Our world is digital. An understanding of computer science will enable young people to make informed choices in their digital world. This is important for all our children, not just those who will become the graphic designers, games programmers or software engineers of the future.

The Computing Curriculum is designed to equip students with knowledge, understanding, skills and a desire to learn more about the three disciplines within Computing: IT, Digital Literacy and Computer Science. 

They will learn IT skills that will help them use a computer well, create digital products and become effective digital citizens.  

They will become digitally literate including staying safe online, understanding the impact of computing, and learning the key moments that shaped our digital world.  

And they will study Computer Science:  how computers work, how they communicate globally, why Computational Thinking helps us solve problems, and how to create algorithms and programs to achieve our goals. 

At all stages of the curriculum, students are encouraged to work independently, think deeply, and write effectively about the content. There are many opportunities for enrichment and further elective study, such as the Bebras competition, UnitedApp, Vodafone Digital Creators’ Challenge, CyberDiscovery, a trip to Bletchley Park, other trips and some co-curricular work.  

SEND students will not be disadvantaged, as appropriate support and adjustments are embedded where necessary, including alternative work where appropriate, use of accessibility features and trained key worker support. 

The curriculum is designed to prepare students for onward study of either Computer Science or Creative iMedia, if they so choose, but also stands alone as a key element of their Secondary education, preparing all students to become effective creators of a better digital future. 

The curriculum is designed around key “Big Questions” which are broken down into “Enquiry Questions”, and each unit of work seeks to answer these questions in a series of lessons, while delivering new skills and tackling key concepts, as laid out in the following pages. 

More information for pupils is available on the Department website (school Office 365 sign in required).  

WHGS Computing

The Key Stage Three curriculum runs from Year 7 through year 9 and covers the following content: 

Year 7 

Big Question 

Skills / Concepts 

Enquiry Questions 

How do computers work? 

- Basic computer skills 
- Hardware and Software 
- Input/Process/Output model 

- What is hardware and software? 
- What is the difference between input and output? 
- Why is my smartphone the same as the 1948 "Manchester Baby"? 

How do computers  control the world around us? 

- Abstractions and models 
- Creating algorithms to control systems 
- Flowcharting and debugging 

- Why does the traffic light turn red when I press the button? 
- What are abstraction and algorithms? 
- How do I fix a broken algorithm? 

How do we become effective digital citizens? 

- Online dangers and how to stay safe 
- Effective use of the internet 
- Copyright, Privacy, Inappropriate content 

- What are the online dangers and how do I stay safe? 
- How can I be an Internet wizard? 
- What bad stuff is out there and how do I avoid it? 

How do we make digital products? 

- Digital products, purpose, audience 
- Application software  
- Image types, image editing skills 

- What's the purpose of an image? What's the audience? 
- How do edit an image to do a face swap, colour pop or put text behind a person? 
- What makes a great magazine cover? 

How do we program a computer? 

- Review code and predict its function 
- Create code, run and debug it 
- Write a program to solve a problem 

- How do I read program code and predict what it does? 
- What is the microbit capable of? 
- How do I make a space invaders game in 25 pixels? 

Year 8 

Big Question 

Skills / Concepts 

Enquiry Questions 

How do we write programs to solve simple problems? 

- Read a Python program 
- Use IDLE to write simple code 
- Write functions, sequence, selection, iteration 

- Whataresequence, selection, iteration, functions? 
- How can I code a quiz/chatbot/insult generator? 
- How are the apps on my phone created? 

What is Computational Thinking? 

- Problem solving by CT 
- Decomposition 
- Resilience 

- Can any problem be solved? 
- What's the first step to solving a puzzle? 
- Can a solution help somewhere else? 

How do computers change lives? 

- "Digital Divide" 
- Copyright 
- Impact of IT on Health 
- Environmental issues 

- Why are only 1% of Eritreans online? 
- Why does YouTube give "copyright strikes"? 
- Who gets the phones I throw away? 

How do we ensure our online lives are positive? 

- Know the impact of a range of behaviours inc Cyberbullying 
- Safe Relationships on/offline 
- Avoiding sexting and what to do 

- Is being mean always Cyberbullying? 
- I like him/her, that makes it OK, right? 
- This picture makes me uncomfortable, what can I do? 

Why is Binary so important? 

- Convert and add binary 
- how images are stored, vector and bitmap, coding a filter 
- how sound is stored, analogue and digital 

- Why do computers use Binary? 
- How do I code a Snapchat filter? 
- How does auto-tune work? 

How do we stay safe from hackers? 

- Cybercrime and how to stop it 
- Importance of Encryption 
- Coding a cipher 

- Why do people write viruses? 
- How do I become an ethical hacker? 
- How do I send a secret message? 

Year 9 

Big Question 

Skills / Concepts 

Enquiry Questions 

How do we write programs to solve complex problems? 

- Coding to solve medium to complex problems 
- Independently solve word problems with code 
- Describe Search and Sort algorithms 

- How can I code the same problem e.g. "magic 8 ball" two ways? 
- What makes elegant code? 
- How do I sort a list of data efficiently? 

How does Computational Thinking help us write programs? 

- Abstraction, Decomposition, Pattern Matching and Generalisation. 
- Designing algorithms with flowcharts 

- How does CT help me win at Bebras? 
- Why is modular programming more effective than "spaghetti code"? 

How do computers talk to eachother? 

- LAN/WAN, Topologies, Client-Server v P2P 
- How the internet works 
- Network protocols, security and Encryption 

- How does this computer know where Google is? 
- Why does a shopping mall use a Mesh network of Wireless Access Points? 
- What does HTTPS mean and how does it work? 

What were the key developments in Computing? 

- Importance and key developments of:- 
- Turing and Encryption 
- Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web? 
- Babbage and Computational Thinking 
- Boole and Logic 

- Why did Ada Lovelace say computers "might compose elaborate pieces of music" one day? 
- Why do we "click on links" and how does this shrink the world? 
- Can everything be described with logic? 

How harmful is pornography, sexting and revenge porn? 

- Understand the harms of sexual imagery, sexting and revenge porn 
- Staying safe, and handle unwanted approaches and unwelcome demands 
- Reporting harmful content and abusive behaviour 

- Sexual imagery is all part of growing up, surely?  
- I feel abused, what can I do? 
- She dumped me, it's Ok for me to get my own back by sharing these pictures of her, right? 

How do we apply Computing Skill to produce a digital product? 

- System Development Life Cycle 
- How to successfully run a computing project 
- Building a website (IT stream) 
- Writing a program to solve a complex problem (CS stream) 

 - How did Facebook get written? 
- Why did Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 lose 42,000 bags in 10 days?  
- How can I make a website in 4 hours that people enjoy visiting? 
- How can I write a GCSE-quality dice game in 5 hours? 

Student Resources 

Current students can access more support and links to study resources on the Department internal website KS3 page, or via and clicking on KS3. 

'Choices at 14+' Booklet

Towards the end of Year 9 pupils will choose their Key Stage 4 options. We offer two qualifications in the Computing Department, The OCR Computer Science GCSE and the Cambridge Nationals Certificate in Creative iMedia.

GCSE Computer Science

What course will I follow?

OCR GCSE Computer Science

What will I study?

Unit 1: Computer systems (50%) – Written exam paper (1 hour 30 minutes) taken at the end of year 11. This unit covers the body of knowledge about computer systems on, which the examination will be based:

  • Systems architecture
  • Memory Storage
  • Wired and wireless networks
  • Network topologies, protocols and layers
  • Network security
  • System software
  • Moral, social, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

Unit 2: Computational thinking, Algorithms and Programming (50%) – Written exam paper (1 hour 30 minutes) taken at the end of year 11.

  • Translators and facilities of languages
  • Algorithms
  • High- and low-level programming
  • Computational logic
  • Data representation

A programming project, approximately 20 hours of work undertaken within the two years. Candidates will be challenged by a range of exciting and engaging tasks to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned.

Additional Information

The Royal Society report, published in January 2012, states that “every child should have the opportunity of studying Computing at school”. The GCSE OCR computing course will give students a real, in depth understanding of how computer technology works, an insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ including computer programming. The course provides excellent preparation for higher study and employment in the field of Computer Science. The increasing importance of information technologies means there will be a growing demand for professionals who are qualified in this area. The course will develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming. This is a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and applied in day-to-day life and is an excellent preparation for students who want to study or work in areas that rely on these skills, especially where they are applied to technical problems. These areas include engineering, financial and resource management, science and medicine.

Exam Board Website:

Student Resources

Current students can access more support and links to study resources on the Department internal website KS4 page, or via and clicking on KS4. 

Creative iMedia 

What course will I follow? 

OCR Cambridge Nationals Creative iMedia Level 2 Certificate - J817 

What will I study? 

The Cambridge National in Creative iMedia equips students with the wide range of knowledge and skills needed to work in the creative digital media sector. They start at pre-production and develop their skills through practical assignments as they create final multimedia products. Students must complete two mandatory units and two optional units totalling 240 marks. 

R081: Pre-production skills (mandatory) 
Written exam paper, 1 hour 15 mins, worth 60 marks. 

R082: Creating digital graphics (mandatory)
Coursework estimated at 10 hours, assessed by your teacher and moderated by OCR, worth 60 marks. 

Two optional coursework units from the following list (subject to availability of software and teacher approval):  

R083: Creating 2D and 3D digital characters, R084: Storytelling with a comic strip, R085: Creating a multipage website, R086: Creating a digital animation, R087: Creating interactive multimedia products, R088: Creating a digital sound sequence, R089 Creating a digital video sequence, R090: Digital photography, R091: Designing a game concept, R092: Developing digital games.   Each of these modules is worth 60 marks and requires 10 hours of independent coursework assessed by your teacher. 

Grades Available:  

The course is equivalent to a GCSE and is graded as follows: Level 2 Distinction-Star (*2), Level 2 Distinction (D2), Level 2 Merit (M2), Level 2 Pass (P2), Level 1 Distinction (D1), Level 1 Merit (M1), Level 1 Pass (P1). 

Additional Information 

The Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia will equip learners with a range of creative media skills and provide opportunities to develop desirable, transferable skills such as research, planning, and review, working with others and communicating creative concepts effectively. Using these skills, learners will make fit-for-purpose creative media products. The certificate will challenge all learners, including high attaining learners, by introducing them to demanding material and techniques; encouraging independence and creativity and providing tasks that engage with the most taxing aspects of the National Curriculum. 

Student Resources

Current students can access more support and links to study resources on the Department internal website KS4 page, or via and clicking on KS4.


Creative iMedia Course Overview

Computer Science Overview

A-Level Computer Science

Students can remain at WHGS to study Computer Science A-level, where they develop in-depth technical knowledge of computers, and advanced programming skills.

This course opens the door to many exciting and lucrative career opportunities and Higher Education courses in the Digital fields.

View more information on A-Level Computer Science

Racing robot buggies, coding games, writing a text adventure or a chatbot, building an app for your mobile phone, cracking secret codes. Enter National Competitions, earn badges! It all happens at WHGS!

Breaking News!

William Hulme's Grammar School is proud to announce that we have been enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy, bringing huge opportunities to our students!

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