popular way for people to communicate and share information with friends and family. People spend a lot of time on social media websites and they give businesses opportunities to interact with people, for example to promote their business or to encourage people to visit their e-commerce site and buy. You may be familiar with social media for personal use and in this unit you will discover how it can be used in a business context.


You will explore different social media websites, the ways in which they can be used and the potential pitfalls when using them for business purposes. You will develop a plan to use social media strategies for business purposes to achieve specific objectives. You will then implement the plan, developing and posting content and interacting with others. Finally, you will collect data on the business use of social media and review the effectiveness of your efforts.


This unit is assessed through an internally set assignment that you will complete during your timetabled lessons. The result in this unit contributes to 25% of the final qualification grade.


Unit 4: Data Modelling


In all aspects of life, individuals are constantly faced with situations where they must weigh up the available information in order to produce alternatives and make decisions. In the working environment, effective decision making can ensure the successful development of organisations. Poor decision making can have significant negative consequences and can even lead to the demise of an organisation.


In this unit, you will investigate the fundamentals of the decision-making process. You will find out how using data modelling provides the computational ability to compare consequences, and determine a preferred course of action. You will develop the skills and techniques necessary to create complex spreadsheets in order to produce accurate information that informs decision making. You will examine a scenario and then design, develop and test a spreadsheet; you will review your spreadsheet and make refinements based on user feedback, providing an evaluation of the effectiveness of the alternatives produced.


This unit is assessed through an internally set assignment that you will complete during your timetabled lessons. The result in this unit contributes to 17% of the final qualification grade.


Exam Board:  Edexcel Pearsons

For further details please visit:


For further information about the ICT & Computing curriculum please contact:

Mr S Gannon (Head of Department)