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Computing (OCR) at The North Halifax Grammar School

Course description

Computing – Examining Board – OCR

Why Study Computing?

Computer Science is the study of principles and practices that underpin an understanding and modelling of computation, and of their application in the development of computer systems. At its heart lies the notion of computational thinking: a mode of thought that goes well beyond software and hardware, and that provides a framework within which to reason about systems and problems. This mode of thinking is supported and complemented by a substantial body of theoretical and practical knowledge, and by a set of powerful techniques for analysing, modelling and solving problems. Computer Science is a practical subject, where invention and resourcefulness are encouraged. Pupils are expected to apply the academic principles they have learned to the understanding of real-world systems, and to the creation of purposeful artefacts. This combination of principles, practice, and invention makes it an extraordinarily useful and an intensely creative subject, suffused with excitement, both visceral (“it works!”) and intellectual (“that is so beautiful”).

Benefits of studying Computing

Computer Science is a discipline Education enhances pupils’ lives as well as their life skills. It prepares young people for a world that doesn’t yet exist, involving technologies that have not yet been invented, and that present technical and ethical challenges of which we are not yet aware. To do this, education aspires primarily to teach disciplines with long-term value, rather than skills with short-term usefulness, although the latter are certainly useful. A “discipline” is characterised by: • A body of knowledge, including widely-applicable ideas and concepts, and a theoretical framework into which these ideas and concepts fit. • A set of techniques and methods that may be applied in the solution of problems, and in the advancement of knowledge. • A way of thinking and working that provides a perspective on the world that is distinct from other disciplines. • Longevity: a discipline does not “date” quickly, although the subject advances. • Independence from specific technologies, especially those that have a short shelf-life. Computer Science is a STEM discipline Computer Science is a quintessential STEM discipline, sharing attributes with Engineering, Mathematics, Science, and Technology: • It has its own theoretical foundations and mathematical underpinnings, and involves the application of logic and reasoning. • It embraces a scientific approach to measurement and experiment. • It involves the design, construction, and testing of purposeful artefacts. • It requires understanding, appreciation, and application of a wide range of technologies. Source: http://www.computingatschool.org.uk

AS Level Units Content Overview • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices • Software and software development • Programming • Exchanging data • Data types, data structures and algorithms • Legal, moral, ethical and cultural issues • Elements of computational thinking • Problem solving and programming • Algorithms Assessment Overview Computing principles (01) 70 marks – 1 hour and 15 minutes written paper – 50% of total AS level Algorithms and problem solving (02*) 70 marks – 1 hour and 15 minutes – written paper – 50% of total AS level. A Level Units Content Overview • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices • Sofware and software development • Exchanging data • Data types, data structures and algorithms • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues • Elements of computational thinking • Problem solving and programming • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms The learner will choose a computing problem to work through according to the guidance in the specification. • Analysis of the problem • Design of the solution • Developing the solution • Evaluation Assessment Overview Computer systems (01) 140 marks – 2 hours and 30 minutes - written paper – 40% of total A level. Algorithms and programming (02*) 140 marks – 2 hours and 30 minutes – written paper – 40% of total A level. Programming project (03* or 04**) 70 marks – Non-exam assessment – 20% of total A level.

Summer Preparation Below are some tips to prepare for a great start in ICT and Computing at North Halifax Grammar School. • Read technology blogs, and magazines • Start to learn a programming language and stick with it. Concentrate on Android Studio which uses a variant of Java and XML. • Download Android Studio and complete their free beginner’s course run through Udacity. • Another programming language that will be useful is Python There are many resources online to learn this language: • Pythons own site has loads to download • Codecademy • 3schools • There are hundreds more, pick one and stick with it!

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The North Halifax Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 22 September 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September

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