Computing Science: Professional Focus Papers:

Professional focus papers for Computing Science at National 4 and National 5 can be found here.

These papers are for teachers and other staff who provide learning, teaching and support as learners work towards National 4 and 5. They are intended to stimulate professional reflection and dialogue about learning.

Curriculum for Excellence gives real scope to build learning from 3-18 in a joined-up, seamless way. Attributes and capabilities, skills (including higher-order thinking skills), knowledge and understanding are delivered through the experiences and outcomes of the 3-15 Broad General Education (BGE) and, at the senior phase, through programmes which build directly on the BGE leading to qualifications.

To ensure continuity and progression, qualifications at the senior phase have been designed to embrace this unambiguous focus on high-quality learning. The professional focus papers highlight important features of learning which are enhanced or different from previous arrangements at the SCQF level.


Technologies: Principles and Practice


The Technologies curriculum area principles and practice documents can be found here.

The principles and practice document is essential reading for teachers as they begin, and then develop, their work with the statements of experiences and outcomes. It sets out the purposes of learning within the curriculum area, describes how the experiences are organised, and offers guidance on aspects such as learning and teaching, broad features of assessment, progression and connections with other areas of the curriculum.

What does learning in the technologies enable children and young people to do?

  • essential in maintaining Scotland’s economic prosperity
  • scope for developing technological skills, knowledge, understanding and attributes through creative, practical and work-=related activities
  • rich context for developing the four capacities and for developing life skills

What are the main purposes of learning in the technologies?

How are the technologies experiences and outcomes organised?

What skills are developed in the technologies?

What learning and teaching approaches are useful in the technologies?

What does ICT mean within this framework?

How can ICT enhance learning and teaching?

What is the difference between computing and ICT?

What is the significance of the italicised experiences and outcomes in ICT?

What are the broad features of assessment in technologies?

How can I make connections within and beyond the technologies?

Computing Science National 4/National 5 – Course Materials

Education Scotland have made available the following files to assist teachers develop their own materials.

These support materials, which are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive, provide suggestions on approaches to teaching and learning which will promote development of the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills for Computing Science National 4/National 5. 

Staff are encouraged to draw on these materials, and existing materials, to develop their own programmes of learning which are appropriate to the needs of learners within their own context.

Software Design and Development (N4) Outcomes

Outcome 1
The learner will:
1 Explain how simple programs work, drawing on understanding of basic concepts in software development, by:
1.1 Reading and explaining code
1.2 Describing the purpose of a range of programming constructs and how they work
1.3 Explaining how data and instructions are stored

Outcome 2
The learner will:
2 Develop short programs using a software development environment by:
2.1 Selecting and using expressions, sequence, selection and iteration
2.2 Selecting and using appropriate simple data types, such as numeric (integer) and string
2.3 Testing digital solutions using supplied test data
2.4 Identifying and rectifying errors in programs

Outcome 3
The learner will:
2 Produce a short factual report on a contemporary software-based application by:
3.1 Describing the application
3.2 Explaining how its features relate to programming constructs and data types
3.3 Describing its impact on the environment or society

Courses from National 4 to Advanced Higher include assessment of added value. At National 4 the added value will be assessed in the Added Value Unit.

Taken from the National 4 Computing Science Course Support Notes

Information System Design and Development (N4) Outcomes

Outcome 1
The learner will:
1 Develop simple information systems, using appropriate development tools by:
1.1 Creating a structure and links
1.2 Integrating different media types
1.3 Identifying and rectifying error

Outcome 2
The learner will:
2 Consider a number of basic factors involved in the design and implementation of an information system by describing in simple terms:
2.1 Its basic features and functionality
2.2 Its hardware, software and connectivity requirements
2.3 The security risks involved in digital communications

Added value
Courses from National 4 to Advanced Higher include assessment of added value. At National 4 the added value will be assessed in the Added Value Unit.

Taken from the National 4 Computing Science Course Support Notes

Textbook: National 4&5 Computing Science (N4-5)

Details regarding National 4&5 Computing Science (N4-5) can be found via Amazon or Hodder Education.

This comprehensive textbook provides full coverage of the Computing Science courses offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority at both National 4 and 5 levels. The book is divided into two core units of the syllabus, Software Design and Development and Information Systems Design and Development, and is attractively designed in full colour throughout.

– The first comprehensive book for National 4 and 5 Computing Science
– Written by the bestselling author of ‘Standard Grade Computing Studies’

Table of Contents:
Unit 1 Software Design and Development

  • 1 Low-level operations and computer architecture
  • 2 Computational constructs and data types and structures
  • 3 Testing and documenting solutions
  • 4 Algorithm specification
  • 5 Design notations

Unit 2 Information Systems Design and Development

  • 6 Structures, links and testing
  • 7 User interface
  • 8 Media types
  • 9 Coding
  • 10 Purpose, features, functionality, users
  • 11 Hardware and software requirements
  • 12 Storage
  • 13 Networking and connectivity
  • 14 Security risks and precautions
  • 15 Legal implications
  • 16 Environmental impact


About the Author(s):
John Walsh is Principal Teacher of Computing in St. Andrew’s Academy in Saltcoats, Ayrshire. He has considerable experience in working as a marker, assistant examiner, assistant national development officer, working group secretary, panel member, moderator and vetter.