Belfast Royal Academy - founded 1785


Computing/Digital Technology


Key Stage 3

Computing is studied as a discrete subject (one period per week) allowing pupils to experience a range of topics, including:

  • Computer Hardware/Software
  • Connecting computers together (computer networks)
  • How to stay safe online
  • Computational thinking and algorithms
  • Data Representation (Binary, Decimal and Hexadecimal number systems)
  • Boolean Logic
  • Programming concepts* (sequence, selection and iteration)

* Form 1 and 2 pupils will use Python language, Form 3 they will use C# to aid progression to GCSE

OCR GCSE (9-1) Computer Science

Computing is of enormous importance to the economy, and the role of Computer Science as a discipline itself, as an ‘underpinning’ subject across science and engineering, is growing rapidly. This course in Computer Science offers candidates a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of how computers work and to create and troubleshoot computer programs for real-life purposes relating to their own personal interests. Computer Science develops valuable programming and computational thinking skills, which are increasingly relevant to a wide variety of jobs.

The qualification is split into two components:

  • Computer Systems Component 1 (50% of GCSE) – students will explore aspects of computer hardware including processors, memory and storage and networking. Students will also build skills in the ever-important realm of cyber security, investigate how types of software are used within computer systems while considering how computers and computing affect ethical, legal, cultural and environmental issues (Assessment – 1 hour 30 minutes written paper).
  • Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming Component 2 (50% of GCSE) – students study fundamental algorithms in Computer Science and build a firm foundation in programming techniques. Students learn how to produce programs through diagrams and thoroughly test programs and make them resistant to misuse. Students will also explore Boolean algebra including Logic Gates and gain an understanding of how data is stored in computers in Binary form (Assessment – 1 hour 30 minutes written paper).

CCEA GCSE Digital Technology

CCEA offers a new, up-to-date course to prepare students with a wide range of digital skills. Completing this GCSE allows students to gather a range of theoretical knowledge as well as the practical skills applicable to a number of prospective careers. The specification develops practical skills using a range of generic software or in an object-oriented environment. It provides a sound basis for further study in both GCE Digital Technology and GCE Software Systems Development.

There are three units for this qualification:

  • Unit 1: Digital Technology (30% of GCSE) – students explore a range of digital technologies available for data storage, manipulation, presentation and transfer. Students will also explore Database and Spreadsheet applications. Students gain knowledge of computer hardware and network technologies. They also evaluate the importance of data security particularly in cloud technologies and explore the ethical legal and environmental impact of digital technology on wider society (Assessment – 1 hour written paper).
  • Unit 2: Digital Authoring Concepts (40% of GCSE) – students gain an understanding of the concepts in the development of digital systems. Throughout this unit students will explore designing solutions including prototyping, documentation, storyboarding and data modelling whilst paying consideration to accessibility and cross platform compatibility. Students will work with Multimedia applications developing knowledge on Multimedia authoring, scripting and HTML. They will also explore Database development gaining an understanding in structure, SQL, complex reports and data integrity. Students will development knowledge on the significance of testing and developing of appropriate test plans and evaluation of digitally authored systems against a set of user requirements (Assessment – 1 hour 30 minutes written paper).
  • Unit 3: Digital Authoring Practice (30% of GCSE) – students design, develop and test digital multimedia systems. The aim of this unit is to consolidate the learning across the specification through practical activity. Students are required to design and build a Multimedia application and a Data Handling application then perform testing and evaluation on their solution (Assessment – Controlled Assessment Task).

A Level
CCEA GCE Digital Technology

Digital Technology is for students interested in current and emerging technologies, the impact they have and how to use them effectively. GCE Digital Technology gives students opportunities to develop advanced skills in a range of development environments and apply these to relevant work-related scenarios.
The specification is as follows:

  • AS Unit 1: Approaches to Systems Development (50% of AS; 20% of A Level) – students develop knowledge and understanding of the various approaches to the development of complex systems, the key stages in the development process and the outputs produced at each stage (Assessment – 1 hour 30 minutes written paper).
  • AS Unit 2: Fundamentals of Digital Technology (50% of AS; 20% of A Level) – students develop knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of any system, such as data representation, computer architecture, software and the user interface (Assessment – 1 hour 30 minutes written paper).
  • A2 Unit 1: Information Systems (40% of A Level) – students develop knowledge and understanding of information systems and the applications on Digital Technology in the modern world. Students also develop knowledge and understanding of Data Handling applications, Networking and legal/ethical considerations using Digital Technology applications. (Assessment – 2 hour 30 minutes written paper).
  • A2 Unit 2 Application Development (20% of A Level) – students have the opportunity to become involved in a real-world situation detailed in a case study. Pupils apply their skills, knowledge and understanding of digital technology to solve a problem for a specified client. This piece of coursework involves the writing of a substantial amount of documentation.

A Level
CCEA GCE Software Systems Development

Students will develop significant programming skills in the language of their choice – the focus programming language will be C♯ in preparation for third level education. In the final A2 unit, students will build a Relational Database Management Systems (RDMS) application through an object-oriented environment. This course is aimed at those pupils who are interesting in programming and technical computing as a future career.

  • AS 1: Introduction to Object Oriented Development (25% of A level) – students adopt an object-oriented approach to problem solving. They develop their object-oriented skills while learning to appreciate the benefits of developing applications in this type of environment. (Assessment – 2 hour written paper).
  • AS 2: Event Driven Programming (25% of A level) – students learn to implement and develop object-oriented technologies in an event driven environment. Students are able to state requirements and design, implement, test and evaluate their application (Assessment – coursework portfolio).
  • A2 1: Systems Approaches and Database Concepts (25% of A level) – students develop their understanding of the reasons for systems development. They are introduced to important database concepts that enable them to understand relational database systems implemented through Structured Query Language (Assessment – 2 hour written paper).
  • A2 2: Implementing Solutions (25% of A level) – In Unit A2 2 students design and implement a solution to a given problem using the knowledge and skills they have acquired in the preceding units. The unit allows them to experience the elements of the systems development process. Students build their solutions using a relational database management system through an event driven programming environment (Assessment – coursework portfolio).