Computer Science

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.

— Albert Einstein

Computer Science is an engaging and practical subject that encourages creativity and problem solving skills. It enables pupils to develop their understanding and application of the core concepts in computing. Pupils will learn how to analyse problems in computational terms and devise creative solutions by designing, writing, testing and evaluating programs.

Our A Level will expand pupil’s technical understanding and their ability to analyse and solve problems using computational thinking. Classroom learning is transferred into creating real-world systems through the creation of an independent programming project.

 

YEAR 7-9 CURRICULUM OUTLINE

All pupils are required to study Computer Science at Key Stage 3. At Key Stage 3, students will learn about e-safety, computational thinking and coding using user-friendly packages such as Scratch and how to use flowcharts to make real-life computer simulations work. They will learn to program in Python, giving them a foundation for GCSE controlled assessment. They will also learn about the theoretical aspects of computing as an introduction to Component 1 - Computer Systems in their KS4 studies.

GCSE CURRICULUM OUTLINE

GCSE OCR Computer Science

What will pupils be studying?

The content has been designed not only to allow for a solid basis of understanding Computer Science elements but to engage learners and get them thinking about real world applications.

Computer scientists have an almost unparalleled opportunity to pursue careers in science, computing and mathematics, with the skills that the increasingly systems-driven world is crying out for. Computer scientists are in great demand – recent research suggests that computing has the greatest potential employment demand over the next few years. Pupils with qualifications at GCSE and A Level are highly in demand by UK universities.

OCR’s GCSE (9–1) in Computer Science will encourage learners to:

  • Understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation.
  • Analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs.
  • Think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
  • Understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.
  • Understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society.
  • Apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science.

Component 1: 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.

Component 2: Computer Systems
• Algorithms *
• Programming techniques
• Producing robust programs
• Computational logic
• Translators and facilities of languages
• Data representation.

Component 3: Programming Project
• Programming techniques
• Analysis
• Design
• Development
• Testing and evaluation and conclusions

How will pupils be assessed?

Component 1: Computer systems (01) 80 marks (no calculators allowed). 1 hour and 30 minutes worth 50% of total GCSE grade

Component 2: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming (02*) 80 marks (no calculators allowed). 1 hour and 30 minutes worth 50% of total GCSE Grade

Component 3: Formal requirement to complete a programming project that consolidates the learning across the specification through practical activity. 20 timetabled hours

* Algorithm questions are not exclusive to Component 02 and can be assessed in either component.

A LEVEL CURRICULUM OUTLINE

A-Level OCR Computer Science

What will pupils be studying?

The OCR A-Level in Computer Science will encourage learners to be inspired, motivated and challenged by following a broad, coherent, practical, satisfying and worthwhile course of study.
It will provide insight into, and experience of how computer science works, stimulating learners’ curiosity and encouraging them to engage with computer science in their everyday lives and to make informed choices about further study or career choices.

The key features of this specification encourage:
• Emphasis on problem solving using computers
• Emphasis on computer programming and algorithms
• Emphasis on the mathematical skills used to express computational laws and processes, e.g. Boolean algebra/logic and comparison of the complexity of algorithms
• Less emphasis on ICT.
 

Learners have the opportunity to:
• Produce a slimmed down programming project which is more refined and more focussed on coding.
• Choose the project title and problem to be solved.
• Choose any suitable programming language.
• Include agile methods.

Having A-level Computer Science is highly regarded when you venture into employment or to university. Having an A-level computing qualification opens you up to a world of possibility, with so many avenues and sectors you can get into. Computing at A-level will prepare you for one of the many courses available at university including  Computing, software engineering, business, systems management and webpage development, amongst others.

As computers are such an integral part of the workplace in contemporary society, people will A-level computing skills are in an extremely high demand. Amongst the many career possibilities that are available to you with A-level computing include computing, analysis, computer programming, animation and many more.

Component 1: Computer Systems
• Characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
• Software and software development
• Exchanging data
• Data types, data structures and algorithms
• Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues

Component 2: Algorithms
• Elements of computational thinking
• Problem solving and programming
• Algorithms

Component 3: Programming Project
• Programming techniques
• Analysis
• Design
• Development
• Testing and evaluation and conclusions

How will pupils be assessed?

Component 1: Computer systems (01) 140 marks (no calculators allowed). 2 hours and 30 minutes worth 40% of total A-level grade.

Component 2: Algorithms and programming (02*) 140 marks (no calculators allowed). 2 hours and 30 minutes worth 40% of total A-level grade.

Component 3: Programming project that consolidates the learning across the specification through practical activity. 80 hours programming (70 marks) non-exam assessment.

* Algorithm questions are not exclusive to Component 02 and can be assessed in either component.

ENRICHMENT OPPORTUNITIES/FIELD TRIPS

The department will be exploring opportunities beyond the classroom to give further exposure to our pupils such as a visit to The National Museum of Computing.

The National Museum of Computing, located on Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.

The museum runs a highly successful learning programme for schools and colleges and promotes introductions to computer coding amongst young people, especially females, to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.

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