Accessibility links

Computer Science A level at Hartismere School

Course description

The course focuses on the study of how computers are used to solve a range of problems. You will learn about different types of computer systems, how they work and how they communicate. You will investigate the parts that make-up a computer system including software, hardware and people and develop your own computer systems through programming. The course will also teach the importance of following a systematic methodology when creating a system to ensure it meets the requirements of the client and end-user. 

The course will enable you to:

·        develop your interest and enjoyment of using computer programming to solve problems

·        develop as a creative, analytical and logical thinker

·        develop a clear philosophy of the consequences of increased reliability on computers

·        understand the importance of analysis, design, testing and evaluation when developing a system

·        understand the organisation of computer systems, including software, hardware, data, communications and people


Course content

Unit 1          Computer Systems           

2 hour exam                                                      40% of A Level marks


In this unit we look in great detail at the characteristics of modern processors, the workings of input, output and storage devices and how they interact with the processor. We study a range of different systems software, the development process and different types of programming languages. You will understand how data moves through computers through topics such as compression, encryption, hashing, databases, networks and web technologies. You will have deep knowledge of the use of data types, data structures and Boolean algebra.


Unit 2          Algorithms and Programming           

2 hour exam                                                      40% of A Level marks


This topic is all about software development. The topics covered include:

·        Elements of computational thinking

·        Problem solving and programming

·        Algorithms


Unit 3         Programming Project                           

Coursework                                                      20% of A Level marks


This unit will require you to design and produce a working piece of software for a specific purpose and client of your choice. The project will follow the path of the agile development approach and will be handed in as a written report. This is a substantial project that will be presented as a report.


While working on the project, you will:

·        analyse the problem;

·        develop a thorough set of designs for the system;

·        implement the software using an appropriate programming language (Python, C#, C++, Java, Visual Basic, PHP or Delphi);

·        fully test the system to ensure it works as expected;

·        produce a detailed and thorough evaluation of the final system.




Time and work management is an important factor for this topic as it is mostly completed independently. You will be expected to work on the project outside of lesson time and complete your own research on how to solve problems.

Entry requirements

Grade B or above in GCSE Mathematics plus grade C or above in Science. You would benefit from having studied Computing or ICT at GCSE level but it is not essential. 


AS is short for Advanced Subsidiary.  This is a standalone qualification studied for one year.  All Hartismere students will sit AS exams so that they can have as much choice as possible about the subjects they continue with in year 13.  All work in year 12 is preparation for the full A level qualification which is taken at the end of year 13. Assessment in Computer Science is through a mix of coursework and exam. 

Future opportunities

The qualification is an ideal progression point to a wide range of further education courses and computing occupations. Areas of direct relevance include: Computer Science, Information Systems, Software Engineering, Computer Games Design, Forensic Computing and Computer Networking.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 23 September 2015
Provider logo

Key information

Contact details