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Computer Science

What will I learn?

The A Level Computer Science specification covers a variety of real world, practical programming techniques; so that you may gain a good understanding of what makes technology work. Computing is of great importance to the economy today, as most industries require an ever-increasing number of technologically aware individuals. Therefore, this course is suitable for any student who has an interest in learning more about software development, as you will learn how to create applications that run on mobile devices and operate in a web-based environment. You will also learn how to create your own simple computer programs and extend your life skills in other areas, such as project management and working as part of a team, all of which will help your work in other subjects and in the world of work.

Course details

The specification comprises three units:

  • Paper 1: An on-screen examination combining both theory knowledge and practical programming skills worth 40% of the final mark.
  • Paper 2: An examined unit worth 40% of the final mark.
  • Non-exam assessment: This is a practical programming project worth 20% of the final mark.

The subject content is arranged in various sections:

Programming Theory

This covers a variety of topics related to programming from the basic structure of data to learning how to structure suitable coded solutions. You will also understand how to check your code for errors and then how to correct them once found.

Computer Structure

This looks at all the parts of hardware: Systems, CPU, Memory and Secondary Storage. It also includes being able to discuss future developments of hardware.

Computer Science Terminology

This includes terminology required for the practical component such as database, web, mobile and gaming software development key phrases.

The use of computer technology in society

This will look at being able to evaluate the effectiveness of computer programs and the impact of and issues surrounding the use of computer technology in society.

Various strategies are employed to encourage pupils to develop the capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically, and the skills to work collaboratively. A typical week of lessons will involve some theory lessons and some practical work. Homework set can be examination questions, based on the theory covered, further research or preparation for the next lesson and continuation of the practical exercises.

Non exam assessment

Students are required to identify a problem, involving a third party user and to generate a solution using their programming skills. This is a single substantial project and worth 20% of your final A Level grade. It is expected that you will spend 20 hours in lessons and an equal amount of independent study time developing your project.

What skills would I develop?

The specification builds on the work that you have done in both Key Stages 3 and 4. It will help prepare you for higher level studies specifically in this subject or in any other. You will develop skills in analysing where and when it is appropriate to use computer technology by studying many different systems in current use. These skills will then be applied in the practical examination and the project component by producing solutions to tasks set by the examination board.

Previous Qualifications
  • Must have grade 6, or above GCSE/IGCSE Computer Science.
  • It would also be beneficial if you had grade 6, or above in GCSE/IGCSE Mathematics, due to the nature of some of the theory content.

Students seeking further information regarding this course should contact Mr Reid:

Who should choose Computer Science?

Students who choose Computer Science develop skills not just in technology, programming and computing, but also vital problem solving skills that are relevant and applicable to many other subjects. This explains why the Russell Group publication Informed Choices, lists Computer Science as a useful A Level qualification in twenty of their degree courses, from Biochemistry to Economics to Medicine. In the future, skills in computing will be the most in demand and the advantages start at A Level, not just at degree level.

"I chose Computer Science because I wanted to learn about the different range of computer programs which were available. The coding has allowed me to develop my problem solving skills which has benefitted me in my other subjects." Stephanie, Sixth Former

"Computer science is such a male-dominated subject, it is important for more girls to be educated in the world of computers. I really enjoy working with computers, and computer science has enabled me to learn more skills and allow me to be a lot more practical in my learning." Wendy, Sixth Former

"By taking Computer Science it has opened countless doors for my future and complements a variety of subjects from the logical thinking skills to understanding the moral, ethical, legal and cultural issues surrounding Computer Science." Danielle, Sixth Former