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Welcome to

St Albans Girls' School


Curriculum Intent and Overview
The Computing Department follows a curriculum that equips students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and analyse the constantly evolving world they live in. It develops learners with the confidence to use different software tools and show a high standard of digital literacy, and builds on the knowledge and understanding of how computers work and communicate from KS3 to higher education.



The Department

Curriculum Leader: Mr C McCarthy


An enjoyment and interest in problem solving and technical challenges is at the forefront of our teaching and learning in Computing. Our Computing  curriculum covers aspects of computer science, digital literacy and information technology and has been developed to equip our students with the functional skills, knowledge and understanding of computing they will need for the rest of their lives.

We offer a variety of clubs, competitions and extra curricular activities for students to participate in such as Coding Club, The iDEA Award, BAFTA Young Game Designers Competition, The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition, The Digital Creator’s Challenge (Vodafone), CyberFirst Girls and the Bebras Computing Challenge.

Students study Computing for 1 hour a week in Years 7, 8 and 9.

What will be studied?

Year 7

  • Let’s get started: Basic Computer Skills development and Online Safety
  • Programming
  • Spreadsheets
  • Creating media
  • Programming II

Year 8

  • Inside the computer
  • App Development
  • Online Safety
  • Python I
  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Data Representation - numerical

Year 9

  • Cybersecurity
  • Spreadsheets II
  • Python II
  • Web Development
  • Data representation - Audiovisual
  • Data Science

​​​What websites are recommended?

  • Use of
  • Use of BBC Bitesize
  • Use of
  • Keeping up with technological developments through resources such as BBC Click, BBC Make IT Digital, The gadget man etc.
  • Use teaching resources on Google Classroom

GCSE: Computer Science

Exam Board: OCR

Specification Number: J277

Students can select to study Computer Science as one of their Curriculum Choices. Both Year 10 and Year 11 students will have five hours of teaching per fortnight and follow the OCR GCSE Computer Science J277 Specification.

What will be studied?

This qualification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills established through the Computer Science elements of the Key Stage 3 programme of study and encourages students to:



• understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation 

• analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs

• think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically

• understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems

• understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society

• apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science

How is the course assessed?

Paper 1 - Computer Systems. Written paper, 1.5 hours, 50%

Introduces students to the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, data representation, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with computer science.

Paper 2 - Computational Thinking, algorithms and programming.  Written paper, 1.5 hours, 50%

Students apply knowledge and understanding gained in component 01. They develop skills and understanding in computational thinking: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic and translators.

Practical Programming - Students are given the opportunity to undertake a programming task(s) during their course of study which allows them to develop their skills to design, write, test and refine programs using a high-level programming language. Students will be assessed on these skills during the written examinations, in particular paper 2.

What references are recommended?

The department has OCR textbooks, workbooks and revision guides that we would recommend. Parents can contact the department if they would like the ISBN numbers. There is a vast amount of resources on Google Classroom.

What websites are recommended?

BBC Bitesize, Seneca Learning and Craig and Dave for theory learning and OCR for past papers.

A Level Computer Science

Exam Board: OCR

Specification Number: H446

What will be studied?

This qualification helps students understand the core academic principles of computer science. Classroom learning is transferred into creating real-world systems through the creation of an independent programming project. It develops the student’s technical understanding and their ability to analyse and solve problems using computational thinking.

How is the course assessed?

Unit 1 – Computer Systems, 140 marks, 2hr 30 minutes, 40%

  • Students are introduced to the internal workings of the (CPU), data exchange, software development, data types and legal and ethical issues. The resulting knowledge and understanding will underpin their work in component 03.
    It covers:
  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Types of software and the different methodologies used to develop software
  • Data exchange between different systems
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues
  • Computer architecture (processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software development and low and high level languages
  • Exchanging data (compression, encryption, hacking, databases, networks and web technologies)
  • Data types, data structures and boolean algebra
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues

Unit 2 – Algorithms and programming, 140 marks, 2hr 30 minutes, 40%

This builds on component 01 to include computational thinking and problem-solving.

It covers:

  • What is meant by computational thinking (thinking abstractly, thinking ahead, thinking procedurally etc.)
  • Problem solving and programming – how computers and programs can be used to solve problems
  • Algorithms and how they can be used to describe and solve problems

Unit 3 – Programming project (coursework / Non-exam assessment), 70 marks, 20%

Students are expected to apply the principles of computational thinking to a practical coding programming project. They will analyse, design, develop, test, evaluate and document a program written in a suitable programming language. The project is designed to be independently chosen by the student and provides them with the flexibility to investigate projects within the diverse field of computer science. We support a wide and diverse range of languages.

What texts are recommended?

Computer Science: An Overview by J. Glenn Brookshear

Algorithmic Puzzles by Anany Levitin and Maria Levitin

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzod

What websites are recommended?

What equipment is needed?

Wider reading materials are referenced in the attachment below:

Get in touch

Mr P O'Neill

Sandridgebury Lane

St Albans



(To request a paper copy, please contact our Administration Department)

01727 853134