For students wishing to take the subject beyond GCSE Level, the school offers a full A-Level course in Computer Science.
The A-Level course expands upon the knowedge gained at GCSE level, and introduces System Architecture, Assembly Language and Binary Arithmetic. The course also gives students an introduction to the features of various generations/levels of Programming Languages. A lot of emphasis is placed upon practical skills in Year 12 and, in Year 13, the coursework assignment comprises an entire module.
You’ll sit an on-screen exam with written theory questions about programming and programming tasks, followed by a longer written paper both at the end of your second year, by which time you’ll have plenty to write about. Your ongoing handson coursework will be assessed and the marks added together. The topics you study are based on things that are happening in the real world. You get to develop a computing solution to a real life-size problem as well as getting to grips with really useful programming topics.
In the A-Level coursework assignment students are required to produce a data-driven software package to solve a real-life 'problem'. Less emphasis is placed upon identifying a problem at this stage. Students are required to seek out a real-life problem of their own, often drawing on outside interests or links with real businesses. It is up to the students to produce a computerized solution. Students are required to pay attention to User Interface Design, System Testing and System Maintenance considerations, and typically develop their software using a suitable, High Level Programming Language, such as Java, Microsoft VB.NET, C#, Python or PHP. Documentation is extremely important throughout the whole process, as students must provide evidence of the technical skills they have employed in a written report that will be assessed by their teacher, and must reference the appropriate development stages of their solution.
A theory paper constitutes 40% of the final marks, the practical on-screen task constitutes 40% with the coursework awarding the final 20%.
Due to the rigorous nature of this subject, students wanting to take Computer Science at A Level MUST have earned either an 8 or 9 in a Computer Science GCSE or a 9 in a Computer Science I-GCSE. No exceptions will be made.