The Royal Belfast Academical Institution

Digital Technology and Computer Science

Digital Technology and Computer Science

Department Staff

Head of Wholeschool Digital Education & ICT: Mr. Ross

Head of Computer Science Dept: Mr. Gray

Members of Dept: Mrs. Finlay


Year 8 Topics:

  • Introduction to MySchool
  • Cyber Security and e-Safety
  • Spreadsheets

Year 9 Topics

  • Spreadsheets
  • Computer Programming (Python)

Year 10 Topics:

  • Website Design (HTML)
  • Computer Programming (Python)
  • Computer Hardware & Networking


Course Title: Digital Technology

Awarding Body: CCEA

Introduction: Digital technology incorporates aspects of computer science and information technology. It explores how we can use technology to create, store, process, analyse and present information in a digital context. This includes computer architecture, networks, web technology, digital media, programming tools and software applications.

Students choose either Route A: Multimedia or Route B: Programming; based on this, the qualification they achieve is either GCSE Digital Technology (Multimedia) or GCSE Digital Technology (Programming).

Students acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of digital technology in a variety of contexts. They also develop creative and practical digital technology skills, either using a range of generic software or in an object-oriented environment. They explore the legal, social, economic, ethical and environmental impact of digital technology. This qualification also helps them to develop transferable skills such as creative problem solving and teamwork.

The specification has five units:

  • Unit 1: Digital Technology
  • Unit 2: Digital Authoring Concepts
  • Unit 3: Digital Authoring Practice
  • Unit 4: Digital Development Concepts
  • Unit 5: Digital Development Practice.

Unit 1 is compulsory. Students then choose either Units 2 and 3 (Route A) or Units 4 and 5 (Route B).

Link to specification:


Course title: A-Level Computer Science

Awarding Body: WJEC

Introduction: Computers are widely used in all aspects of business, industry, government, education, leisure, and the home. In this increasingly technological age, a study of computer science, and particularly how computers are used in the solution of a variety of problems, is not only valuable to the learners themselves but also essential to the future well-being of the country. Computer science integrates well with subjects across the curriculum. It demands both logical discipline and imaginative creativity in the selection and design of algorithms and the writing, testing and debugging of programs; it relies on an understanding of the rules of language at a fundamental level; it encourages an awareness of the management and organisation of computer systems; it extends the learners’ horizons beyond the school or college environment in the appreciation of the effects of computer science on society and individuals. For these reasons, computer science is as relevant to a learner studying arts subjects as it is to one studying science subjects.

Studying for programming can lead to a possible career in: Software Development; Systems Analysis; Systems Architecture; Systems Development; Software Engineering; Artificial Programming; Data Science; Programming; Game Development and many other opportunities.

Entry Requirements

Pupils hoping to study this subject must have very good mathematical skills to be able to cope with programming and problem-solving challenges therefore a minimum of 16 points at GCSE (including a B grade in Mathematics and Digital Technology – Programming*) is essential for the study of this subject at A Level.

Subject Content

There are five assessment units, two at AS Level and three at A2:

AS Unit 1: Fundamentals of Computer Science - Written examination 20% of qualification
AS Unit 2: Practical Programming - On-screen examination 20% of qualification

This unit investigates computer architecture, communication, data representation, data structures, software applications, programs, algorithms, logic, programming methodologies and the impact of computer science on society. The onscreen exam consists of series of set tasks completed on-screen by the candidate. These tasks will assess the practical application of knowledge and understanding and will require the use of Python as a programming language.

A2 Unit 3: Programming and System Development - Written examination 30% of qualification
A2 Unit 4: Computer Architecture, Data, Comms. & Applications - Written examination 30% of qualification

This component investigates programs, data structures, algorithms, logic, programming methodologies and the impact of computer science on society. While the other focuses on computer, communication, data representation, organisation and structure of data, programs, algorithms, and software applications.

A2 Unit 5: Programmed Solution to a Problem - Non-exam assessment 20% of qualification

This unit requires the learners to investigate, design, prototype, implement, test and evaluate a computer solution to a substantial problem of their own choice. The learner’s chosen problem must provide sufficient scope for them to access the marks available for each section of the work. (Notionally this task will require 72 guided learning hours, which includes teaching time).


Course Title: BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Information Technology/BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Information Technology in IT

Awarding Body: Edexcel

Introduction: The Information Technology (IT) sector and aspects of the creative industries, e.g. computer games development, are highly skilled and high growth sectors of the economy. Also, the IT sector is a key enabler for every other industry in the UK. The Sector Skills Council, eskills UK, estimate in the Technology Insights report (2012) that the IT industry contributes 8% of (or£75 billion to) the economy (Gross Value Add). They forecast that over the subsequent seven years the sector could generate up to an additional £47bn GVA to the economy and create 500,000 new jobs.

The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Information Technology (360 GLH) and the Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Information Technology in IT (720 GLH) is part of a larger suite of BTEC National qualifications, in a range of sizes, which share the common purpose of helping people to become occupationally ready to take up employment in the IT sector and aspects of the creative industries at the appropriate level. This can follow either directly after achieving the qualification, or via the stepping stone of Higher Education (HE) in university or college.

By studying a BTEC National, learners develop knowledge, understanding and skills required by the sector, including essential employability skills, and apply them in real work contexts. Learners can operate at a standard that can reasonably be expected of an 18 year old in full-time education.

Link to specification:

GCSE/A2 Examination highlights:

Last year 100% of students achieved A* - C grades in both GCSE ICT and Computer Science.

Last year was the first year that students undertook Computer Science at AS Level. 100% of students passed the exam with 75% of students achieving A grades.

Additional information:

Student Digital Leaders: We have 15 Year 13 students currently in our Student Digital Leaders programme. They well be tasked with running clubs not only for our Year 8 coding club but working with Key Stage 2 pupils at Inchmarlo. Our Digital Leaders will get an oppurtunity to develop not only IT skills but develop soft skills of communication, planning, teamwork etc which are vital for the world of work.

Clubs and Societies: The Coding club is open to Year 8 and 9 students on a Thursday morning in the Christchurch building. Support is provided by Ms Herron and our Student Digital Leaders at that time and it is an opportunity for students to deepen knowledge and understanding through practical skills.

Digital Technology and Computer ScienceDigital Technology and Computer ScienceDigital Technology and Computer ScienceDigital Technology and Computer Science
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