Computing & I-Media

Support and Options Avalable For Computer Science and I-Media.

Contact head of subject for further information.

Information and Communication Technology is used throughout the School. It is important to both the curricular and extra-curricular activities of all students.

The Computing department at Birkdale High School is both dynamic and proactive. The computing facilities embrace new technology and are developing year by year.

The department has 6 well-equipped computer rooms with multi-media projection facilities and interactive whiteboards for class and group activities along with many machines around the academy, which can be used for private research and study. Students have access to scanners, digital cameras and quality colour and black and white lasers, which together enable them to print off professional looking course work.

Foundation Stage Computing

The department follows the aims of the Computing National Strategy to raise standards by strengthening teaching and learning for all 11 to 14 year olds. The school provides a minimum of 180 minutes per fortnight of discrete teaching throughout the key stage to ensure the delivery of the yearly teaching objectives for Computing.

The curriculum of the Computing department in Foundation Stage is designed to prepare pupils so that they make the correct decision in terms of their Examination Stage options subjects. In Year 8 pupils can opt for either GCSE Computer Science or the Cambridge National Creative iMedia course. Computer Science focuses on coding and computer hardware and software whereas Creative iMedia focuses more on the design aspect of creating interactive multimedia products, digital animations and other graphical products.

Year 7 and 8 students will focus on a course in both Digital Literacy and Computer Science. Topics covered in each year are below.

Year 7

  • E-safety
  • Understanding of computers
  • Decomposition & algorithm's
  • Programming/Coding of Shapes, patterns and algorithms
  • Animation
  • How the web works
  • Web page design
  • Image manipulation

Year 8

  • Databases
  • Flowall
  • Python
  • iMedia graphics
  • Programming of a Scratch & Python calculator

Extracurricular activities

Pupils can attend Coding Club after school to pursue their interest in programming. Coding Club allows students to explore programming wherever their imagination leads them without having to satisfy an examination board assessment plan.

Most nights pupils can avail themselves of coursework drop-in sessions to supplement their timetabled lessons.

Computer Science

The department offers GCSE Computer Science from the OCR examination board.

The course enables students to:

  • understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation
  • analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs
  • think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
  • understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society
  • apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science

How is Computer Science assessed?

50% Written Exam - Computer systems J276/01
Introduces students to the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with computer science.

50% Written Exam - Computational thinking, algorithms and programming J276/02
Students apply knowledge and understanding gained in the J276/01They develop skills and understanding in computational thinking: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic, translators and data representation. The skills and knowledge developed within this component will support them when completing the Programming Project.

Programming Project
Students use OCR Programming Project tasks to develop their practical ability in the skills they have developed. They will have the opportunity to define success criteria from a given problem, and then create suitable algorithms to achieve the success criteria. They then code their solutions in a Python, and check its functionality using a test plan. Finally they will evaluate the success of their solution and reflect on potential developments for the future.
Students have 20 hours timetabled time to complete their Programming Project. The Programming Project does not count towards their final grade, but is a requirement of the course.

Year 9

Students will be cover elements from J276/01 and J276/02.

This will include topics such as:

  • Central processing unit (CPU)
  • Computer memory and storage
  • Wired and wireless networks
  • Network topologies
  • Systems security
  • System software
  • Programming

Year 10

Students will cover all of the remaining elements from J276/01 and more from J276/02.

This will include topics such as:

  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns
  • Algorithms
  • Programming techniques
  • Computational logic
  • Translators
  • Data representation
  • Programming

Year 11

Students will cover all of the Programming Project task.

They will revisit and revise all of the topics studied in Years 9 and 10.

OCR Specification

Specification from the examination board.

Cambridge Nationals Creative iMedia

Digital Media is a key part of many areas of our everyday lives and vital to the UK economy. Production of digital media products is a requirement of almost every business so there is huge demand for a skilled and digitally literate workforce. It lets learners gain knowledge in a number of key areas in the media field, from pre-production skills to digital animation, and offers a hands-on approach to learning. This qualification will help students develop specific and transferable skills such as research, planning, and review, working with others and communicating creative concepts. The qualification's hands-on approach has strong relevance to the way young people use the technology required in creative media.

This will be done throughout the three year course. So if your child likes project work, enjoys research and doing practical things they may find a Cambridge National a better option than a GCSE.

One of the units that students must take – on RO81 Pre-production skills – involves a written exam that lasts one hour and 15 minutes and is set and marked by the examination board.

Three quarters of the qualification is tested by coursework that's set and marked by your child's teacher;

  • RO82 Creating digital graphics
  • RO86 Creating a digital animation
  • RO87 Creating interactive multimedia products

Text Books Used

  • OCR Cambridge Nationals Creative iMedia L1/2 Pre-production skills and Creating digital graphics

OCR Specification

iMedia specification from the examination board.

All Resources


The laungage reference for Python

Python School

Python school resources

Hour of Code

Hour of code activities


Self guided programming lessons


ICT resources for all levels.

About Us

Birkdale High School, a limited company registered in England and Wales under Company number 07695504.

Registered address: Windy Harbour Road, Southport PR8 3DT

Headteacher: G Bourgade


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