Computer science

A-level Computer Science provides an excellent foundation for understanding and working with complex computer systems. Computer science is an essential part of some of the most rapidly developing industries. When you hear about advances in fields such as communication, renewables, artificial intelligence and games, there are computer scientists working behind the scenes making it all possible.

This course will give you a broad yet deep understanding of computer science, allowing you to delve even deeper into the specific areas that interest you. You will learn about how components within computer systems work and how computer systems communicate with each other. You will also learn about some of the mathematical principles that allow computer systems to operate including data types, data structures and Boolean algebra. As well as, how to program using different languages and paradigms, from using HTML, CSS, SQL and JavaScript for use in web applications to coding object orientated and procedural Python.

Towards the end of Year 12 you will start a substantial programming project based on your area of interest. Possible topics include computer games, mobile apps, complex simulations and web-based data handling systems. You will follow formal development methods and produce your product along with an in-depth report.

Awarding body - OCR

Minimum course entry requirements - GCSE at Grade 5 or above in both maths and English.

Assessment - At the end of Year 13 there will be two written assessments. As well as an individual programming project. Each examination contributes 40% of the overall course grade and the programming project contributes the remaining 20%.

Year 12 Topics taught


- The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices (Structure and function of the processor, types of processor, input, output and storage)

- Software and software development (systems software, application generation, software development, types of programming language)

- Exchanging data (compression, encryption, databases, networks, web technologies)

- Data types, data structures and algorithms (data types, data structures, Boolean algebra)

- Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues (computing-related legislation, moral and ethical issues)

Year 13  

- Elements of computational thinking (thinking abstractly, thinking ahead, thinking procedurally, thinking logically, thinking concurrently)

- Problem-solving and programming (programming techniques, computational methods)

- Algorithms

- NEA Programming project