ICT - Ratcliffe College

Computer Science and ICT – Ages 11-16

Most of us are unaware of how much IT and computing impacts on our lives – the majority of jobs and careers require some IT skills from technicians to software developers and programmers as well as in the areas of TV, film and the creative arts and in the areas of finance and banking, emerging technologies and engineering.  Choosing a qualification in IT will only ever open up doors to you. 

As a Department, we give pupils opportunities to acquire competence, capability and critical skills through the implementation, use and evaluation of a range of software and computational thinking techniques, and, whilst Computer Science and IT are subjects in their own right, we also endeavour to support other departments in their use of ICT at all levels – aiming to encourage and develop a truly cross-curricular model for the use of IT throughout the school.  

As a department, we give pupils opportunities to acquire competence, capability and critical skills through the implementation, use and evaluation of a range of software and computational thinking techniques.

Academic Programme

Across the lower year groups, we ensure everyone experiences computing from a number of areas – web design, games production and robotic control as well as office-based skills in the use of spreadsheet modelling and database use, whilst reinforcing the need to stay safe online.  All ICT classes are taught in mixed ability groups. 

Key Stage 2 – Year 6

Our Computing teaching begins in Year 6 where students are introduced to cybersecurity and awareness and then exposed to problem solving and modelling with spreadsheets building on their numeracy skills. Finally, students are taught to use a simple graphical programming language to control real-world objects such as lights and robots.

Key Stage 3 – Years 7 – 9

In Key Stage 3, we aim to ensure students are confident and competent in the following subjects by giving them problems to solve within project work. In Year 7, the main focus is on designing, programming and producing a fully playable game, whilst students also learn how to use a database to solve a “crime”. In Year 8, students develop the images and advertising for a music group and then use their products to construct using HTML and HTML5. Finally, in Year 9 students concentrate on their digital literacy examinations (ECDL Level 2) whilst planning for a Mission to Mars.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

In Key Stage 4, we offer students a choice of Computing or ICT at GCSE:

  • Computer Science (OCR Computer Science J277) gives students a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and will further develop their critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills.
  • Cambridge iGCSE in Information and Communication Technology (0983). This course will focus on a number of aspects of ICT from applications, safety and security to document production, data manipulation and website authoring.


We are fortunate to have dedicated ICT suites and several clusters of computers, including Macs, in departments around the College.  All computers are connected to a fast school-wide network, both wired and wireless, with access to the Internet via a high-speed broadband link.  Software used in the department ranges from standard Microsoft software to Adobe’s Design Suite (Photoshop and InDesign), Scratch, Python, Kodu and Multimedia Fusion.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Students across all age groups also have the ability to join the Raspberry Pi/Crumble/Lego/Coding club.  This club uses several of the revolutionary computers to teach coding/programming using Python, as well as controlling robots. Students of all ages are welcome to participate the Cyber-Security club which looks at all aspects of cyphers and gives students the opportunity to take part in a country-wide challenges.