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ICT & Computer Science

Years 10 - 11

Our GCSE in Computer Science gives you a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. This course uncovers what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, including learning to program in the Python programming language.

You will learn to solve problems in creative ways and will discover that Computer Science touches every aspect of our lives. You will apply logic, maths and skills of critical evaluation. You will learn how Computers ‘think’ in binary, discuss the ethical implications of driverless cars and the security of your personal data, and understand some of the algorithms that power modern websites such as Google Search and Facebook.

Computer Science changes the way you look at the world and gives you a powerful set of problem solving tools that can be applied to any of your subjects and your day-to-day life. During your study of Computer Science you will also be developing a range of ICT skills through the use of, for example, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Classroom.

The course provides an excellent pathway towards further study of Computer Science at A-Level and University and also to employment in related professions. There is exponential growth in demand for graduates who are qualified in this area. Students who have taken a GCSE in Computer Science and who progress to study the subject at A-Level or University will have an advantage over their peers who pick up this subject later on. The course is made up of three units:

Computer Systems

  • Systems Architecture, Memory, Storage
  • Wired and wireless networks
  • Network topologies, protocols and layers
  • System security
  • System software
  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

Assessment:

  • 80 marks
  • 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Written paper
  • No calculators allowed

Weighting:

  • 40% of total GCSE

Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming

  • Algorithms *
  • Programming techniques
  • Producing robust programs
  • Computational logic
  • Translators and facilities of languages
  • Data representation

Assessment:

  • 80 marks
  • 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Written paper
  • No calculators allowed

Weighting:

  • 40% of total GCSE

Programming Project

  • Programming techniques
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing and evaluation and conclusions

Assessed as Coursework:

  • 40 marks
  • Totalling 20 hours

Weighting:

  • 20% of total GCSE

Sixth Form

Our A-level in Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It’s an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement. Our Computer Science qualification values computational thinking, helping our students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.

The aims of our qualification are to enable learners to develop:

  • An understanding and 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 to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
  • The capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science.
  • Mathematical skills.

Can you answer ‘yes!’ to these questions?

  • Do I enjoy computer programming and designing algorithms?
  • Do I enjoy problem solving and being creative with computers?
  • Do I enjoy planning and carrying out project work under my own control?
  • Do I want to give myself a path to University or Apprenticeships in this or related subjects?

“I love studying this subject because I enjoy learning about how computers work and how they impact society.” Mawadah Odeh 12S

Why Computer Science?

  • A subject that leads on to Computer Science at University and builds on our GCSE in Computer Science.
  • A skill area that has become vitally important across all job sectors including the digital economy.
  • The coursework component means you secure 20% of your A-Level grade before the exams and develop a range of practical, transferrable skills.
  • This qualification is a good fit with Maths and Science.
  • We have consistently excellent results and students benefit from very supportive teachers.
  • The department has two well equipped computer labs with modern software and 3D printers.

Current Entry Requirements

  • A/B in Maths and English.
  • An A/B in Computing/Computer Science at GCSE is desirable.
  • A summer programming assignment must be completed and submitted before the course begins in September.

Course Structure

Computing Principals

  • This covers the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture including software and software development, data types, data structures and algorithms, legal, moral, ethical and cultural issues
  • Weighting: 40% of A-Level
  • Externally marked question paper, 140 marks, 2hr 30 mins

Algorithms and Programming

  • Questions concerning computational thinking: Programming and problem solving, Pattern recognition, abstraction and decomposition, Algorithm design and efficiency
  • Weighting: 40% of A-Level
  • Externally marked question paper, 140 marks, 2hr 30 mins

Programming Project

  • We select a user-driven problem of an appropriate size and complexity to solve. Students will need to analyse the problem, design a solution, implement it and give a thorough evaluation.
  • Weighting: 20% of A-Level
  • Internally assessed, externally moderated, 70 marks