ICT and Computer Science

ICT and Computer Science


The department is characterised by approachable, conscientious staff who always make students the focal point of their energy and commitment.  The curriculum offers the best of both ICT and Computer Science: enabling students to create documents and use spreadsheets and databases effectively whilst offering students with a creative edge the opportunity to develop their image and animation skill set and students with a problem-solving bias an opportunity to develop their programming skills. The department also takes a lead role in promoting safe use of computers and the internet using the latest available Esafety material including videos and literature as well as providing opportunities for students to discuss the social, ethical and moral implications of the digital world.


carl-elliottThe department is run by Carl Elliott (c.elliott@burford.oxon.sch.uk) with two further members of staff. The school boasts 6 dedicated computer rooms and the department works closely with the Network Manager who provides an effective, reliable computer network service across the school.   For the past 3 years the department has been awarded BCS’s Computing At Schools Teaching Excellence in Computer Science award.




After school clubs are provided for talented and keen students who wish to stretch their abilities. Catch up and support is also offered on a one to one basis for the students that need it, and at a time that suits them. Some of the support sessions and clubs offered are:


  • Programming Club after school on a Thursday
  • GCSE Programming Catch-Up Friday after school
  • Drop in sessions on Tuesday and Thursday


The department offers the school’s exceptional programmers the opportunity to take part in the British Informatics Olympiad programming competition which starts annually in December.


This year saw the department’s first Photoshop competition, since the school has now purchased a licence for the full Adobe ® CC Creative Suite. There were some excellent entries from all ages.


Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 all students receive a 1 hour timetabled lesson per week in mixed ability classes.  The curriculum is taught through a series of units covering both ICT and Computer Science. The tasks enable the students to develop their ICT skills, acquire a basic knowledge of computer components and networks as well as an opportunity to develop their problem solving and programming skills.

All students are expected to use ICT appropriately in other subjects and the department strive to make all students independent users of ICT by the end of Year 9.  In addition to providing the basic knowledge to undertake GCSEs in ICT or Computer Science the KS3 curriculum also enables students to apply their ICT skills in their chosen GCSE subjects.


Key Stage 4:

AQA GCSE Computer Science


The school offers two courses at KS4: AQA’s Computer Science GCSE and a GCSE in ICT following the WJEC specification. However, due to Government reforms ICT GCSE will cease to be offered after 2016 and will be replaced by an alternative Level 2 qualification.

The Computer Science GCSE consists of 2 programming projects completed under controlled assessment conditions and 1 theory paper of short answer questions.  Here the students will learn the fundamental concepts involved in programming as well as a specific language in which to write solutions to given problems. The department supports most languages but particularly Python, java, C# and Pascal, AQA provide a range of tasks to suit the skills and interests of the students including game design, business programs and web apps.

The current WJEC specification for ICT consists of two theory papers and two pieces of controlled assessment.  Unit 1 & Unit 3 are exam papers composed of short answer questions on topics such as databases, control systems and spreadsheets as well as networks, operating systems and ICT legislation.  Unit 2 requires the students to complete a series of tasks on the computer using presentation, database and spreadsheet software in 22.5 hours under controlled assessment conditions. Unit 4 provides students with an exciting way to demonstrate their creative and computer skills. They will be expected to develop a multimedia website or presentation under controlled assessment conditions.

Key Stage 5:

AQA ‘A’ Level Computer Science

AQA Level 3 Tech-Level in IT

‘A’ Level Computer Science with AQA suits able students who enjoy solving problems and who have a strong mathematical bias.  The emphasis is on computational thinking which is about developing logical skills needed to solve problems and write code. In the past students taking this course have continued their education studying Computing, Maths, Engineering or Science at university or alternatively taken up apprenticeships in Engineering and industry.

Level 3 Tech-Level in IT provided by AQA is for the students who would prefer a vocational work-related course. You will study four units over 2 years, two of which will be examined.

  • Unit 1 – Fundamental principles of computing (External Examination)
  • Unit 2 – Communication Technologies (External Examination)
  • Unit 3 – Developing & maintaining computer networks (Internally assessed)
  • Unit 4 – Supporting end users (Internally assessed)

Four completed units are equivalent to one ‘A’ Level with equivalent UCAS points.  Students achieve a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*

This course suits students planning to go on to further education or looking for a future in computing and business.


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