Abbey CBS Newry Grammar School

The Abbey Grammar School
77a, Ashgrove Road
Co Down, BT34 1QN
N Ireland
+44 (0) 28 3026 3142

Digital Technology

What is Digital Technology?

Digital technology incorporates aspects of computer science and information technology. It explores how we can use technology to create, store, process, analyse and present information in a digital context. This includes computer architecture, networks, web technology, digital media, programming tools and software applications.


It’s a good time to be working in IT and computing. Research by e-skills UK shows that the sector is one of the fastest-moving and most dynamic in the UK – currently employing 1 in 20 of us. It’s estimated that over half a million new entrants will be needed to fill jobs in this sector over the next five years.

There are opportunities for IT and computing graduates across all industries, including retail, financial services, telecommunications, broadcast media, digital media, manufacturing, transport, tourism, the public sector and healthcare – with strong growth and demand in cyber security, mobile development, cloud computing and the management of big data.

Quick Contact Details

Mr D McCann

Curriculum Information

Key Stage 3 Discrete ICT Skills Classes (Years 8,9 & 10)

What is ICT?

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a term used to denote the convergence of computers, video and telecommunications, as seen in the use of multimedia computers, and the networks and services based on them.

ICT is concerned with how technology is and can be used to manage and process information. Today’s computers and computer software are used to create, convert, access, store, organise, protect, present, communicate and transmit information in a variety of electronic forms.

The study of ICT can also lead to careers in ICT management as well as people management, computer programming, database management, website design, website management or graphic design.

To be responsible members of society, students must be aware of the ever-growing impact of ICT. They need to reflect critically on ICT’s role in society and consider its positive and negative effects. The department’s role is to develop skills and attitudes that increase students’ abilities to address the social and ethical issues of technological advancements.

One lesson per week in Years 8 and 9 to allow the pupils to learn how to use ICT safely and effectively. The skills incorporate:
• using the latest software packages
• e-safety
• an introduction to programming

In Years 8 – 10, students are introduced to basic computer programming techniques. These concepts include:
• functions
• conditional statements if Statements
• iteration loops For
• HTML Web design

The programming environments used in Year 8 are Scratch and the Python Turtle, while in Year 9 student’s explore Scratch and BBC Microbit.

scratch_logopythonBBC MICROBIT

GCSE Digital Technology (Multimedia) (Years 11 & 12)  (CCEA)

Students acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of digital technology in a variety of contexts. They also develop creative and practical digital technology skills, either using a range of generic software or in an object-oriented environment. They explore the legal, social, economic, ethical and environmental impact of digital technology. This qualification also helps them to develop transferable skills such as creative problem-solving and teamwork.

Aims – This specification aims to encourage students to:

  • become independent and discerning users of digital technology;
  • acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of digital technology in a range of contexts;
  • acquire creative and technical digital technology skills and apply these in a range of contexts;
  • develop and evaluate digital technology based solutions to solve problems;
  • develop their understanding of current and emerging technologies and the social and commercial impact of these technologies;
  • develop their understanding of the legal, social, economic, ethical and environmental impact of digital technology;
  • recognise potential risks when using digital technology and develop safe, secure and responsible practice;
  • develop the skills needed to work collaboratively.

GCSE Digital Technology has three units:

Unit 1: Digital Technology
Unit 2: Digital Authoring Concepts
Unit 3: Digital Authoring Practice

GCE Advanced Level Digital Technology (Years 13 & 14) (CCEA)
Why study Digital Technology?
Digital Technology explores how information and communication technology is used to store, process and present information efficiently and accurately.

The influence of digital technology in all aspects of our lives continues to accelerate. Current and emerging technologies and information services are transforming how we communicate with each other, how we work and the ways we learn. It is essential that we can understand how this technology works in order to make proper use of it.

It is also necessary to investigate and understand security issues in order to keep our data and information systems secure from hackers or to recover data in the event of a disaster.

This qualification is for students who are interested in current and emerging technologies and the impact they have on our business and social lives and who wish to utilise them effectively. It is likely to appeal to all, but particularly those students who enjoyed studying Digital Technology, Mathematics, the Sciences or Technology and Design at GCSE.

At AS Level there are 2 units and both are assessed by external written examinations. This makes up 40% of the overall A level examination. The units require students to develop knowledge and understanding of the various approaches to the development of complex systems including analysis, design, development and testing. It also includes studying programming environments, programming structures, web technology and multimedia.

At A Level there is one externally assessed unit based on developing knowledge and understanding of information systems. It includes the study of networks, databases and the applications of digital technology. In the 2nd A2 unit, students have the opportunity to become involved in a real-world situation where they can apply their skills, knowledge and understanding of digital technology to solve a problem for a specified client. This can be in the form a designing a database with a web front end or could be a programming project. These units make up 60% of the overall A level examination.


The Advanced Subsidiary (AS) forms 40% of the assessment weighting of the full Advanced GCE (A2).

The A Level Abbey students will be expected to make a total commitment to the subject. Students will study Digital Technology for nine periods per week. Extensive reading beyond the allocated syllabus is essential and students will be expected to keep up to date with present technological trends by reading computer magazines and using relevant websites. It is recommended that a student spend on average three hours per week doing personal study to fulfill the requirements at this level.

This course will prepare students for a wide range of courses in Higher Education as well as employment in the computer industry. The increased use of computers in all aspects of industry means that careers in this field encompass a wide variety of jobs. Some of these are: Web design, Computer Games Development, Computer Programming, Data Processing, Engineering, Network Management, Software Engineering, Systems Analysis, and Teaching.

IT is a subject leading to a wide variety of careers in a whole range of professions, such as;

  • Health IT Specialist

  • Mobile Application Developer

  • Information Systems Manager

  • Database Administrator

  • Information Technology Consultant

  • Multimedia Programmer

  • IT Vendor Manager

  • Data Modeler

  • Web Developer

Catch Up Sessions

To help our students achieve their high aspirational targets we offer additional support at lunch time, free classes and after school for those who experience difficulty in their course.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in IT (Years 13 & 14) (Pearson)
Why study BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in IT ?

Information Technology (IT) involves the use of computers in industry, commerce, the arts and elsewhere. IT includes aspects of IT systems architecture, human factors, project management and the general ability to use computers. Increasingly businesses are implementing IT strategies to manage and process data both to support many business processes and to deliver new opportunities.

The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Information Technology is equivalent  to 1 A level.

BTECs are work related qualifications which provide a more practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a key theoretical background. BTECs are different from traditional A levels, however, there will be  external exams as well as assignments that are internally/externally moderated.

Studying towards a BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Information Technology students will have to completed FOUR different units.

  • Unit 1: Information Technology Systems
  • Unit 2: Creating Systems to Manage Information
  • Unit 3: Using Social Media in Business
  • Unit 6: Website Development

Young Software Engineers (Extra Curricular)

The ICT department participated in a Tech Know Club programme run in partnership with Ashfield Girls High School and funded by All state. Two STEM ambassadors (Past pupils) were allocated to our school, to help guide interested Year 9 students through the programming skills required to enable them to participate in the programme and take part in a final challenge which took place in Belfast.

On competition day the Abbey faced stiff competition from Aquinas Grammar, Ashfield Girls, Ballyclare High, Campbell College, Portora College, St Colm’s High School, St Patrick’s Academy and Wallace High School. Our ICT students performed exceptionally well on the day and the Abbey students should be congratulated on winning this prestigious competition achieving the title “Young Software Engineers Team Award 2014”.

Computer Coding Club
The Computer coding club allowed 6th year students to engage in an application and selection process. Ten students are subsequently selected to participate. These students learn valuable programming skills and use the Ruby on Rails software to solve complex problem. One of the highlights of the club is to participate in a special Drone academy in collaboration with other schools in the area.

Departmental Staff

Mr DMcCann


Mr M Grogan


Departmental Photo Gallery

Departmental Links

ICT Microsite

for an explanation of ICT technical terms

for information on ICT career paths and career guidance


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