Computing is the study of principles and practices that underpin an understanding
and modelling of computation, and of their application in the development of computer
systems. At its heart lies the notion of computational thinking: a mode of thought that goes
well beyond software and hardware, and that provides a framework within which to reason
about systems and problems. This mode of thinking is supported and complemented by a
substantial body of theoretical and practical knowledge, and by a set of powerful techniques
for analysing, modelling and solving problems.
Computing is deeply concerned with how computers and computer systems work,
and how they are designed and programmed. Pupils studying computing gain insight into
computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers. Computational
thinking influences fields such as biology, chemistry, linguistics, psychology, economics and
statistics. 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 that all pupils
should be aware of and have some competence in. Furthermore, pupils who can think
computationally are better able to conceptualise and understand computer-based
technology, and so are better equipped to function in modern society.
Computing is a practical subject, where invention and resourcefulness are
encouraged. Pupils are expected to apply the academic principles they have learned to the
understanding of real-world systems, and to the creation of purposeful artefacts. This
combination of principles, practice, and invention makes it an extraordinarily useful and an
intensely creative subject, suffused with excitement, both visceral (“it works!”) and
intellectual (“that is so beautiful”).