Welcome to the Computer Science Department

At Poole High School, we follow the computing curriculum, providing learners with opportunities to develop programming skills, computational thinking and understanding of how computers work.  We use a range of programming environments to deliver the fundamentals of programming, including Scratch, Python, Visual Basic and C#. Students at Poole High School will also focus on critical online safety aspects, as well as cybersecurity

Departmental Courses

  • GCSE Computer Science (AQA)
  • A Level Computer Science (AQA)
  • BTEC Tech Award Digital Information Technology (Pearson)
  • Cambridge Technical IT (Extended Certificate - OCR)

Who do I contact for more information?

Mr S Hawes (HeadofComputing@poolehigh.poole.sch.uk)


At Poole High School, students are taught a range of theory and practical computer science topics. In Year 7, students study online safety and cyber security as well as being introduced to fundamental programming concepts (variables, iteration and selection) using Scratch.

In Year 8, students focus on computer programming using Python, as well as learning how computers represent data such as images and text in binary. They look at how computers have changed over time to become the powerful machines they use today and complete a unit working with databases using Microsoft Access.

In Year 9, students are taught to think like a computer scientist – using key concepts such as decomposition and abstraction. They learn about key searching algorithms, as well as applying their programming skills to learn to read and write pseudocode. In addition, they study how computers affect society, and work with data using spreadsheets.

Computer Science & ICT – GCSE Computer Science

Why study Computer Science?

Studying the GCSE Computer Science will get you working with real-world, practical programming techniques that will give you a good understanding of what makes technology work. Computer science is a subject based on mathematical and scientific principles that explores the use of technology to solve problems and improve the world we live in. Programming forms a very significant part of computer science. Other aspects include understanding algorithms and the internal components of a computer, as well as investigating the binary number system.

Topics include:

•    Finding and making solutions to problems using computer programming (Visual Basic)
•    The architecture of the computer
•    The fundamentals of computer networks
•    How data is represented in a computer, including the binary and hexadecimal number systems
•    Understanding and making algorithms
•    Cyber security
•    The social aspects and impacts of computing
•    Relational databases and SQL


Two exams worth 50% each:
•    Exam Paper 1: Computational Thinking and Programming Skills
•    Exam Paper 2: Computing Concepts (assessment of theory knowledge)

Which students do well at Computer Science?

•    …those who have logical, mathematical and scientific minds
•    …those who have an interest in understanding how computer programming works
•    …those who can use their creativity to solve problems

Why choose Computer Science instead of Digital Information Technology?

GCSE Computer Science focuses heavily on computer programming to solve problems whilst the BTEC Digital Information Technology course focuses on the use of software to solve problems. Students should bear in mind whether they have enjoyed and been successful in making their own computer programs during Years 7-9 with computer programming (GCSE Computer Science) or using existing software such as spreadsheets and databases (BTEC Digital Information Technology) when they choose.

Computer Science & ICT – BTEC Digital Information Tech

Why study Digital Information Technology?

As the worldwide shift to digital technology continues, the need for creative and analytical skills regarding digital products and information is ever more critical. Studying information technology will provide you with such skills not just for the existing workplace, but also for the future workplace.
The key to successful IT products is ensuring that users can effortlessly use them to achieve their goals. As such, the first coursework unit involves developing the skills to understand and create effective interfaces. Following on from this, you will learn what a valuable commodity our data is in the modern world, including how to manipulate and analyse it.

Finally, this qualification will ensure you understand the key implications this has on society, and how vital it is that data remains protected from cyber threats.

Topics include:

•    Project planning
•    Analysing, designing and developing user interfaces
•    Investigating the impact of data
•    Developing data analysis and manipulation models
•    Legal and ethical issues involved in data gathering, analysis and sharing
•    Cyber Security


•    Coursework unit 1: Exploring User Interface Design Principles and Project Planning Techniques (worth 30%)
•    Coursework unit 2: Collecting, Presenting and Interpreting Data (worth 30%)
•    Exam: Effective Digital Working Practices (worth 40%)

Which pupils do well in Digital Information Technology?

•    ...those who are interested in using computers
•    ...those who prefer practical challenges
•    ...those with a balanced preference for analytical and creative skills

A Level Computer Science


At Poole High School, we offer the AQA A Level Computer Science. Assessment is at the end of year 13 and consists of two exams – a practical programming exam and a theory paper, alongside a programming project which consists of 20 percent of the final grade.

Entry Requirements

To study computer science at Poole High School, you must have achieved GCSE Mathematics at grade 6 or above and GCSE Computer Science at grade 6 or above.

Who can I contact for help?

For more information contact Mr Hawes (s.hawes@poolehigh.poole.sch.uk) or Mr Lean (k.lean@poolehigh.poole.sch.uk).

Vocational ICT (Level 2)

This course involves practical skills in using a computer, teaching you skills to produce a range of digital products, such as websites and images.
50% of the course is coursework and the other 50% is assessed via on-screen exams.

Vocational ICT (Level 3)

This course provides students with essential knowledge and skills in IT and cyber security. A wide range of units and opportunities for practical and project-based work helps students gain insight into technological change, global IT infrastructure and legal and security considerations.

One-third of the course is coursework and the other two-thirds are assessed via written exams.

Computer science offers a range of careers, from software development to database architecture and cyber security. Computer science is an extremely useful subject when combined with the sciences and maths for the future study of aeronautical, electrical, civil, mechanical, and chemical engineering. Those looking for a future career in systems or applications programming will find the course extremely invaluable, as will those who wish to develop their general problem-solving and analytical skills alongside their other science/maths-based A Levels.

The Russell Group of universities suggests computer science is well aligned with the sciences. It is also a powerful choice alongside economics, and is particularly well matched to a future degree in mathematics.