Access Keys:



Key Stage 3 Overview

The aim at Key Stage 3 (KS3) is to foster a love of learning by providing pupils with broad and balanced KS3 skills based ICT education.  The key focus of KS3 ICT is the acquisition, development and consolidation of a range of practical ICT skills developed in suitable subject contexts using a range of appropriate software packages.  Pupils are encouraged to understand that ICT work is regarded as “work in progress” which can be improved continually and to demonstrate curiosity, taking a personal interest in the latest ICT technologies.

Building on the skills acquired in Primary school, pupils engage in wide range of interesting and demanding ICT activities that allow pupils to demonstrate a high level of ICT skills in a range of cross-curricular contexts.  During KS3, pupils are encouraged to demonstrate increasing independence, engage in self and peer assessment and are encouraged to reflect critically on their work.  Pupils gain key skills in self-management, working with others, presentation skills, communication skills and self-improvement strategies.  The goal is to encourage pupils to become independent lifelong learners, curious about and capable of learning about, with and through digital technology anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

GCSE CCEA Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

This course aims to help equip pupils with the knowledge and skills required for the emerging information society in education, during leisure and in the world of work.  The proposedcomponents that make up the GCSE ICT course are two controlled assessment units (60%), comprising five externally set assignments, and one terminal examination (40%).

The controlled assessments element of the course provides pupils with the opportunity to develop knowledge of and skills in the use of a range of ICT tools, applications and visual communications technology.  One written (two hour) examination provides pupils with further opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of both the practical and theoretical aspects of the subject content.

GCSE OCR Computing

This course provides pupils with an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and offers an insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, including computer programming.

During this course pupils will:

  • Develop their understanding of current and emerging technologies and how they work.

  • Look at the use of algorithms in computer programs.

  • Become independent and discerning users of IT.

  • Acquire and apply creative and technical skills, knowledge and understanding of IT in a range of contexts.

  • Develop computer programs to solve problems.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of computer programs/solutions and the impact of computer technology in society.


It is a great way to develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills, which can be transferred to further learning and to everyday life.  Pupils who want to go on to higher study and employment in the field of computer science will find it provides a good stepping stone.  This subject provides a good foundation for those pupils who wish to choose a computing A-Level such as Software Systems Development.

GCE CCEA Software Systems Design

Recent media and government communications have raised the importance of developing skills that are required to work within the IT Industry.

This new qualification is designed to allow learners to develop the appropriate knowledge, understanding and skills.  It includes the essential skills of programming and user testing which are required to work in the fast growing IT sector within Northern Ireland.

This course introduces pupils to Event Driven Programming and the principles of Object Oriented Development.  Pupils are assessed through a programming portfolio and external examination (equally weighted) in each of the two GCE years.




  • Mrs ML McCauley (Head of Department)

  • Mr G Noble (Whole School ICT Leader)

  • Mrs J Smyth

  • Mr J Marks (ICT Technician)

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers"
Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

Studying ICT or Computing will provide the knowledge and skills required for the emerging information society in education, during leisure and in the world of work.  There is an increasing demand for those with the skills to enable them to work in the IT industry and schools are helping provide these specialist skills.  In Down High School we provide opportunities for pupils to develop both their general ICT skills and the more specialised programming skills.