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Computing AS & A Level at Newcastle-under-Lyme College

Course description

The aim of the course is to offer full-time students the opportunity to gain a national qualification in Computing. It will enable learners to develop a broad range of skills in the areas of programming, system development, computer architecture, data, communication and applications.

The course includes a wide variety of learning experiences such as lectures, one to one tutorials, ICT based tasks, practical work, group work, discussions/debates, DVDs, and personal research when preparing for assessment

Course content

Unit 1: Fundamentals of Computer Science.
Topics include:
Hardware and communication, Logical operations, Data transmission, Data representation and data types, Data structures, Organisation of data, Database systems, The operating system, Algorithms and programs, Principles of programming, System analysis, Program construction.

Unit 2: Practical Programming to Solve Problems.
Topics include:
The need for different types of software systems and their attributes, Practical programming, Data security and integrity processes.

Economic, moral, legal, ethical and cultural issues relating to computer science.

Unit 3: Programming and System Development.
Topics include:
Data structures, Logical operations, Algorithms and programs, Principles of programming, System analysis, System design, Software engineering, Program construction.
Economic, moral, legal, ethical and cultural issues relating to computer science

Unit 4: Computer Architecture, Data, Communication and Applications.
Topics include:
Hardware and communication, Data transmission, Data representation and data types, organisation and structure of data, Databases and distributed systems, the operating system, the need for different types of software systems and their attributes, Data security and integrity processes.

Unit 5: Programmed Solution to a Problem
This unit requires the learners to investigate, design, prototype, implement, test and evaluate a computer solution to a substantial problem of their own choice. The learner’s chosen problem must provide sufficient scope for them to access the marks available for each section of the work.
Learners need to investigate their chosen problems in sufficient detail to identify how data is collected, processed and output currently. The current system may be either paper-based or electronic.
Following the identification of their problems, learners should prepare sufficient documentation to allow them to take part effectively in the discussion with their teachers and/or peers.
Topics covered include: Investigation, Design, Prototype, Software development, Testing and Evaluation (Notionally this task will require 72 guided learning hours, which includes teaching time.)

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirement for A Level study is 3 grade Cs and 2 Bs including maths and English at GCSE. A new grade scale is in operation for maths and English which is numerical. The equivalent to a B grade will be a 6 and the equivalent to a C grade will be 5 for entry requirement purposes. For Computing this needs to include a grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics


Assessment is comprised of examinations, both written papers and an on-line practical skills assessment at the end of two years’ study plus a non-exam assessment which is a programmed Solution to a Problem, worth 20% of the total marks.

Financial information

Newcastle Maintenance Allowance (NMA): Anyone with a household income under £21,000 can receive £20 per week financial support to help pay for travel and meals and meet the costs of essential trips, books, stationery and equipment. The payments will be subject to full attendance on your course. A range of other financial support is available, depending on your personal circumstances.

Future opportunities

When you have gained your A Level in Computing you can use it to progress into Higher Education. There are a wide range of undergraduate degrees available in computing both locally and further afield. Computing can be combined with many other subjects. Employers are interested in both the technical and the non-technical skills gained during your computer science/IT degree. See where these multiple skills can lead you…

Games developer
Information systems manager
IT consultant
Systems analyst

Systems developer
Database administrator
Multimedia programmer
Business analyst
Hardware engineer
Software engineer
Network engineer

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
IT sales professional
Technical author

IT trainer
Secondary school teacher
Geographical information systems officer

Further information

Studying Computing provides an excellent general qualification for many careers. You will be able to use it to progress to Higher Education

How do I find out more?
If you wish to find out more you can contact Lesley Kelly/Steph Tague, Head of Computing at NULC using the following details. Email: or
Tel: 01782 715111

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Newcastle-under-Lyme College directly.

Last updated date: 16 November 2016
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