The Computer Science GCSE is a practical course in which you are encouraged to develop problem solving skills which can be applied to a range of different tasks. Within the course there is the opportunity to use physical computing resources such as the BBC micro:bit and the Raspberry Pi.
Component 1 – Computer Systems (Paper 1)
Introduces the CPU, memory, and storage, alongside concepts linked to data representation within the computer. Network concepts and network topologies are covered, as well as considering issues linked to systems security.
This component also looks at the ethical, legal, cultural, and environmental concerns associated with computer science, from the use of AI within day-to-day hardware, to the environmental impact of technological product disposal.
Component 2 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming
Within this component computational thinking skills are developed such as the use of algorithms and the application of logic to problems. Within this component you will also develop programming techniques using Python, and refine strategies used to create robust systems.
During the course there will be the opportunity to develop mini programming projects, to refine skills linked to designing, developing, and testing programs, which will then be assessed within Component 2.
The A Level course splits into 3 learning sections:
- Computer Fundamentals
- Programming Techniques and Logical Methods
- Programming Project
Computer Science is a two-year course which focuses on nurturing confidence and competence in the practical use of computer-based systems to develop solutions for real-world problems. Students will develop solutions using computer languages, including Python and C#.
Within the programming side of the course one aspect covered is the use of the Raspberry Pi to complete practical projects. The Raspberry Pi will be provided for your use for these sessions and will instil computational thinking skills such as logical thinking, problem solving and problem decomposition. You will further develop your computational thinking skills, looking at the application of Boolean logic and the development of robust algorithms.
Alongside programming you would also be studying a range of Computer System’s topics including System Architecture, Computer Networks, Network Security, as well as the Ethical, Legal, Cultural and Environmental impacts of Digital Technology.
How is Computer Science Assessed?
Paper 1 (written) – Computer Systems: 2 hours 30 minutes – 40% of grade
Paper 2 (written) - Algorithms and Programming: 2 hours 30 minutes – 40% of grade
Programming project (coursework): 20% of grade
No previous computing experience is required for this course. You do not need to have studied GCSE Computer Science. It is much more important to be a logical thinker and to enjoy solving puzzles and problems. This subject requires good numeracy, and a logical and analytical approach to solving problems. Students need to write a substantial report documenting their coursework, for which a reasonable standard of written English is required. It is strongly recommended that you take A-Level Mathematics if you wish to study Computer Science at university.