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Computer Science

Why study Computer Science?

Computing and the field of Computer Science is one of the fastest moving, most exciting and challenging fields of human achievement that you will discover. This course is designed to introduce you to the principles of Computational Thinking and Software Engineering which will allow you the freedom to explore the possibilities of developing your own software at home and to prepare you for a career in the Digital Age.

A level Computer science is split into two complementary sections, programming and theory.  On the programming side of the course, students will learn the Python programming language.  You will cover  the fundamentals of programming, data structures, algorithms, and object-orientated programme design.

The theory side of computer science teaches about the internal workings of a computer, right down the basics of how all data is stored using binary, whether that data consists of numbers, text, pictures or even music.  It goes on from there to cover aspects of computer architecture, showing exactly how data is accessed from main memory using assembly language instructions and the fetch-execute cycle.

Extra-curricular aspects of the course

Computing students are encouraged to take part in taster days, competitions, and other trips and activities that are on offer. The Bebras Computing Challenge introduces computational thinking to students. We use a platform called ISACC Computer Science which provides booster sessions, discovery events, and masterclasses.  We also have a set of physical computers including the BBC Micro Bits and Robots and electronic sets that can be used to experiment with programming.


Entry Requirements

A GCSE Grade 6 is expected in Computer Science  Due to the amount of Mathematical skills in this course, it would be beneficial for students to have a Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics. 

Higher Education and Careers

A level Computer science is naturally a strong subject to take if you wish to go on to do computer science at degree level, and although most computing-based degree courses don't require Computer science A level there are a number of software engineering courses which do.  There are also other degree courses such as information technology and information systems which will be served well by a Computer science A level.

After university, there are numerous interesting fields of study and professions that you can go in to.  Computer science will lead on to robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, big data processing, networking, ethical hacking, computer game development, home automation or even teaching.  So much of the world uses computers nowadays that having a good understanding of how computers work and how to program them will set you up for success in many strands of life.

Equipment required for the course

Students will require an A4 lever arch folder, lined paper, plastic wallets, section dividers and stationary.



% of A-Level

Paper 1: this paper tests a student's ability to programme, as well as their theoretical knowledge of:

  • Fundamentals of programming
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Systematic approach to problem-solving
  • Theory of computation

On-screen Exam: 2 hours 30 minutes


Paper 2: A series of short-answer and extended-answer questions testing the theory of Computer Science

  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  • Consequences of uses of computing
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking

External written Exam: 2 hours 30



Non-exam assessment

Externally assessed 75 marks available, worth 20% of A Level

The project allows students to develop their practical skills in the context of solving a realistic problem or carrying out an investigation. The most important skill that should be assessed through the project is a student's ability to create a programmed solution to a problem or investigation. Students can choose to program in any language and use a variety of programming environments to develop their project.

For more information on this course please email 
Mrs S O’Brien