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Charles Darwin School

Information Technology


Information Technology [IT]  is delivered across all three key stages and remains a popular exam subject at both KS4 and KS5. Students have access to a wide range of industry standard software, an allocated user area and a school email account. The aim of the IT department is to “provide all students with a positive learning experience in IT and equip them with the knowledge and understanding they need in the future”.

Year 7 IT
In Year 7, IT is taught as a discrete subject encompassing Computing, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Digital Literacy. We take students’ e-safety seriously and we deliver a scheme of work which provides students with an understanding about the positive and negative impacts of communicating online, how to use ICT sensibly, what acceptable use is and where to access help if they feel they need it. The Year 7 IT curriculum also runs alongside Charles Darwin School’s whole-school e-safety policy activities to ensure a consistent message is being delivered to students. During lessons students will be introduced to the fundamentals of computing and computer programming to enable them to create simple commands using both text based and graphic based languages. ICT will be used to enhance and support these computing activities as well as enabling students to develop their analytical and evaluative skills and to understand their use of IT against real-life examples and scenarios.

Year 8 IT
In Year 8, IT is taught as a discrete subject and students will again look at e-safety and how they can be critical about the information they see online. They carry out scenario based activities where they can extend their previous knowledge and experience of IT, developing and creating robust examples that clearly demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how and where ICT can be applied to resolve problems.

Students will build upon the computing and ICT knowledge that they have gained in Year 7, experimenting with the planning, design and testing of more complex code and using advanced features of software to meet the needs of a given scenario.

GCSE courses are completed during Years 9 – 11. The ICT department offers students two opportunities to gain an IT qualification either through a vocational Cambridge Nationals qualification or via a GCSE Computer Science course.

The Cambridge Nationals Information Technologies enables students to complete a foundation year which introduces them to the fundamentals of the project lifecycle and allows them to develop their data management and data manipulation skills that they will need to apply in subsequent years. Students are assessed by completing a controlled conditions coursework task in which they are able to demonstrate their understanding of how the development of a solution can be planned, designed, delivered and managed through structured process.  They will also complete an externally assessed unit in which they cover the theoretical aspects of this process.

The GCSE Computing Science course enables students to complete a foundation year which introduces them to new IT and computer system terminology, and basic elements of design and development using computer programming that they will need to understand in subsequent years. The subsequent years of the course will see students completing sections on computer systems, computational thinking, algorithms and programming and completing a programming project. They will undergo two external assessments to demonstrate their theoretical understanding and one internal assessment to test their practical ability to design, create and test a programme meeting a given set of requirements.

A Level ICT

GCE Computer Science. This course has computational thinking at its core, helping students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence. It will also allow students to apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems in an exciting and engaging manner.

BTEC IT course.  This course is supported by experienced staff that provide strong subject knowledge and a variety of teaching methods to engage and facilitate learning. This course allows learners to develop a common core of IT knowledge such as the relationship between hardware and software that forms an IT system, managing and processing data to support business and using IT to communicate and share information.

Year 7 topics

  • Understanding e-safety
  • Using computer software effectively
  • Introduction to computing and programming
  • Introduction to spreadsheet modelling
  • Introduction to web design and creation

    Year 8 topics

  • Exploring e-safety
  • Intermediate computing and programming
  • Managing data using databases
  • Designing and creating webpages
  • Using software to present information

    GCSE Courses

  • Cambridge Nationals in IT – Understanding tools, techniques, methods and processes for technological solutions, Developing technological solutions.
  • GCSE Computer Science – Computer Systems, Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming, Programming Project.

    A level Courses

  • GCE OCR Computer Science – Computing Principles, Computer Systems, Algorithms and Programming, Programming Project.
  • BTEC National Extended Certificate in IT- Information Technology Systems, Creating Systems to Manage Information, Using Social Media in Business, Data Modelling.


Why choose the subject? 

  • Learn to use a wide range of industry standard software.
  • Learn to choose appropriate software and hardware
  • Understand how IT can be used to solve problems
  • Understand how the technology you use every day works
  • Develop your programming skills
  • Develop your design skills

Common Questions 

Q.  In which year do I start to learn ICT?
A.  The ICT curriculum starts in year 7 where you will be taught IT for 1 lesson per week. Students will have ICT for 1 lesson per week in year 8 and IT is then an option choice for students in year 9.

Q.  Will I be able to do some programming?
A.  Basic programming is introduced in year 7 and 8. You can then choose GCSE Computing as an option subject for year 9-11 study. There are also additional clubs or activities which will enable you to further develop your programming skills.

Q.  Do I need to have special equipment?
A.  It is certainly useful, but not essential to have a computer at home. You will be set a combination of computer based and written home work. The IT department has computers which are available for the completion of homework during lunch break or after school. A flash drive or memory stick could be useful to transfer work between home and school, as long as it is backed up.

Q.  Will there be IT trips available?
A.  We are always looking to enrich the ICT curriculum. Trips are organised which are specific to the topic or course you are studying. Trips have included: Intel Super Academy, The Digital Summer, The Big Hitter’s conference

Who will teach me? 

Miss Edwards, Mr Simpson or Ms Elliott

Useful Links, apps and magazines 


The Guardian: Technology
The Times: Technology
The Telegraph: Technology
BBC Bitesize
How Stuff Works: Tech
Think U Know: 11-16
Code Academy
Show My Homework


ICT GCSE revision 

ICT Quiz

ICT Revision GCSE (AE Productions)

GCSE Computing (Darren Smith)

Edexcel- Past papers


How IT Works
BBC Focus