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Computing and Business

Welcome to our Computing and Business page

You will find lots of information below about the subject and how the department operates.

If you have any queries regarding computing please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Heather Herring
Head of Computing and Business Studies

Newman Catholic School, Carlisle


Our aim at St John Henry Newman School is to equip each and every pupil with the knowledge and skills in Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy, that will allow them to go on to further study or to pursue a career in this profession. Our pupils receive discrete Computer Science lessons to develop and apply their skills as well as other opportunities throughout different curriculum areas across the school. We have two dedicated and well-equipped ICT suites within the department, along with the use of an additional design technology-based classroom and a number of laptop trollies for additional access. We recognise the value of this subject and within it the use of the internet as an extremely powerful tool but equally we recognise that it can be an extremely dangerous place. Therefore, e-safety is at the forefront of all our teaching to ensure that each pupil is aware of their rights and responsibilities online, whilst also being able to evaluate the social impact of technology. All online content is monitored to ensure the safety of our pupils. Through this system we can block access to most inappropriate websites and record any suspicious activity. Pupils’ emails are stored and monitored regularly and there is a thorough system in place to ensure everyone is kept safe. An internet safety contract must be signed by both pupils and parents / carers to provide consent to use the internet in school as well as to ensure correct and appropriate use. All students are reminded of and must reconfirm their agreement, each time they log on to our network. All pupils also have access to Microsoft Office 365, which gives them access to Outlook, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, which is a tool used to allow work to be completed and submitted online. This eases the process of transferring work between home and school. ICT facilities are available at lunchtime to allow pupils to complete their homework. Additional after school sessions are offered throughout the year for GCSE revision and coursework catch-up.

Our Curriculum

Please click the button to find out more about our curriculum.

Key Stage 3

Students arrive at St John Henry Newman Catholic School with a wide range of experience, confidence and capabilities. Our introduction to key stage 3 builds on the knowledge that pupils have gained during their primary education, ensuring they are equipped with digital literacy skills that will prepare them for a society that has become reliant on technology. Our programme of study combines this with information technology and computer science, allowing pupils to learn both the scientific aspects of computing along with more creative tasks, providing variety and an opportunity for pupils to see where their strengths lie and an ability to choose appropriate applications to complete a given task. Students receive a weekly one-hour lesson in years 7, 8 and 9, where topics include: 
  • Digital Literacy 
  • E-Safety 
  • Computer Systems
  • Data representation 
  • Computational Thinking 
  • Programming Fundamentals 
  • Creative and digital media.

E-safety is an essential topic as the use of technology is so widespread both in education and outside of school. As such this topic features at the beginning of each year and is revisited regularly throughout the year in order to promote safe and sensible use of computers and other technological systems, in addition to creating awareness of the need to ensure that what we see online is reliable and trustworthy.

Key Stage 4

In our key stage 4 curriculum we build on the foundation provided in key stage 3, pupils will have the opportunity to complete a relevant qualification, based on either GCSE Computer Science or Creative iMedia. As pupils prepare for their future career they need to develop their ICT skills in order to be successful. Most career options will involve some use of ICT and it is vital that pupils have an ICT qualification in order to gain the best possible advantage in the job market.

Dependent on interest and ability, many of our pupils will be guided towards the GCSE in Computer Science, following the OCR specification. This comprises two examination papers and a practical project, all of which allow pupils to further their understanding of how computers work and the techniques used to write effective computer programs. This course is graded using the 9-1 system.

As an alternative to this course, we deliver the Cambridge Nationals, Creative iMedia Level 1/2 Certificate, which studies the planning of traditional and emerging media products as well as developing practical skills where pupils will plan their own media products. This comprises three units, one of which is externally assessed and will focus on Creative iMedia in the media industry. Students will then apply their pre-production skills in the remaining practical units, which are internally marked and externally moderated. These allow the pupils to show their creativity and will focus on 'Visual Identity and Digital Graphics' and 'Characters and Comics'. The course is graded at Distinction*, Distinction, Merit or Pass at level two. Pupils who fail to meet the level 2 requirements can be awarded a level one grade.


GCSE Computer Science (9 – 1) OCR new specification -

Cambridge Nationals Level ½ in Creative iMedia -


Key Stage 5 Computing

Our sixth form students study the BTEC National Extended Certificate in Information Technology. BTEC courses prepares students well for further study or employment with a vocational approach. Students learn to balance portfolio units with exam-based work, requiring them to manage their time effectively. Students follow a two-year course that will see them completing four units of work, which includes the following:

Unit 1 – Information Technology Systems – this will be externally assessed through an exam.

Unit 2 – Creating Systems to manage data – this is a practical exam that will be externally assessed.

Unit 3 - Using Social Media in Business – internally assessed through coursework.

Unit 6 - Website Development – internally assessed through coursework.

Additional information: BTEC Level 3 Information Technology


Key Stage 5 Business

Pupils in sixth form will follow the BTEC National Extended Certificate in Business. There will be 4 units to complete over two years which include:

Unit 1: Exploring Business. This will be internally assessed through coursework and studies different types of organisations including private companies and not for profit organisations.

Unit 2: Developing a Marketing Campaign. This will be externally assessed in controlled conditions, requiring the pupils to analyse and research a case study before producing a final report.

Unit 3: Personal and Business Finance. This will be externally assessed in the form of an exam.

Unit 8: The Recruitment and Selection Process which will be assessed internally through coursework and involves the pupils in a mock interview process, which is an excellent experience, allowing them to develop a personal development plan to help them reach their career goals.

Additional information: BTEC Level 3 Business

The table below shows how BTEC grades equate to UCAS grades and Tariffs.

BTEC Grade

UCAS Tariff

UCAS equivalence to A Level














General Information

We have two well equipped ICT suites, with facilities available at selected lunchtimes for pupils to complete homework. Our LRC is also available to allow pupils to study at social times and at our after-school homework club. A Minecraft Club runs for students in years 7 and 8 on a Monday after school.


Homework is set for pupils in years 9 to 11 and is based on either classroom tasks or a revision task for a previous topic. If a pupil needs help with a homework task, they should contact their teacher as soon as possible.


As part of the Key Stage 3 programme of study pupils design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems. We introduce this topic using a free online app called Scratch. Why not get practising by visiting the Scratch website today?

In Year 8 we move onto written programming language such as Python. This is also free to download here, alternatively visit for a pupil friendly version.

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