This document was distributed to schools to introduce them to the ICL-CES project.

Introducing Computer Education in Schools

The ICL-CES Project


The purpose of computer education is to provide young people with a greater awareness of computers in their lives enabling them to hold an informed opinion of the uses of computers in whatever context they meet them. This may be in their work, domestic life or from reports in newspapers or on television.


ICL-CES is a non-profit making curriculum development project, organised as a co-operative venture between Education and Industry. It was created in 1968 as a result of reports and initiative made independently by educationalists and professional bodies enabling the philosophy in these reports to be interpreted in a practical way. During 1970 the first materials were used by some 600 students in 30 schools. Field trials of further materials, Computer Studies Part One, took place in 1971. By 1972, a range of materials and supporting expertise was available in the United Kingdom to make Computer Studies in Secondary Education comparable to other subjects in the curriculum. Our development and support staff are all secondary school teachers who taught Computer Studies before taking up their present posts.

Supporting Services

Courses can be provided by ICL-CES start for LEA advisers, lecturers and teachers. Such courses are primarily intended to equip those individuals with the experience and skills necessary to organise their own local teacher training schemes. WE can also provide guest lecturing support at these local teacher’s courses. Most local authorities run their own in-service training courses.

Computer software has been developed especially for schools work and is supplied, upon request, to installations willing to process schools’ work. The principal languages are CESIL and BASIC. CESIL is an introductory teaching language designed to provide practical appreciation of the way a computer functions, its benefits and limitations.

BASIC is an internationally used highly developed language which provides a full understanding of the facilities available from the computer and emphasises its problem solving capabilities. A further language SIR is available for more detailed sixth form work where a simple assembly language is required. Advice and information is published in the form of school newsletters, course organisers’ bulletins and information sheets. These are automatically distributed to anyone who attends an ICL-CES course, or uses the teachers’ and students’ materials developed by the project team. We also welcome direct contact by telephone or letter and can help teachers or put them in direct contact with others in their area. [Telephone: 01-387-7030.]


The project team acts as the interface or nucleus between a large umber and variety of contributors in the fields of education and industry. Educationalists, mainly LEA advisers, college lecturers and in particular practising teachers help us define the objectives and nature of the materials, monitor all research and development and subsequently organise the introduction of the resulting schemes in the schools. ICL contributes up-to-date technical expertise, full time advisory and research staff, working capital and other essential facilities. Continuing liaison beyond the research and development stage is ensured through seven Regional Panels covering England and Wales whose chairmen and numerous members are LEA advisers, college lecturers and teachers deeply involved in computer education.

Each panel meets to report on progress, monitor activities and plan future developments within the region. Their chairmen, through an Advisory Council, provide authoritative feedback to the project team.

In addition, members of the project team attend individual LEA progress meetings and conferences and national bodies involved in computer education to keep well informed of the needs of every level in education.

The very complex revolutionary changes in computer technology and user application which highlight the 1970s are brought within the scope of the classroom, through this close co-operation of teachers and industry.

Teaching Materials

The teachers’ and students’ materials developed so far fall into two schemes.

The principal scheme is COMPUTER STUDIES, parts one and two soon to be consolidated by part three. The scheme is carefully constructed to provide a wealth of resources for bread based schemes such as CSE and GCE O-level. Although essentially produced for 14 to 16 year olds of average ability and above, the materials can form the significant part of computer options in Business Studies and professional accounting courses for older students as well as providing a resource for computer clubs, remedial classes, apprentice training etc. Page 3 gives a fuller description of this scheme. The Fundamentals of Computing is the original scheme which has been used since 1970 as basic material for general computer appreciation courses for 16 to 18 year olds, either as a minority time subject or as the first year of a two year A-level course in Computer Science. Page 5 gives a fuller description of this scheme. The Information Retrieval in Schools materials are an extension of these computer studies materials and should encourage activities in other subject disciplines where the need is to set up and interrogate large files of data. Page 7 gives a fuller description of these materials.

The schematic diagram indicates the relationship of the components of the Computer Studies and Information Retrieval in Schools materials (see Page 6).

Computer Studies


These school resources are structured to provide a core of carefully related materials to be tailored by the teacher to individual school or college requirements. For example,

  1. they are suitable for a CSE and GCE ‘O’ level syllabus,
  2. to support the computer option in business and accounting courses,
  3. introductory courses for apprentices,
  4. clerical courses,
  5. leisure study at Further Education establishments.

Aims of such courses include:

to give an appreciation of the working and limitations of computers

to show the use of computer hardware and software as problem solving tools

to show their application in al disciplines and throughout commerce, industry, as well as the public sector such as government, health, nationalised industries and social services

hence to show their impact on society as a whole and also the individuals in that society

to indicate disciplined approaches to problem solving and reinforce basic techniques essential to problem solving and calculation

to provide student participation both as individuals and in groups.

Course Structure and Content

No previous computing or business knowledge is assumed beyond that of basic arithmetic. it is unlikely that any student will cover all of the material provided and progress will depend upon the guidance of the teacher and the pace of the class. A wealth of materials ensures each teacher can design his own scheme or adopt suggestions in the Teachers’ Guide by selecting those topics in the material which are appropriate to the students’ needs and interests.

Study areas include: the nature of the computer, typical hardware, elementary logic and computer functions, computer languages and their use in commercial and scientific fields, elementary programming, social implications, the history and future developments of computing.

Student Material

Part One

The text of the students’ book provides the main stream of information for approximately three terms. Each chapter introduces or develops a topic through text, illustrations or photographs and worked examples. At appropriate stages in each chapter, problems are introduced for students to solve. A summary of “Points to Remember” concludes most chapter to consolidate new work. CESIL is introduced in part one and is a specially developed instructional language used to gain practical experience of the way a computer functions.

Part Two

This text provides extensive material for two further terms developing topics introduced in book one. The simple but internationally used high level language BASIC forms the basic for several programming chapters. More complex computer aspects such as real time use and different types of software are introduced throughout the book.

Part Three

This text is a consolidation of several years of experience by hundreds of teachers and their students and caters for new CSE and GCE O-level syllabuses. Emphasis is on information processing and practical programming work of a non-numerical nature exploiting the alphabetic processing capability of the programming language BASIC. A typical applications software package problem is presented and systems analysis, file processing, simulation techniques, documentation and similar realistic elements of the modern computer and data processing world are illustrated by examples and exercises. Social Implications and Computer History are given very extensive treatment to widen the scope of computer studies.

Teachers’ Materials

The Teachers’ Guides

These provide further information for each topic in the students’ books, solutions to problems in these books, further problems and solutions, references, suggestion on presentation and practical work and OHP masters. The experience of teachers who carried out field trials and feedback from schools who have since used the materials has been incorporated to provide a reservoir for teachers new to computer studies as well as stimulating those familiar with the subject. Other useful features are an indication of the difficulty or ease of student problems.

Activities and Case Studies

Parts one and two each contain studies of computer applications namely Part one: stock control in a chain of supermarkets, hospital patients records system and designing a motorway. Part two includes the National Giro Banking System, Typesetting for books by computer and the Concorde flight tests. In addition, a skeleton case study or set of guide notes enables the teacher or a group of students to develop their own case studies based on local applications. For each case study there is background of the industry under study, reference sources, visual aid masters, teaching notes, and project work guides. These studies form the basis of projects to be undertaken throughout the course to contrast with more detailed elements of the course such as programming.

Visual Aids

With parts one and two there are OHP transparencies and wall charts to complement the topics covered in the students’ texts.

Fundamentals of Computing

Aims And Objectives

These, the original CES materials, have similar aims and objectives to the Computer Studies scheme. However, they are intended for the older student, 16 to 18 year olds following either a computer appreciation course or the first year of a two-year A-level syllabus.

Course Structure and Content

Student and teacher materials are modular in concept to ensure ease of application to a large variety of course requirements. The student material assumes no previous computing, business or mathematical knowledge beyond that of basic arithmetic. The following study areas are included:

Nature of the computer: basic hardware, including peripherals, core store, control and arithmetic units, and backing store: computer representation of numbers and characters; introductory computer logic.

Programming: introduction with CESIL, full development of SIR (assembly language); flowcharting, software, an appreciation of high level languages.

Problem and system analysis, network analysis.

Applications: commercial, scientific, miscellaneous.

Social implications, history of computers, the computer industry.

The material consists of a students’ text and a teachers’ guide. The latter provides further information on each topic in the students text, references and solutions to the problems in the students text, which are given a grading according to difficulty. Hints on teaching the material are also given. The Computer Studies teachers’ materials can provide further useful material for this course, particularly the visual aids and case studies.

Course flow

Information Retrieval in Schools

Aims and Objectives

These resources exploit computer software already used by non-computer management in government, commerce and industry. The teacher and his class follow worked examples until they can develop their own files of daa, prepare enquiries for the data and specify the nature and format of reports to be produced by the computer. This realistic data processing application of computers introduces the use of the computer in other curriculum subjects with the minimum of technical narrative.

Aims are:

  • to complement work in computer studies courses by giving experience of handling files and using a large manufacturer’s software package;
  • to provide students projects in the areas of data collection and information retrieval for computer studies courses;
  • for computer appreciation courses orientated towards non-numerical information processing;
  • to provide non-computer studies pupils and teaching staff with the capability of using the computer as a tool in other subjects, e.g. environmental studies, history, geography;
  • to provide staff involved with school or college administration with a simple data processing tool, e.g. student records, resource catalogues.

Structure And Content

No previous knowledge of computing is required. Students will gain experience of computers and information processing as non-technical users of standard software.

Progress will depend entirely on the time given to working through the text and the extent to which examples are worked out by students. The teachers’ guide provides extensive detail which have been kept out of the students’ text to ensure that the book is as straightforward as possible.

Four files can be interrogates, namely:-

  1. student information file - name, sex, class, age, sport;
  2. extended student information file - as (i) with the addition of school subjects, clubs, etc.;
  3. criminal information file;
  4. national places of interest file - this latter can be augmented by local information.

Suggestions for students to develop their own files are then described.

The materials consist of a students’ text and a teachers’ guide.

Computer Installation

Documentation and all the data files are supplied on request to any ICL 1900/2903 computer installation specified by the school/college on the request form included in each Teachers’ Guide.

In addition to the four data files, each installation will receive implementation notes covering the file creation.

The computer software requirements for the system are provided by the ICL software package FIND which is freely available on ICL 1900 series computers, and as a program product on ICL 2903.

A simple subset of FIND has been defined by ICL-CES for educational use. The materials cover this subset.

The data files created by this system are in a standard format transferable between ICL 1900 series users.

For further information please telephone or write to:

Computer Education in Schools,
322 Euston Road,
Telephone: 01-387-7030

Prices at June 1976

Generally orders are placed for complete teacher units but we supply the components separately if customers prefer to select items.

Computer Studies £
Part One Teacher Unit
Part One Teacher Guide
Part One Activities and Case Studies
Part One Wall Charts
Part One Overhead Projector Transparencies
PArt One Student Unit
Part Two Teacher Unit
Part Two Teacher Guide
PArt Two Activities and Case Studies
Part Two Wall Charts
Part Two Overhead Projector Transparencies
Part Two Student Unit
Part Three Teacher Guide (Available Feb ‘77’)
Part Three Student Book
Fundamentals of Computing £
Teacher Guide
Student Unit
Information Retrieval in Schools £
Teacher Guide (Available October ‘76’)
Student Book


Originals: ICL-CES Project Description contains page images of the original document from which the above information was extracted.