CAS Community   >   Resources   >  

QuickStart Computing

QuickStart Computing has been developed to support primary and secondary schools with the computing programme of study introduced in September 2014. Quickstart Computing provides all teachers with the resources needed to successfully run computing CPD for colleagues in your school, cluster, or area. It contains the essential subject knowledge, with a framework and guidance for planning, teaching and assessing progress for all pupils. Quickstart is funded by the Department for Education and Microsoft and is free to all teachers.

Miles Berry

Created by Miles Berry
last edited May 09 2019 by Qing Wang

Three volumes have been published to meet the demand for subject knowledge for primary and secondary school teachers and guidance for planning and assessment. Volume 1 and volume 2 are focused on primary and secondary respectively although teachers may well find both are **equally useful** for them. Volume 3 covers the transition from primary to secondary and focuses heavily on the required subject knowledge needed for secondary school teachers.

Follow the links below to find out more about each volume:

Each volume has been published in hard copy but these are in short supply. Volumes 1 and 2 also had accompanying CDs so to help teachers access these resources they have been reproduced on this page as a CAS resource as well as on the original publishing site provided by Hodder Education here.

Licence: Crown Copyright 2015 / 2017; covered by the Open Government Licence 3.0 (except where stated)

Quickstart Primary (KS1/KS2 subject knowledge)

Through the programme of study for computing, primary school-aged children learn the fundamental principles and processes of computation; they gain repeated, practical experience of writing code to solve problems and to model systems; they also become skilled at creating high quality products and content using digital technology; and they become safe, responsible and critical users of technology.
This primary handbook is broken down into three sections:
  1. Computing subject knowledge with suggestions for tried-and-tested classroom activities to run in school (see pages 6–49)
  2. Advice for planning, teaching and assessing the computing curriculum (see pages 50–55)
  3. Guidance for running computing CPD sessions (see pages 56–59).
Launch video

All three sections are supported by:

  • a selection of videos to explain particular computing concepts and ideas; the video content is highlighted at the start of each subject knowledge section
  • weblinks to useful information, including activity ideas from Computing At School, Barefoot Computing and CS Unplugged.


The Primary Guide to the National Curriculum should also be regarded as essential reading for all primary teachers.

DOWNLOAD the full CAS Quickstart Primary (KS1 / KS2 subject knowledge See also revised edition from CCEA for the Northern Ireland post-primary curriculum.

Quickstart Secondary (pedagogy)

The National Curriculum for Computing presents many exciting opportunities but also some challenges. the challenges are not, however, insurmountable. regardless of prior experience and knowledge this secondary toolkit will help teachers deliver effective CPD to ensure that all members of the department are fully prepared for a creative and innovative curriculum underpinned by computational thinking.

Seven sections cover background information needed to help plan the curriculum and teach it with confidence. It unpacks the computing curriculum programme of study explaining key concepts and introduces tools that can be used to frame schemes of work and consider progression for pupils.

Leading effective CPD

This section helps you envisage effective CPD sessions. You can skip it if you are using this toolkit for self-study.

Getting started with confidence

Where do I start? Here!

A roadmap for managing change

This section walks you through the process of creating new schemes of work, helping you to identify what can be reused from your existing schemes of work and pointing you in the direction of sources of inspiration to fill the gaps.


This section will help you visualise a good computing lesson and provide you with the tools to start planning your own creative and innovative lessons.


This section helps you identify what makes an effective computing activity and points you in the direction of lots of activities that you can borrow and make your own.

Assessment and progression

This section helps you look beyond the demise of government-prescribed levels and consider how you can assess progression and achievement across the subject of computing.

Next steps

This section describes sources of support and opportunities for further CPD.

Quickstart Primary to secondary transition (KS3 subject knowledge)

The third volume in the QuickStart computing set broadly follows the structure of the QuickStart Computing primary handbook, extending the subject knowledge coverage into the Key Stage 3 computing curriculum. It also acts as a companion to the QuickStart Computing secondary handbook, which addresses classroom matters such as planning, teaching and assessing computing. Our aim has been to produce a one volume survey of the computer science, IT and digital literacy knowledge needed to teach national curriculum computing to 11-14 year olds in a way that's accessible to secondary school teachers who find themselves teaching computing to this age group without a background in computer science or software engineering themselves.
Introductory video from CAS Northern Ireland conference.

The chapters here cover:

  • Computational thinking and logical reasoning
    • Computational thinking
      • How do we think about problems so that computers can help including what is computational thinking?
      • What can you do with computational thinking?
      • How is computational thinking used in the curriculum?
      • Where does computational thinking fit in the new computing curriculum?
      • Classroom activity ideas
    • Logical Reasoning.
      • Boolean logic.
      • How is logical reasoning used in computing?
      • Where does logical reasoning fit in the computing curriculum?
      • Classroom activity ideas
    • Algorithms.
      • What is the best way to solve a problem?
      • How algorithms are expressed?
      • How are algorithms used in the real world?
      • Where do algorithms fit in the computing curriculum?
      • Sorting and searching.
      • Other algorithms.
      • Classroom activity ideas
    • Decomposition
  • Programming?
    • What is programming?
    • What should programming be like in schools?
    • How do you program a computer?
    • How are instructions stored and executed?
    • What programming languages should you use?
    • Visual Programming Languages inc. Scratch, Kodu, Snap!
    • Text-Based Programming Languages inc. Logo, Microsoft Small Basic, Touch Develop, Microsoft Excel, Python
    • What’s inside a Program? Inc. sequence, selection, repetition, modularity (procedures, parameters, functions)
    • Data Structures inc. variables, lists, other data structures
    • Debugging program code
    • Classroom activity ideas
  • Computer systems
    • What is a computer?
    • Binary numbers, maths with binary, representing other information e.g. text, images and audio with binary, compression techniques
    • Logic circuits
    • Hardware components
    • Software components
    • Physical computing
    • Classroom activity ideas
  • computer networks
    • How do computers communicate?
    • How does the Internet work?
    • Who can see the data we transmit?
    • What can you do with the Internet?
    • What is the World Wide Web?
      • What standards does the World Wide Web use?
      • How do you make a web page?
      • How do I get started with HTML?
    • How does a search engine work?
      • How are search results ranked?
    • Classroom activity ideas
  • productive and creative use of computers
    • Can we carry on teaching our old ICT topics?
      • How can we make IT activities more meaningful for pupils?
      • How should pupils go about project work?
      • What applications should pupils work with?
      • What are digital artefacts?
      • How can pupils learn to reuse, revise and repurpose digital artefacts?
      • Are there principles for good design?
    • What can pupils do with data?
    • How can we best support collaboration?
      • Can communication technology be embedded across the whole curriculum?
      • Are pupils able to communicate with pupils in other schools?
      • What sort of audience can pupils reach with their work?
      • What opportunities are there for pupils to work collaboratively?
      • What ground rules should we establish?
    • Classroom activity ideas
  • Safe, responsible and secure use of online and other technologies
    • How can we best keep young people safe online?
    • What are the risks?
    • Reporting concerns
    • Privacy, Security and Identity
    • Classroom activity ideas

It is assumed that readers already have a good idea of how to teach, and how they can use technology to enhance or extend their lessons. However, as well as the subject knowledge content here, we’ve also included lots of practical suggestions for teaching these topics, and links to some of the best resources, activities and references that are freely available for each topic. The book is intended for individual study and reference, but could easily form the basis of a in-school professional development, as did the two earlier QuickStart guides.

Level: Beginner

Duration: One term

Licence: Crown Copyright 2015 / 2017; covered by the Open Government Licence 3.0 (except where stated)

Downloaded 248674 times.


This resource has attached files: to access these files, please tick the box below to assent to the license terms
License: The resources on CAS website are under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence unless otherwise specified by the resource creators.

You must confirm that you have read and agree the licence's ToS before you can download the attachments of this resource.

I have read the licence agreement of this resource and agree to abide by its terms and conditions.

Feedback and Comments

Available when logged in (join via the front page, for free):
  • View 22 comments on this resource.
  • View resource history, links to related resources.
  • Leave feedback for the author(s), or help by editing the resource.

© 2021 BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT Registered charity: No. 292786
Using the websiteDisclaimer of liabilityCookies policyPrivacy notice