Sir James Smith's School


Key Stage Three

All students study ICT for one hour per week. Lessons take place in well-equipped ICT suites with access to a wide range of software.

At KS3 we are teaching a fast-paced, cyclical scheme of learning where each lesson is a contained unit of learning and ICT skill areas will be covered several times each year.  Safe and efficient working practices are addressed every year and all lessons and materials are published to the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment so that students can catch up / extend their learning out of the classroom.

To assess student progress in ICT, students in years seven, eight and nine complete diagnostic on-screen assessments two or three times per year with the detailed breakdown of performance used to monitor progress and inform target setting.

Year Seven Units introduce a range of different software and concepts including creating a racing car game, designing a website for a fireworks display, making a digital advent calendar, mail-merging thank you cards to a database, conducting an online survey and devising an automated solution to improve safety at a water slide.

Year Eight Units will develop the skills learned in Year Seven, extending the skills in different contexts with increasing opportunities for independence. Units will include desktop publishing a poster campaign and party invitations, modelling a new Biome for Eden, creating a digital banner using a graphics package and promoting an event in teams using a variety of paper and digital media.

The focus of Year Nine will be in providing opportunities for students to combine their skills and creativity in order to solve more challenging problems while ensuring that all basic skills have been secured. Units of work will include more extended projects to allow for more independent working. Projects will investigate the impact of online learning, use the web medium to support a campaign, devise a system to manage after-school clubs and create a game for Christmas.

Students in Year 7 and Year 8 will be assessed using STEPS.  To find out more about how this works, please click on the link below.  When the Powerpoint opens, if you would like to view as a Slideshow, select Slideshow from the top bar and then the From the beginning icon on the left hand side of the screen:


Core ICT


Key Stage Four

Core ICT:

All students will continue to study discrete ICT as a part of their Key Stage four Curriculum. This new course will build on the ICT skills learned in years seven, eight and nine in more mature, work-related contexts. Core ICT:  SJS Enterprise Skills is a custom-made hybrid course that will deliver independent and transferable ICT skills, ICT accreditation for all and help to prepare students for work experience, employment and the future.

The course will be examined as AQA Functional Skills ICT at the end of year ten and again at the end of year eleven. It is intended that every student will be certificated by the end of year eleven at either level one or level two: a level two pass is the equivalent of half a GCSE at ‘B’ grade while a level one pass is the equivalent of half an ‘E’ grade.

Examinations are practical and completed on screen, with named printouts submitted to the exam board for marking.  The exams at levels one and two are graded as either pass or fail and they can be taken more than once.

What are Functional Skills?

Functional Skills in ICT are the skills that students will need for life, work and study. They represent a basic level of competence with a variety of applications and the ability to use these competencies to solve real problems. Students will work in different contexts, in groups and independently and will be encouraged to consider and look for opportunities to apply the skills outside the Core ICT classroom, in other subject lessons and in the wider world.

Using ICT

select and use a variety of applications; plan how to use ICT to solve problems; manage computer files; understand password security, safe working practises and computer viruses

Finding and Selecting Information

use search engines, filters and queries; consider validity and bias of sources; understand copyright and intellectual property

Developing, Presenting and Communicating Information

present information in a variety of printed and digital forms; use formatting tools effectively; data-handling and analysis; use ICT to communicate and collaborate; e-safety; evaluate ICT solutions

What are Enterprise Skills?

Enterprise skills are the skills identified by industry as desirable in young employees:

    • Communication / interpersonal skills
    • Problem solving
    • Making things happen
    • Managing risk
    • Self motivation and responsibility
    • Team working
    • Using initiative
    • Negotiation and understanding others

In Core ICT: SJS Enterprise Skills, students will practise, extend and apply the Functional Skills competencies in contexts that encourage the development of Enterprise Skills. Classwork will support work experience, careers guidance, health and safety training and college applications, in addition to problem-solving tasks of increasing complexity and exam preparation.

Enterprise Skills

The new GCSE in ICT from Edexcel represents the most up-to-date, engaging and relevant ICT course available.  Grades range from A*-G.  The GCSE in ICT will reinforce and extend the skills and understanding learned in years seven, eight and nine and is suitable for students of all abilities.

In year ten, students will fine tune and demonstrate their practical skills then work through an extended Controlled Assessment project.  

Sample Practical Task for Unit 2

Each Controlled Assessment Brief (CAB) this will include research tasks, the creation of graphics, printed media and digital content including web pages, movies and presentations. The project will include data-handling elements using both databases and spread sheets and will look at efficient ways of working and best practise.

The project will be planned and completed during lesson time with the completed publications and evidence marked in school. When completing these tasks, students are encouraged to seek feedback and test their work, improving it as they do.  Homework for this practical phase of the project includes research for and reflection on the tasks done in class and the completion of Activity Reviews which evidence the development process.

In year eleven, students will prepare for the written theory exam, learning about the developing range of personal digital devices (mobile phones, personal computers, games consoles and media devices, etc.) and how their use can integrate with modern living in an ever changing world. They will develop an understanding of how data is shared between digital devices and how the Internet is revolutionising leisure, commerce and the use of personal information. Important issues of data use and misuse, intellectual property, security and legislation will be addressed in detail.

The theory exam includes questions related to the technical specification and functions of these devices, multiple choice, short and extended answer questions. 

Unit 1 Theory Exam


GCSE ICT Course Breakdown 



Unit 1: Living in a Digital World

Written Exam


Unit 2: Using Digital Tools

Practical Project


GCSE ICT can prepare students for further study post 16.  Routes into the industry include A-Levels in ICT and/or Computing, Diplomas for IT Practitioners, Systems Support and Creative Media Production.

If you recognise the importance that ICT and digital technology will have in your future study, work and leisure, consider developing your skills and understanding with this new and exciting course.

Please click on the following links to see the Programme of Study for the different Key Stages:


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