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Model School Primary School, Northland Rd, County Londonderry

Information Communications Technology

The ICT department in St Columban’s College is committed to developing the ICT skills of all the students to enable them to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technology. The department aims to encourage pupils to become both independent enquirers and creative thinkers. Work is designed to challenge the students to create ICT solutions to key tasks and problems in the real world. Pupils are taught how to become efficient users of digital technology, ranging from essential office skills to programming and sequencing. In this ever changing digital world our ultimate objective is to move pupils from being consumers of information, to becoming producers of products and solutions.

At Key Stage 3, ICT is considered a valuable part of our curriculum. Discrete ICT classes equip pupils with the skills needed to use ICT as a cross-curricular skill. Pupils are able to access the ICT suite in the morning, break/lunch time and after school to complete homework and/or coursework.

At Key Stage 4, students will also develop their understanding of new technologies and their impact on society and can take a practical approach, developing and evaluating ICT-based solutions of their own to solve problems.

Pupils use ICT tools to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information responsibility, creatively and with discrimination. They learn how to employ ICT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Increased capability in the use of ICT promotes initiative and independent learning, with pupils being able to make informed judgements about when and where to use ICT to best effect, and to consider its implications for home and work both now and in the future.

Aims of the ICT Department are:

  • to offer facilities for learning about ICT
  • to support and encourage good practice in the use of Information Technology resources throughout the school
  • to promote staff development in ICT
  • to offer a high level of support to ICT activities throughout the school
  • to stimulate and foster an interest in and enjoyment of the use of computer-based system

Objectives of the ICT Department are:

  • that pupils have opportunities to develop their ICT skills and knowledge through a wide range of courses in the school
  • that pupils have the opportunity to acquire qualifications in ICT
  • that pupils have access to a wide range of computer resources and the skill to use them productively
  • that pupils have opportunities to apply their skills in other subjects

Key Stage 3 ICT

Information and Communications Technology, across the curriculum, has the potential to transform and enrich pupils’ learning experiences and environments. It can empower pupils, develop self-esteem and promote positive attitudes to learning. Additionally, the creative use of ICT has the potential to improve pupils’ thinking skills, providing them with opportunities to become independent, self-motivated and flexible learners.

In St Columban’s College, pupils develop their skills of Using ICT by engaging in meaningful research and purposeful activities set in relevant contexts. They use ICT to handle and communicate information, solve problems, pose questions and take risks. They process, present and exchange their ideas and translate their thinking into creative outcomes that show an awareness of audience and purpose. They also use ICT to collaborate within and beyond the classroom, to share and exchange their work and to exhibit and showcase their learning.

All pupils in Years 8, 9 and 10 have timetabled periods of discrete ICT each week. They follow a scheme which builds their skills in each of the 5Es.

The 5 ‘E’s Explained

The Requirements for Using ICT are set out under headings described as the 5 ‘E’s. These are:

  • Explore
  • Express
  • Exchange
  • Evaluate
  • Exhibit

Explore and Express form the core of most of the activities that our pupils will be involved in. However, in our planning we build in Evaluate (for pupils to consider what they have done). In particular, wherever possible, we also provide opportunities for pupils to Exchange (work collaboratively online) and to Exhibit (showcase their work digitally).

  • Explore is about looking for, finding, choosing and using information as well as using digital tools to investigate and solve problems. It ranges from resources being provided for pupils to pupils being more independent and discriminating users of ICT. This ‘E’ often forms the first part of work in which a pupil engages.

  • Express is about pupils being creative and developing and presenting their ideas using text, sound, music and still or moving images. It ranges from pupils using simple text, sound or pictures to the production of a multimedia product.

  • Exchange is about pupils collaborating with others online to share and develop their ideas using safe and acceptable online behaviour. This can include sending an e-mail, participating in a video-conference, contributing to an online course or using collaborative online tools. Tasks with a strong Exchange focus can also make a valuable contribution to the richness of pupils’ experiences of Explore and Express.

  • Evaluate is about pupils reflecting on their process and outcome, thinking about how they carried out the task and how they might improve upon what they did. Tasks with a strong focus on problem solving can ensure more explicit coverage of this ‘E’.

  • Exhibit is about pupils managing and showcasing their work digitally. It ranges from pupils printing and saving their work to organising and maintaining digital personalised areas.

Key Stage 4 ICT

Students in St Columban's choose their official subjects at the end of Year 10 ICT has proven to be a popular choice in recent years. Students opting for ICT study either

  • GCSE Information Communication Technology (CCEA) - Short Course
  • GCSE Information Communication Technology (CCEA) - Full Course

This specification has three units:

  1. Tools and Applications;
  2. Using Multimedia and Games Technology; and
  3. Understanding ICT Systems in Everyday Life and Its Implications for Individuals, Organisations, Society and the Wider World.

The table below outlines the content in more detail:

Tools and Applications

Communications Software

Presentation Package

Information Handling Package

Spreadsheet Package

Using Multimedia and Games Technology

Using Graphics

Using Digital Video and Sound

Games Technology

Using Multimedia Assets

Understanding ICT Systems in Everyday Life and Its Implications for Individuals, Organisations, Society and the Wider World

Knowledge of ICT Components Data and Information Digital Communication Methods Applications of ICT

Students who decide to study GCSE Short Course will only complete Unit 1 and Unit 3.

For more information, see the GCSE ICT specification.

Controlled Assessment

In GCSE ICT, Unit 1 and Unit 2 are assessed by controlled assessment tasks. Each task is worth 30% of the final award. There are three tasks for Unit1 and two tasks for Unit 2. Tasks are set by CCEA and they are all compulsory. Students must work independently and make reference to any resources they have used. The tasks are marked by their teacher, using criteria provided by CCEA and then moderated by CCEA.

The table below gives further details:


Unit 1: Tools and Applications

Unit 2: Using Multimedia and Games Technology

Total weighting



Time limits

Task 1:         9 hours

Task 2:         6 hours

Task 3:         7 hours 30 mins

Task 1:         11 hours

Task 2:         11 hours 30 mins


Students who do not follow GCSE ICT in Year 11 can enter for Essential Skills ICT at Level 1 and Level 2. Completing portfolios for Essential Skills ICT gives our students the opportunity to develop practical computer skills to use in their current or future workplace and for their own personal needs.

Employers are increasingly accepting Essential Skills qualifications as an alternative to more traditional qualifications such as GCSEs.




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