Accessibility links

Computer Science A-Level at John Port School

Course description

The course is not about learning to use tools or just training in a programming language. Instead the emphasis is on computational thinking. Computational thinking is a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines. Thinking computationally is an important life skill. Thinking computationally means using abstraction and decomposition. The study of computation is about what can be computed and how to compute it. This course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem-solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for understanding these future challenges.

Course content

The subject content listed below will be covered and assessed as shown above:

  • 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

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirement for this course is that you have studied the AQA AS Computer Science course, and if taken, have achieved at least a grade E. If embarking on this course for two years from the beginning of year 12, in addition to the general entry requirement for the Sixth Form it is advisable that you have a clear interest in computing and have been exposed to the basics of programming; this may be via a suitable GCSE course or other methods. This is a course that will require you to use computing concepts that need clear analytical skills, as well as the resilience to stick on tasks. A grade B or equivalent in an ICT/Computer Science level 2 qualification (individuals without a relevant qualification will be looked at on an individual bases based on interest and level of understanding), grade B in Maths.

Assessment

AS

Paper 1 On-screen exam: 1 hour 30 minutes 50% of AS

  • This paper tests your ability to program, as well as your theoretical knowledge of Computer Science.

Paper 2 Written exam: 1 hours 30 minutes 50% of AS

  • This paper tests your ability to answer questions from course content.

A2

Paper 1 On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes. 40% of A-level.

  • This paper tests a your ability to program, as well as your theoretical knowledge of Computer Science.

Paper 2 Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes. 40% of A-level.

  • This paper tests your ability to answer questions from course content.

Non-exam assessment (Coursework) 75 marks. 20% of A-level.

  • The non-exam assessment assesses your ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve or investigate a practical problem. You will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving.

Future opportunities

Students predominantly have used the AS course as a stepping stone for their A2 in Computer Science, some have used it as an additional AS, sometimes taken in Year 13. The qualification has led to students entering into full time employment directly related to Computing concepts in the course. Research by e-Skills UK has shown over half a million new entrants will be needed to fill jobs in this sector over the next five years, hence computing and ICT professionals are in demand.

Many of the students continue with a Computer Science related degree with some entering computing type apprenticeships. Computer Science professionals are in high demand and current research shows a major shortage in this field.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact John Port School directly.

Last updated date: 21 September 2016

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 years

Venues