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Computer Science A Level at Harris Academy Purley

Course description

This course is designed to help students who wish to go on to Higher Education courses or employment where problem solving and a logical approach will be a valuable asset.

Amongst many benefits, the course is designed to encourage students to:

  • Work co-operatively to solve problems
  • Develop personal learning and thinking skills
  • Provide quality computer program solutions
  • Develop an awareness of developments in technology
  • Understand how computers work at a low level

Course content

Paper 1

The first unit tests the student's ability to program, as well as their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science from fundamentals of programming, data structures, algorithms and the theory of computation.

Paper 2

The second unit tests the student’s ability to answer questions on the fundamentals of data representation, computer systems, computer organisation and architecture, communication and networking, databases, consequences of using computers, functional programming, “big data”, and a systematic approach to problem solving.

Entry requirements

Students require a grade 6 or above in Maths GCSE and Physics/Science GCSE and a grade 5 in English Language GCSE.  Students also require a grade 6 in Computer Science GCSE. A passion for Computer Programming and problem solving is essential.


Exam Board: AQA

Non-Exam Assessment

A Level students are assessed on their ability to use the knowledge and skills gained throughout the course to solve a practical problem following a systematic approach to problem solving.


Students sit examinations in their A Level courses at the end of Year 13. All students will take internal end of year examinations at the end of year 12 to determine suitability to continue with the subject in Year 13. Students who do not meet the required pass grade in the Year 12 end of year examinations will not be permitted to progress into Year 13.

Paper 1 is a computer based examination lasting 2 hours 30 minutes and is worth 40% of the total A Level mark. There are a number of short answer questions followed by coding problems based on pre-release material made available in September of Year 13.  All questions are compulsory.  It is externally marked.

Paper 2 is a written examination lasting 2 hours 30 minutes and is worth 40% of the total A Level mark.  It comprises short and extended-answer questions.  All questions are compulsory.  It is externally marked.

For the non-exam assessment, candidates must produce a practical project.  The report will be internally marked and externally moderated.  It is worth 20% of the total A Level mark.

Future opportunities

A Level Computer Science gives access to Higher Education/degree courses in Computer Science, Software Engineering and related subjects as well as being recognised as an excellent starting point for a career in many areas of Computing, Science and Business.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Harris Academy Purley directly.

Last updated date: 06 November 2017
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