What's taught in Key Stage 3 computing

Computer equipment
KS3 children will be expected to develop and refine their ICT skills. Here’s how you can help at home.
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In Key Stage 3, computing lessons focus on computer science, where children learn about the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to use information technology to create their own programs and systems. The curriculum aims to equip them to use, express themselves and develop their ideas through computer technology at the level needed for the future workplace.

What children learn

In computing, students should be taught to:

  • understand and use the basic principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • analyse problems in computational terms, and write computer programs to solve these problems
  • evaluate and use IT to solve problems
  • use ICT reponsibly, confidently and creatively.

Lesson examples

Here are the kinds of things your child might learn at school:

  • A group of year 7 pupils are introduced to the school intranet and asked to create guidelines for using the system. The guidelines could take the form of a desktop-published handbook or a multimedia presentation. The class learns how to log on to the network, launch applications, access shared files and save work into their own area.
     
  • Year 8 children learn about the hardware and software components of a computer, and how they communicate with each other and with other systems
     
  • Year 9 pupils use programming language to create a virtual pet that will die if it's not taken care of.

Help your child at home

  • If you can, try to provide opportunities for your child to use a wider range of information communication technology, such as keyboards, remote control devices, recording equipment or even doing the shopping for you on the internet (although you may want to enter your card details yourself!).
     
  • Encourage your child to make the most of the computer to improve the presentation of homework by using text, graphs, pictures, sound or video and so forth.
     
  • Researching up-to-date information from secondary sources like the internet or a multimedia encyclopaedia can make a difference to marks. However, remember to talk to your child about dangers of copying work.