Computing is an exciting and dynamic subject which is constantly evolving. Pupils are introduced to the concepts of computational thinking and coding in key stage 3 and move on to studying more complex programming languages and environments at GCSE.
GCSE Computer Science is a challenging course. It is a demanding subject requiring thought and commitment over the whole 2 years of the course. Prospective students will need to show an aptitude for programming through their progress during Year 9 Computer Science lessons and should have a genuine interest in the subject.
The new syllabus puts a strong emphasis on the computer programming/concepts behind how computers and computer applications actually run in different environments e.g. gaming, databases and web sites.
The course also contains some advanced mathematical concepts including an understanding of the use of number bases, e.g. binary and hexadecimal notation. Students will need to be able to understand the concepts behind binary arithmetic and base number conversions, and to manipulate and link various programming concepts such as flowcharts, data types, variable manipulation, program flow control, functions, procedures and error handling.
Candidates who are not strong in mathematics are advised to consider carefully whether this type of course is best suited to them as they may find it difficult to access high grades in such a conceptual subject.
AS and A-level specifications in computer science encourage students to develop:
- an understanding of, and the ability to apply, the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation
- the ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including writing programs to do so
- the capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
- the capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science
- mathematical skills related to:
- Boolean algebra
- comparison and complexity of algorithms (A-level only)
- number representations and bases.
- the ability to articulate the individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural opportunities and risks of digital technology.
We follow the AQA specification
Mr K Rogers BA (Hons), MSc