UK examination body OCR has launched the first entry-level qualification in Computing, with the aim of giving young learners in Key Stage 3 (KS3) and Key Stage 4 (KS4) a solid introduction to the subject.

The entry-level qualification will also provide a platform for further study of computing at GCSE and beyond, according to OCR.

“It is essential to ensure we stay ahead in our industry and to do this we should encourage computational thinking as early as possible,” said Lorna Panesar, Curriculum Leader for Computing at The Emmbrook School in Wokingham.

“This will not only be a useful tool to achieve that but also to reach out to students who may not yet be ready for a more complex GCSE qualification.”

The launch of the Entry Level Certificate follows the success of OCR's Computing GCSE, which has now been taught in schools for two years.

The GCSE course specification was recently used in a report by the BCS (British Computer Society) to justify why computer science should be included as an option in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

According to the report, the OCR GCSE in Computing requires a higher degree of intellectual depth to achieve grade C than is required by some Physics GCSEs.

“OCR anticipated demand for computing in schools by developing our GCSE. With the disapplication of the ICT curriculum last year, schools have the opportunity to develop their own programmes of study and our range of qualifications, including the new Entry Level certificate, can support them,” said OCR chief executive Mark Dawe.

As well as developong computing qualifications, OCR has teamed up with partners such as Raspberry Pi and Computing at School to invigorate the curriculum and develop new resource materials.

OCR and partners will be exhibiting and sharing expertise at BETT, one of the largest education technology events in the world, from 30 January to 2 February at ExCel London.