Newcastle Academy, Gallowstree Lane, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 2QS
Part of Windsor Academy Trust
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Computer Science

Curriculum Overview 


The Computer Science curriculum is designed to build upon the computing skills learned at Key Stage 3 (Computer Systems, Networks, Algorithms, and Programming) and to develop pupils into both Computer Scientists and/or logical/computational thinkers.

During the three year course pupils will encounter the AQA GCSE in Computer Science and will be taught each of the specific units as well as broadening their experience through enrichment activities linked to units, such as the Lego League and building a PC.  Pupils will be taught how to use analytical and logical thinking to achieve in component 1 of the specification and will develop knowledge skills for component 2.  Python will be used to deliver the programming aspects of the course as this is an industry standard programming language.

Pupils will be encouraged to extend their knowledge at post-16 and will be introduced to relevant post-16 topics throughout the course.



Pupils are able to opt for Computer Science in KS4.  If they choose this subject they will receive 5 hours per fortnight and study the AQA GCSE Computer Science in Years 9, 10 & 11.  This specification consists of:

  • 2 examinations (50% each taken in June Year 11)

During the course pupils will develop skills during Year 9 and 10 which build upon each other and link to the specific units on the AQA specification.  They will also be given examination skills through WTMs and PPEs to enable the pupils to transfer their knowledge into examination practice.  Year 11 will be focused on ensuring that the knowledge gained in Years 9 and 10 is secure, through examination techniques and assessment practices.

Teaching and learning will be focused on delivering the academy Quality First Teaching Principles, ensuring that knowledge and understanding is secure and revisited and that pupils are able to perform long term recall of topics.



How grades are decided for input; what are the grades based upon?

Assessments will take a variety of forms, but will primarily focus on developing the practice required to recall knowledge and demonstrate understanding linked to the examination.  Formal assessments will take the form of written examination questions/papers, whilst formative assessment will be delivered in forms such as online, q&a, revision tests.

Assessments will be graded according to the AQA grade boundaries with a wide range of assessments used to validate the data.  Each topic will be given a grade to assist with the profiling of pupils to improve performance.

Assessment maps will also be used to enable profiling of pupils to identify areas of development. 

The evidence base for assessment input; where do we find the students work?

Formal assessments will be found on GCSEPod or in folders as evidence of assessment for grading.

Pupils work will be stored electronically using Office 365 for revision materials/notes where appropriate.  Pupils will also use books to make notes, answer in class questions.

A tracker for each class can be found on the OneDrive detailing the grades given for each assessment and overview grades for the course. 

Faculty Assessment Maps

Assessment maps are regularly used by teachers in their assessment of students’ work during lessons. These assessment maps are used to track the progress of subject specific skills, providing students with clear next steps.

Staff will:

  • Ensure that students have access to their own assessment maps and explain that the maps help staff to assess student attainment in lessons, tests, exams and homework against GCSE criteria. The maps help us to plot current attainment and, more importantly, outline what progress steps are needed to improve further. The maps may be stuck into books/folders or held electronically
  • Allow students to assess their work against the maps. Students or teachers should highlight which aspects of the map they think they have achieved and then tick when this skill is secured – the starting point for this process is their most recent CWG (Current Working Grade) and EAP (Expected Attainment Pathway) target. The CWG gives an indication of the level/grade at which a student is working taking into account assessments, tests, classwork and homework.
  • In conversation with students verify or amend the self-assessment.
  • Ensure that by the end of this process all student copies of the assessment map which are available to both students and teachers during every lesson
  • In situations, staff may utilise mini-maps to aid the teaching of specific aspects or outcomes of the assessment map.


As can be seen, this process is best undertaken via individual learning conversations with students. As part of this a target setting process is undertaken whereby next steps for improvement are agreed.

Not only does this process highlight GCSE/BTEC skills throughout Y7-11, it also clearly maps out what a student needs to do to improve. Teachers will use this information to plan subsequent lessons and assessments.  This approach to assessment and feedback is a common one across all subject areas, providing a consistent pattern for students. 


Standardisation is completed before each data collection week and follows this process:

  • All staff attend the meeting
  • Staff bring a requested sample of books
  • HoF ensures subject Assessment maps and any KS4 Mark Schemes are available
  • Staff look at books from another member of staff to agree or request amendments to assessment marks, then to comment on amount of work and consistent use of school policy