Computer Science

Computer Science

Why choose Computer Science?

Have you ever wondered how the Web works or how to develop a computer game?

Have you ever wondered how the Web works? Or how anybody can start to develop something as complex as a new computer game? Computer Science is an exciting and challenging subject in which you will develop valuable skills in problem solving as well as learning how computers work. Many of our students go on to higher education courses in computer science but you will gain skills and knowledge which will prove useful in a wide range of other courses and careers, particularly in maths, science and engineering. The new A level course is even more strongly focussed on problem solving and programming. You will learn how to analyse problems, design algorithms and write programs. Most students have no previous experience of programming and we assume none. We provide excellent support in the form of online resources and one-to-one help. However, we also provide adequate challenge for the increasing number of students who have taken a GCSE in Computing or Computer Science.

“I had previous programming experience, but because the course has focussed on some of the more theoretical aspects of the subject I’ve had great fun exploring topics that I would have never come across in my own time.”

Course Outline

Year 12

Topics include the fundamentals of:
  • Programming
  • Data Structures: arrays, records and files
  • Finite State Machines
  • Data Representation: numbers, characters, sounds and graphics
  • Computer Systems: languages, translators, Boolean algebra, logic gates
  • Computer Organisation and Architecture: the processor, assembly, language
  • Communications and Networking
  • Encryption
  • Consequences of Uses of Computing

Assessment (AS level)
Paper 1 On-screen exam, including practical programming - 1.5 hours 50%
Paper 2 Written exam - 1.5 hours 50%

Year 13

Topics include:
Advanced Programming techniques, including:
  • Object-oriented Programming
  • Recursion
  • Data structures: lists, stacks, queues, trees, hash tables
  • Fundamentals of Functional Programming
Advanced Theory of Computation:
  • Regular expressions
  • Algorithm Complexity
  • Turing Machines

The Internet: protocols, security

Database Design and SQL

Assessment (A level)
Paper 1 On-screen exam including practical programming - 2.5 hours 40%
Paper 2 Written exam - 2.5 hours 40%
Non-exam assessment: software development project on topic of student's choice - 20%

Entry Requirements

GCSE grade B in Mathematics and GCSE grade B in Computing or Computer Science, if taken

Awarding Body

AQA