Why Study Computer Science?

If you are constantly tinkering with your computer wondering “What happens if I change this?” and “How does it work?”, or if you have a fondness for problem solving, mathematical reasoning and logic then A Level Computer Science may be the perfect choice for you.

A level Computer Science is accepted as an appropriate qualification for entry to many degree courses and gives a very good start for pupils wishing to take Computer Science at degree level. Weather you chose to Study Computer Science at university or not, you will find the practical skills you have developed through the course to be invaluable in supporting further study in science and engineering courses at undergraduate level.

It is expected that pupils will achieve a minimum of a grade B in GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Physics in order to take this subject in the Sixth Form. GCSE Computing is not necessary.

Pupils will be based in Computer suites which are especially equipped to facilitate the delivery of the course. They will be able to access their files using Dean Close School networked PCs, remote access via the Internet is also available. A selection of microcontrollers and associated kits will be made available for possible use in A level projects or co-curricular activities.

What will I learn?

Pupils will take a detailed look ‘under the hood’ of computer systems to learn about what really goes on inside those chips and circuit boards. They will investigate the nature and role of software, taking a practical approach; by designing and developing their own software applications using various programing languages including; Python, Visual basic and PHP.

They will learn how data is processed, represented and stored by computers, creating algorithms that can be applied to solve computational problems. They also use Office productivity software to demonstrate and document progress throughout the course, and are expected to do a substantial amount of both practical and theory work outside the classroom.

How am I assessed?

Specification: OCR Computer Science Computer Systems (40%) 2.5 hours

This unit gives a broad overview of Computer Science, looking at the elements of a computer system (hardware/software/operating systems), the structure and nature of data, the role of the processor and the implications of computer use. Pupils also examine the role and importance of databases to commerce and business.

Algorithms and Programming (40%) 2.5 hours

This unit focuses on computational thinking, including designing, creating and evaluating computer programs. A variety of practical tasks are covered in different computer languages, such as Visual Basic and Python. Pupils are encouraged to develop practical skills in a number of areas and will create desktop programs, mobile apps and robotics-based solutions.

Programming Project (20%)

Pupils research and design a complex information system and create a working program to solve a real world problem. The project and accompanying documentation form the assessment for this unit.

Darren Fitzgerald

Head of Computer Science