Sandbach Highschool

Curriculum Intentions


“We live in a world where our lives are surrounded by ever changing computer-based Technology. Our aim is to inspire the young minds of today to embrace this technology. To provide the knowledge/skills required for students to engage confidently with up-to-date developments in computing, by providing an exciting and challenging curriculum”. 

The increasing use of technology in all aspects of society makes confident, creative and productive use of IT an essential skill for life. Computer capability encompasses not only the mastery of technical skills and techniques but also the understanding to apply these skills purposefully, safely and responsibly. Computing is fundamental to participation and engagement in modern society. 

Here at Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College, the Computing department is committed to imparting to all students the practical competence, analytical ability and communication skills necessary to work with computing technology in later life. 

Curriculum Intentions  

The study of computing at Key Stage 3 (KS3) equips students with the fundamental skills in computational thinking and forges links between other areas of study such as Mathematics, Science, Geography and Design and Technology. Students are taught the basics of what constitutes a computer system and how it works. The curriculum will ensure that pupils are confident problem solvers and can independently apply this skillset to a variety of problems in their Computing lessons and in their everyday lives.  

 As well as improving the computational thinking of our students, it is important that are students become competent users of IT. This includes the use of the school IT network, the hardware and software that uses the network. Furthermore, the design of the curriculum will safeguard that students’ use the technology safely and are conscious of the dangers of the internet.   

Curriculum Lead

Curriculum Leader: Mr G Bashford 

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3

The KS3 course structure covers the following skills and knowledge.  

  • Online safety 
  • This unit introduces students to the importance of behaving safely when using the internet and social networking. 
  • Computational thinking 
  • Students will learn the different methods of computational thinking to create working algorithms. 
  • Programming 
  • Students will create a variety of programs using a variety of programming languages. 
  • Components of a computer  
  • How hardware and software are necessary components of a computer system. 
  • Microsoft office package skills  
  • This is a practical skills-based units, covering the principles of creating and formatting a variety Microsoft Office software

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4  

Key Stage 4 students have the option to develop their skills and knowledge with Computer Science and Creative iMedia courses. The department offers courses to suit a range of learning styles; the courses help pupils learn the skills, knowledge and understanding of Computing and Media to support them in their future career choices.  

  • OCR GCSE Computing Science 
    • This course gives students a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. Students will no doubt be familiar with the use of computers and other related technology from their other subjects and elsewhere. Computer Science will give them an insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, including computer programming and the physical technology itself. 
  •  Cambridge National in Creative iMedia 
    • The Cambridge National in Creative iMedia provides candidates with high quality, industry-recognised qualification. It is a vocational qualification that provides valuable opportunities for individuals to develop online skills and gain underpinning knowledge and understanding, which will support entry into the Creative Media sector. 

Key Stage 5

OCR A level Computer Science 

  • Computer Science allows the students the opportunity to apply the academic principles of Computer Science learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It’s an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, that can look at the natural world through a digital prism. The aims of this qualification are to enable learners to develop an understanding and ability to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including: abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation.

Further information on the Sandbach College website page for this course - 

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Digital Media 

  • This vocational qualification is designed for learners who want to study digital media concept and product development. The course will give learners an understanding of how different media institutions operate to create products that appeal to specific target audiences. They will gain knowledge and understanding of the pre-production, planning and production processes and go on to create a media product.  

Further information on the Sandbach College website page for this course - 

Useful Links

Parents and careers can play a vital role in helping their child in school. 5 ways to support your child in KS3  

At KS4, students are developing independence and learning topics that might be new to them. To support your child at Key Stage 4 

  • Have discussions with your child about the different topics they are learning in the KS4 qualification. 
  • Encourage your child to read around any topics, which they may be studying in KS4 qualification. 
  • Background reading will help further their understanding and knowledge. 
  • When they are completing their homework, discuss what they are doing. 
  • Discuss how the technology is designed, and how it might be part of a bigger computing picture. 
  • Ask your child to explain what they are doing; this is especially important if they are struggling in a task. When talking the task through, will help them clarify the task in their mind.  

 At KS5, students benefit from having conversations around their qualification topics. The following are the types of questions you could be discussing.  

  1. Is the student reading around the subject, using the standard computing/media book? 
  2. Has the students enrolled with OpenLearn, which offer free relevant introductory courses in computing and media?  
  3. Encourage the reading of the technology section of the newspaper and to watch BBC click.  
  4. Prompt discussions about what your child has been studying in computing this week; encourage them to give you detail. 
  5. Encourage your child to check their notes from lessons. This will help them identify any gaps in their understanding