At St Mary’s Catholic School we pride ourselves on providing an exemplary curriculum for all students, including our students with special educational needs.  Our Year 7 to Year 13 curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced, allowing all students to know more and remember more in lessons, and to achieve exceptional progress.  Our curriculum is planned to stretch and challenge all learners, with highly effective scaffolding in place to ensure our students with SEND and other additional needs also achieve highly.  Our curriculum meets and exceeds all national curriculum requirements.  Due to the numerous strengths and sustained success and impact of our curriculum year on year, St Mary’s supports many other schools within the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust and more widely to share this exemplary practice.

The Computing curriculum is exemplary because:

  • We develop students with exceptional problem solving skills who can abstract problems to create algorithmic solutions.
  • We develop students who have a sound knowledge and understanding of how computer systems and networks work.
  • We develop conscientious students who are able to discuss the impact of computer systems in society and understand the responsibilities of the technology industry.
  • We put programming at the core of what we do in Computer Science and from as early as KS3 students learn text based programming languages.
  • The sequencing of topics throughout courses have been carefully considered to ensure students have been given the required skills to be able to access an upcoming topic. For example, to able to study Computer Systems or Networking, students should have a solid understanding of Data Representation

The Computing curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced:

  • We provide both academic and vocational pathways, enabling all students to be able to study the subject, be challenged and succeed.
  • We deliver the AQA specifications, which are considered to be the most academically rigorous of the Computer Science GCSE and A-Level courses.
  • We recognise there is no ceiling to what students can achieve. At all Key Stages extension work enables students to explore and go beyond.
  • We allow students to apply the theory they learn in a practical context.

The Computing curriculum has effective scaffolding to support our SEND students/other students with additional needs:

  • Schemes of work we use are differentiated to allow students to work on content that is appropriate for their ability, whilst still providing an appropriate level of challenge through activities planned, extension materials, etc.
  • A range of support resources are available for students to use when completing tasks. Teaching materials such as presentations available for students on Teams, that they can use and follow at their own pace when completing tasks. Video tutorials have been produced for key technical skills in class ‘Stream’ channels, available for students to use in lessons when completing tasks. The video tutorials have subtitles therefore accessible to students with hearing impairment.

The Computing curriculum is worthy of sharing more widely with other schools because:

  • We teach complex skills such as programming in a fun and engaging way.
  • We develop well rounded computing students, with a keen awareness of ethical and moral issues around the subject.
  • We engender a passion for the subject that shapes their future academic and professional lives.
  • Most computing students in our Sixth Form, in both our pathways, go on to study computing related subjects at university or gain high level apprenticeships.