The thought experiment

I decided to do a little thought experiment this morning and see if Chat GPT could design a new computing curriculum based on the English national curriculum and the current GCSE Computer Science subject content document. 

Here is the prompt that I used:

“The situation we have in England at the moment is we have a computing national curriculum that has a broad range of knowledge and skills covered relating to digital literacy, information technology and computer science. However, we have a GCSE which is the final school qualification that only assesses the computer science element. I would like to present you with the English national curriculum for computing and then the current specification for computer science. I would like you to take the information from the computing curriculum and use it to create a new GCSE computing specification. It should follow a similar format and level of detail as the Computer Science one but reduce some of the topics, such as networks and replace them with IT and digital literacy content instead. Please ask me to submit the national curriculum first for you to analyse, and then the GCSE computer science specification and then present me with your new GCSE computing specification.”

Chat GPT Prompt

Now I know that I could have refined this much further but it was a quick thought experiment – don’t judge!

Anyway…after entering both documents as instructed I was presented with this. Take a look!

GCSE Computing Specification

Subject Aims and Learning Outcomes

GCSE specifications in computing should enable students to:

  • Understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computing, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation.
  • Analyze problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing, and debugging programs.
  • Think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically, and critically.
  • Understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.
  • Understand the impacts of digital technology on the individual and wider society.
  • Apply mathematical skills relevant to computing.
  • Be responsible, competent, confident, and creative users of information and communication technology.
  • Develop capability, creativity, and knowledge in digital media and information technology.
  • Understand how changes in technology affect safety, including new ways to protect their online privacy and identity, and how to report a range of concerns.

Subject Content

Knowledge and Understanding

GCSE specifications must require students to develop knowledge and understanding of the following areas:

  1. Computer Science Fundamentals:
    • Standard algorithms, including binary search and merge sort.
    • Writing algorithms to solve problems using sequence, selection, and iteration.
    • Understanding data types (integer, Boolean, real, character, string) and data structures (records, one- and two-dimensional arrays).
    • Representation of numbers in binary and hexadecimal; conversion between these and decimal; binary addition and shifts.
    • Representation of text, sound, and graphics in digital form.
    • Boolean logic using AND, OR, and NOT, and their applications.
  2. Digital Systems and Architecture:
    • Components of digital systems and how they communicate.
    • Systems software, including operating systems and utility software.
    • CPU architecture, including the fetch-execute cycle.
    • Main and secondary storage types (magnetic, optical, solid state) and data storage methods.
    • Data capacity and calculation of requirements.
    • Embedded systems.
  3. Networks and Cybersecurity:
    • Network types, topologies, and protocols (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, TCP/IP, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, email).
    • Network connectivity (wired and wireless) and security.
    • Cybersecurity: forms of attack, identifying vulnerabilities, protection methods.
  4. Information Technology:
    • Use and evaluation of various software applications to design and create content.
    • Use of digital tools for data collection, analysis, and presentation.
    • Effective use of search technologies and critical evaluation of digital content.
    • Concepts of databases and data management.
  5. Digital Literacy:
    • Safe, respectful, responsible, and secure use of technology.
    • Understanding and managing online identity and privacy.
    • Recognizing and reporting inappropriate content and conduct online.
    • Ethical, legal, and environmental impacts of digital technology on society.

GCSE specifications must require students to develop the following skills:

  1. Problem-Solving and Programming:
    • Systematic problem solving using decomposition and abstraction.
    • Design, write, test, and refine programs using one or more high-level programming languages.
    • Use pseudo code and flowcharts to represent algorithms.
    • Evaluate the fitness of algorithms using logical reasoning and test data.
  2. Digital Content Creation:
    • Use of digital tools to create, reuse, revise, and repurpose digital artifacts for different audiences.
    • Application of design principles to ensure usability and trustworthiness of digital content.
  3. Data Analysis and Presentation:
    • Use of spreadsheets, databases, and other software to collect, analyze, and present data.
    • Understanding and applying data visualization techniques.
  4. Safe and Responsible Use:
    • Applying appropriate security techniques, including validation and authentication.
    • Understanding and applying principles of digital well-being and online safety.
  5. Communication and Collaboration:
    • Effective use of digital communication tools.
    • Collaborative work using digital platforms.


The assessment will consist of two components:

  1. Written Exam (50%):
    • Assessing knowledge and understanding of computer science fundamentals, digital systems, networks, and cybersecurity.
    • Testing problem-solving and programming skills through theoretical questions and practical tasks.
  2. Practical Assessment (50%):
    • Evaluating students’ ability to create digital content and solve problems using information technology tools.
    • Assessing the application of digital literacy principles in real-world scenarios.

This new specification aims to provide a balanced approach to computing education, ensuring that students gain a broad and practical understanding of digital literacy, information technology, and computer science.

My first thoughts are that it has done what I asked (almost) and it does feel a little more balanced but there is still a lot that I would change. 

What do you think?