A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

Computing is concerned with how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed. Pupils studying computing will gain an understanding of computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers. Computational thinking provides insights into many areas of the curriculum, and influences work at the cutting edge of a wide range of disciplines. Why is computational thinking so important? It allows us to solve problems, design systems, and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence. It is a skill that empowers, and one that all pupils should be aware of and develop competence in. Pupils who can think computationally are better able to conceptualise, understand and use computer-based technology, and so are better prepared for today’s world and the future. Computing is a practical subject, in which invention and resourcefulness are encouraged. The ideas of computing are applied to understanding real-world systems and creating purposeful products. This combination of principles, practice and invention makes computing an extraordinarily useful and intensely creative subject, suffused with excitement, both visceral (‘it works!’) and intellectual (‘that is so beautiful’).