The course develops a student’s understanding of the main areas of computing. This subject is creative and the course allows students to explore this side of the subject through practical programming. The course also covers the use of computational thinking to solve problems. The language used is Visual Basic although there are alternative languages that are looked at throughout the course

Course Outline

This is a two year GCSE course which consists of 3 units. A451 – Computer systems and programming. This is the theory unit covering:

  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Computing hardware
  • Software
  • Representation of data in computer systems
  • Databases
  • Computer communications and networking
  • Programming

A452 – Practical investigation. This unit is a task set by OCR where the student investigates an area of computing in more depth. They are required to carry out individual research to find the solutions to a series of tasks and questions.

A453 – Practical project. This unit is where students apply the theory that they have learnt about programming and solve a set of tasks set by the OCR.


A451 – Written paper lasting 1 hour 30 minutes worth 40%.

A452 – Controlled assessment of approximately 20 hours worth 30%.

A453 – Controlled assessment of approximately 20 hours worth 30%.

Examining Board


Career Opportunities

The course leads on to further study of computer science or IT and provides a good foundation for solving problems. It links well with any of the science subjects or maths.

Teaching Methods

Each fortnight there are 5 hours of lessons. You will spend approximately 2 hours covering the theory and the remainder developing your programming skills. There will be a pause in the theory lessons in Year 10 while the first piece of controlled assessment is completed. Then in Year 11 you will complete the remaining piece of controlled assessment as well as the remainder of the theory.

The theory section is covered in a printed booklet that students complete over the 2 years while we use a series of challenges in the programming to develop the skills there.

There are regular support session that the student can make use of if extra support is required.

Other information

While it is not essential to have a computer at home it is a huge advantage. There is plenty of access within college but you will need to be prepared to stay later in order to complete everything that will be required.

How is the course graded


How to succeed in GCSE Art

Successful students need be imaginative, creative and positive. Students must be organised and prepared to work hard in their own time. Patience and peristence are key virtues, as is the ability to take criticism positively. Successful students need to be open, expressive and committed.

Skill Requirements

GCSE students are encouraged to work over an extended period of time on the development of their projects. This process is broken down into easily understood targets by the Art teacher and requires a mature and independent approach from the student in order to be successful.

Students should always have a set of personal targets to complete – these targets are likely to be detailed on the student’s Progress Log and found on the task lists in their sketchbook.

How can you help?

Ask your son/daughter about their artwork and their ideas. Take them to galleries and to places where they can gather photographs for their work. Provide them with materials and tools, and try to sort out a space in the house for them to study. Finally, ask to see their Progress Logs – it’s all there!

Extra-curricular Support

The Art Department opens its doors daily to students to come and work at break, lunchtime and after school on Tuesdays & Thursdays. We regularly arrange Saturday Workshops, sometimes inviting specialist artists to deliver a master class. There are many other opportunities to be involved more in Art such as mural painting, Rock Challenge set design and Saatchi Online (