ICL-CES: Computer Education in Schools

The ICL-CES project was created in the late 60s and by the early 70s began to produce materials to promote the teaching of computer science in UK schools. This site presents some materials related to that project.

My school took part in the project and so I was able to study computer science at both GCE ‘O’-level and ‘A’-level.

There is very little information on the web about ICL computers and practically nothing about the CES project. Luckily, I still have much of my school work and I’ve managed to recover the computer programs I wrote and I’ve written software to allow me to run them again 40 years later.

On this site you’ll find examples of course materials, school work, official publications and more.

Materials Produced By ICL-CES

Introducing Computer Education in Schools, a document explaining the organisation of the ICL-CES project to school teachers. This is a good introduction to the the ICL-CES project.

ICL-CES CESIL/BASIC Reference Card, a reference card giving a summary of the BASIC and CESIL languages provided for the ICL 1900 and used in the text books produced by the project.

ICL Computers in Education Brochure, a sales and marketing brochure for the ICL 2903E, an ICL 2903 bundled with software aimed at schools and small colleges

ICL 2903 BASIC Reference Card, a reference card giving a summary of the commands and BASIC statements for the interactive BASIC system available on the ICL 2903E

ICL 2903 Educational System User’s Guide, the user’s guide for the above

School Work

COMPUTER STUDIES: ORDINARY LEVEL (MODE 2), the syllabus for the ‘O’-level course that was given to our teachers.

LATEST COMPUTER SCIENCE: ADVANCED LEVEL, notes about the syllabus for the ‘A’-level course that were given to our teachers.

The ICL Mainframes at Nene College, information gleaned from my notes made when we got a trip around the Nene College ICL 1900 and (later) the ICL 2903E installations

My First Program, the materials from the very first computer program I wrote that was actually run on a real computer

City & Guilds Mnemonic Code, a description of a low-level programming language intended for teaching. We used it very briefly at ‘A’-level but it’s a very odd machine, having floating point numbers as its basic data type.

‘O’ Level Examination Papers, the ‘O’-level examination papers I took in 1976

‘A’ Level Examination Papers, the ‘A’-level examination papers I took in 1978

Recovery of Old Programs

Reading a Punched Card, an explanation of a python script I wrote to so some image processing on photographs I took of some old punched cards to recover their contents.

Reading Punched Paper Tape, a description of my arduino-based project to read the punched paper tapes for programs I wrote during my A-level.


A Font for the ASR-33 TeleType Character Set, a font corresponding to the characters printed by our school’s ASR 33 TeleType.

Odds & Ends


Where I’ve converted documents into text, I’ve preserved the original scanned pages.