Vocational Skills

The Vocational Skills Department includes the following subject areas:  ICT (Information Communication Technology), Business Studies, Business and Enterprise, Computing and Enterprise.

ICT and Computing

The study of ICT and Computing is hugely important in an area of industry that is ever changing and expanding. Through ICT and computing students will learn how to solve problems when things go wrong, how to think logically and critically, and to recognise the impact that technology has on the world around us.

During KS3 students study units based on Digital Literacy, Computing and Information Technology, building on knowledge that has been learnt in primary school and are introduced a range of new skills. Students will develop knowledge and understanding of website development, games development, spreadsheets, graphics and animation, use of the internet, the fundamentals of computing, app development, and a range of office applications. Students will be introduced to programming languages and develop their own apps, seeing the process through from design to implementation and evaluation.

At Key Stage 4 students have the option to study GCSE ICT or GCSE Computing.

Edexcel GCSE ICT:

This qualification is made up of two units:

Unit 1: Living in a Digital World

In this unit, you’ll explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society. You will learn about current and emerging digital technologies and the issues raised by their use in a range of contexts (learning and earning, leisure, shopping and money management, health and well-being, on the move). You will also develop an awareness of the risks that are inherent in using ICT and the features of safe, secure and responsible practice.

Assessment:        External Examination   |  90 minutes   |   40% weighting

Unit 2: Using Digital Tools

This is a practical unit. Students broaden and enhance their ICT skills and capability. They work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts. Students learn to reflect critically on their own and others’ use of ICT and to adopt safe, secure and responsible practice. They put into practice what they learned about digital technology in Unit 1.

Assessment:        Controlled assessment   |   40 hours   |   60% weighting

OCR GCSE Computing: Year 11

Students will develop knowledge and understanding of a wide range of computing and programming and learn how these are used in day-to- day lives. They will learn how to use both text based and visual programming techniques, building algorithms and using different functionality to meet design criteria.  Understanding of computer hardware and software will be taught in addition to how the internet is used to communicate with individuals and society. Students will be involved in designing, developing, testing and evaluating computing programmes and models.

Unit A451: Computer Systems and Programming 

In this examined unit students will explore the fundamentals of computer systems and learn about computer programming models and how data is processed. They will study computer systems and computer hardware and its components; this will include binary logic, memory and inputs and outputs devices as well as the use of networks. Students will look into how software is used to perform functions for user interfaces and explore custom written and off-the-shelf software. Database management systems and how these can be used for data handling will be investigated. Students will explore different programming languages and looks at how algorithms flow and how the use of different variables and constants are used to create programs.

Assessment:        External Exam   |   1 hour 30 minutes   |   40% weighting

Unit A452: Current Trends in Programming

This is a practical unit.  In this unit, students will carry out a practical investigation into a computing issue to engage with computing in the real world. They will use a visual programming piece of software to create an application and then test it and evaluate it to a given design specification.  They will then write a report to explain their discoveries and share findings.

Assessment: Controlled assessment   |  20 hours            |   30% weighting

Unit A453: Programming Project

This is another practical unit where students will be asked to create suitable algorithms and a computer programme to provide a solution to a given problem and code the solution using a suitable programming language.  They will then need to test and evaluate their solution to provide evidence of a programming solution and to build on techniques they have learnt.

Assessment: Controlled Assessment   |   20 hours   |   30% weighting

OCR GCSE Computing: Year 10

OCR GCSE Computing 9-1 is split into three components:

Component 01 – 40% Examination

Systems architecture • Memory • Storage • Wired and wireless networks • Network

topologies, protocols and layers • System security • Systems software • Moral, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

Component 02 – 40% Examination

• Algorithms • Programming techniques • Producing robust programs • Computational logic • Translators and facilities of languages • Data representation

Component 03 – 20% Controlled Assessment

Programming Project (non-exam assessment)

Solving a Computing problem by using the following skills to complete the coursework element.

Programming techniques • Analysis • Design • Development • Testing and evaluation and conclusions

Business Studies

AQA Business Studies

Business Studies is studied at KS4. Students will study AQA GCSE Business Studies. Unit 1 covers the basic fundamentals of Business Studies and provides the students with a solid basis of understanding centered around small business. Unit 2 focuses on growing a small business and research into national/multinational organisations. Year 10 students are offered the opportunity to visit Chester Zoo. The day provides an insight into why and how Chester Zoo markets its product. It will cover the following areas; the zoo’s mission and charitable status, their marketing objectives and target audience, their marketing budget, and types of advertising and PR materials used. Year 11 students will also have the opportunity to visit Coca-Cola Enterprises in Wakefield to research the organisational structure and functions for a large business. This trip contributes towards giving students a realistic insight into the day to day running of a business. Unit 3 is a controlled assessment unit. As part of this unit the students complete a task based on a small local business. This task is based on a scenario set by the exam board which changes every year.

Units 1 and 2 are exam assessed and worth 75% of the final grade.

Unit 3 is worth the final 25%.

OCR Business and Enterprise

The Vocational Skills department are pleased to offer a Vocational option for students to study Business at GCSE. This is a GCSE equivalent course.
Business is at the heart of our economy. From major corporations to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and sole traders, business provides a vital contribution to communities, creates income, provides wealth and leads innovation and creativity across all sectors. The Cambridge Nationals in Business and Enterprise offer students a broad foundation of knowledge required for further study in business, including the different ways in which businesses are owned and operated, effective recruitment and employment, and the key phrases/elements of successful business and enterprise activities.

Unit 1: Introduction to Business – 25% Exam

Unit 2: Planning for work – 25% Centre assessed task

Unit 3: Setting up and running an enterprise – 50% Centre assessed task.


Students complete enterprising activities throughout the year in all year groups during Alternative Curriculum Days. Some of the skills and topics covered include entrepreneurial traits, work related skills, decision making, problem solving, budgeting, team work and communication.

Subject Staff

Head of Faculty / Teacher of Vocational Skills

  • Mrs K Law

Teaching Staff

  • Mr J Wright