Computing for all at key stage 4

24 November 2021

Computing is vital for all students and is a foundation subject in the national curriculum from key stages 1 to 4. Many students choose to study GCSE Computer Science, while others undertake a high-quality technical qualification or opt not to pursue further study in computing which creates a challenge. How can all students build the knowledge and skills needed in the digital age, where computing is pervasive and most jobs have a digital element?

Our vision is for every child in every school in England to have a world-leading computing education. Of course, schools need to provide for a broad and balanced curriculum, of which computing is a part. The most successful schools deliver, among other things:

  • great breadth and depth of curriculum
  • a curriculum that is open to all pupils, regardless of academic ability

There are many ways to achieve these aims. The National Centre for Computing Education is here to support teachers in providing a world-leading computing education, whatever the particular circumstances of their school. During our course, KS4 computing for all, participants build the case for this core subject to have a fair share of curriculum time and consider the positive impacts of improved digital skills on student study and future employability. We help teachers visualise a key stage 4 computing offer that works for their school, making optimal use of the time, resources and teachers available. The tangible benefits include formal and informal accreditation, improved progression paths, and cross-curricular learning.

In addition, our online training course, Teach Computing in Schools: Creating a Curriculum for Ages 11 to 16, offers support for teachers in developing a computing curriculum for pupils, spanning digital literacy, computer science and Information Technology, using freely available online resources to complement your existing materials.

As part of our complete curriculum programme for 5 to 16 years olds, the Teach Computing Curriculum, we have developed units of work specifically for key stage 4, linked to the national curriculum. Our curriculum resources are free to use and adapt for your setting and include topics such as IT and the world of work, IT project management, media, and online safety. They will help you support learners to understand how the modern workplace may impact their future lives and the methods employed by organisations and industry.

About the authors:

  • Dave Gibbs, Senior subject specialist at STEM Learning
  • Carrie Anne Philbin, Director of Educator Support at Raspberry Pi