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Computing - Key Stage 3

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Curriculum Year 7 / Year 8 / Year 9


Supporting your child

Extended learning




What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


Computer Systems

Pupils explore how a computer works in both a traditional desktop and in a portable Raspberry Pi. We look at hardware and software components as well as understanding the basics of networking and how the internet works.

This introductory unit gives pupils an understanding of how everyday technology works. Having foundation knowledge of how hardware and systems work enables pupils to then use devices and applications in the rest of their learning.


Pupils further their knowledge of Office software with an emphasis on formulas and using conditions to analyse data.

Having explored the different types of software in the Computer Systems unit, pupils gain core Office skills and learn to use one of the most powerful pieces of software that they may use in their later lives – a spreadsheet. We introduce conditions and mathematical skills which are vital for programming.

Turtle Graphics

Pupils are introduced to the Python programming language using the Turtle module to draw repeated patterns, introducing the programming techniques of iteration and creating procedures.

We teach Python as it is a widely used language which forgives a lot of mistakes made in early programming. The mathematical skills used in the Spreadsheets unit are explored further in creating shapes and patterns and by using an online IDE in replit we reflect on how the internet works from the Computer Systems unit.


Pupils learn about algorithms and flowcharts using Flowol to create programs that control virtual simulations of real-life scenarios such as a traffic light or theme park attraction.

Computational thinking as a skill underpins all the learning pupils do in Computing lessons. This unit explicitly covers computational thinking by exploring the algorithms behind scenarios. The problem-solving skills and programming concepts developed in Turtle Graphics are taken further here as pupils apply those skills in a different context.


What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


Functional Programming

Pupils use GeomLab to explore the manipulation of shapes using a functional programming language.

Pattern recognition and decomposition skills used in the Turtle Graphics and Flowol units from Year 7 are taken further in analysing problems and determining solutions. Learning a second programming language allows pupils to compare and contrast with Python and see how different languages can approach problems in different ways, as well as giving a chance to apply broader programming skills through a different syntax.

Web Design

Pupils learn to write HTML and CSS code to edit elements of a webpage, before designing and coding a website on a topic of their choosing.

HTML and CSS, while not truly programming languages, allow pupils further experiences of coding, building upon Python and Geomlab while also allowing further development of good programming practices. This unit also links back to the Computer Systems unit from Year 7 where pupils learned how a website works.


Pupils use BBC micro:bits and the Microsoft MakeCode website to understand physical computing and programming.


Pupils are programming in a different environment using block-based coding rather than writing lines of code. By this point in year 8 pupils will have experienced a wide range of programming languages and should begin to recognise the underlying programming concepts being used.

Digital Graphics

Pupils use GIMP to source, edit and create images using a range of techniques and tools. Time is also spent discussing and exploring the dangers of image editing, with a focus on social media and airbrushing.

This is a creative unit which gives pupils an insight into the KS4 Creative iMedia course, further developing the creative design and development skills used in the Web Design unit. We also build upon the learning pupils have done in PSHE about esafety and social media.

Data Representation

Pupils learn about the binary number system used by computers and how this is used to store numbers, text, images, and sounds. We also begin to explore compression and efficiency.

Having used computers and technology extensively throughout Years 7 and 8, this unit explores how computers store data, building upon the Computer Systems unit from Year 7. This unit also serves as an insight into the KS4 Computer Science course.

App Development

Pupils explore real-life problems and examine how technology can be used to solve them. Using AppLab, pupils design and develop their own app to solve an identified problem.

The understanding of real-life problems and how computational thinking can be applied has been previously explored by pupils in Year 7 with Flowol and earlier in Year 8 with micro:bits. Here this is taken into a potentially more relevant context as pupils further develop their design and development skills from both the Web Design and Digital Graphics units.


What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


Algorithms & Pseudocode

Pupils are introduced to algorithms by recognising that they have been using them in all their programming work. Pupils then formalise their understanding by solving algorithmic solutions to problems.

Pupils have been using and applying algorithms since their first foray into programming with Turtle Graphics in Year 7. Pseudocode is introduced as an alternative way to represent an algorithm compared to the flowcharts used in the Flowol unit. This unit also prepares for the GCSE Computer Science course and links back to each programming unit that has been covered.


Pupils build upon programming experience from previous years and the computational thinking skills developed in other units to create solutions in the Python programming language.

The Python language was first used in Year 7 for Turtle Graphics. Here we build upon the basic syntax and programming skills learned there - and explored in other languages since - to solve problems and code general-purpose programs. This unit also builds directly upon the algorithms learned in the previous unit as they are now made concrete with Python.


Pupils use the p5.js JavaScript library for programming with a focus on creativity and applying problem solving skills.

The culmination of all programming knowledge developed across KS3. While pupils are learning a new language, they are still applying the same concepts which have been refined over the last 3 years in programming and computational thinking units. The design and development skills fostered in Year 8 Web Design and Digital Graphics also come in handy as this is such a creative topic. Conceptually, this unit gives preparation for both Computer Science and Creative iMedia KS4 courses.


Assessment in Computing is an ongoing process backed up by summative tasks at the end of each unit. Verbal feedback and formative comments are given by teachers in lessons and further teaching is then adapted to suit the needs of each class. End of unit assessments take the form of written tests, tasks to be completed, presentations of work or a project summing up the unit’s learning.

Supporting your child

What you can do at home:

The most meaningful thing you can do to support your child in Computing lessons is simply to take an interest and ask them to show you what they have been doing in lessons. We will teach everything in class and ensure suitable support is in place for those who may be struggling.


No additional equipment is required for Computing lessons.


Extended learning

Homework policy:

Homework in Computing is set once per unit in Years 7-9. This often takes the form of consolidating in-class learning before moving onto more advanced concepts, though sometimes homework is used to prepare for a lesson by bringing in a design or plan which will then be implemented. In Years 7 and 8 we set one piece of homework per year which is formally assessed and graded as part of our assessment policy.

Clubs/ Enrichment opportunities:

For those keen to go beyond the classroom and do more in the Computing department we run several clubs at lunchtime and after school, including programming, games design and image editing. We take part in the FXP Competition each year to design and develop games using GDevelop, competing against other schools from across Cambridgeshire. During Activities Week, Year 8 and 9 pupils are offered the opportunity to take part in further activities within the department.

Extended study suggestions and reading lists:

All required programming skills will be taught in lessons, but for those wanting to go further we suggest the following ‘teach yourself’ websites:

Codecademy – free and paid courses covering a wide range of languages.
Khan Academy – free introductory and advanced courses for a wide range of languages.
Replit Learn and Replit Curriculum – free lessons and tutorials in the online IDE we use each year. – free courses and activities exploring computing concepts.

The ‘Swift Playgrounds’ app on iPads is also an excellent resource.

Possible trips and visits:

While we do not have any fixed trips in the Computing Department, we have previously visited the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge. We would welcome any suggestions for potential trips.