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Computer Science

Overview

The course develops a student’s understanding of the main areas of computer science. 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 that is used initially is Visual Basic, other languages such as C#, Haskell, Python and F# will be looked at.

Course Outline

This is a two year A Level course which consists of 14 units. These units are:

  1. Fundamentals of programming
  2. Fundamentals of data structures
  3. Fundamentals of algorithms
  4. Theory of computation
  5. Fundamentals of data representation
  6. Fundamentals of computer systems
  7. Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  8. Consequences of uses of computing
  9. Fundamentals of communication and networking
  10. Fundamentals of databases
  11. Big Data
  12. Fundamentals of functional programming
  13. Systematic approach to problem solving
  14. Non-exam assessment – the computing practical project

Assessment

Non-exam assessment (20%) – This assesses student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve or investigate a practical problem.

Examination (80%) – Paper 1(40%) is an on screen exam lasting 2 hours 30 minutes and tests a student's ability to program, as well as their theoretical knowledge of computer science from subject content 10 – 13 above and the skills required from section 22 above. Part of the paper is based on a skeleton program which is issued before the exam.

Paper 2 (40%) is a written exam lasting 2 hours 30 minutes and tests a student's ability to answer questions from subject content 14 – 21 above.

Examining Board

AQA

Special Entry Requirements

None although a good grade (B or above) at GCSE Maths would be advisable. If GCSE Computer Science was taken then a minimum of a grade B is advised. A Level maths is also very beneficial.

Career Opportunities

This A Level leads on to further study of Computer Science as well as many of the related subjects at university. It is also a good foundation for a lot of other careers, there are a huge range of opportunities within the computing industry and many others who are looking for programmers or systems analysts. The subject will also prove beneficial for following a career in science, maths or engineering.

Teaching Methods

Each fortnight you will be timetabled 8 hours in Year 12 and 10 hours in Year 13. These are used as follows:

  • Year 12 4 hours and Year 13 6 hours approximately will be spent on the theory.
  • The rest of the time will be spent on developing your practical programming and in Year 13 completing the NEA.

In Computer Science there is a need for regular independent programming to develop your skills fully, as with learning any language the more you use it the better you become. Support will be given outside of timetabled lessons at the regular support sessions that the department runs.

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 (www.saatchionline.com/shtc)