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Computing A Level at Westcliff High School for Boys

Course description

A Level Computing will encourage students to develop the capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.  They will develop an understanding of the organisation of computer systems, including software, hardware, data, communications and people.  They will gain the ability to apply skills, including programming, in a range of contexts to solve problems.  They will develop skills in project and time management, the capacity to see relationships between different aspects of the subject, and perceive their field of study in a broader perspective.  Finally they will gain an understanding of the consequences of using computers, including social, legal, ethical and other issues, an awareness of emerging technologies and an appreciation of their potential impact on society. It is excellent preparation for those students intending to pursue computer science or related disciplines at degree level, or for anyone considering any kind of career in computing.

Course content

The Advanced Subsidiary Curriculum: Unit 1: Computer Fundamentals (90 minute examination). 50%

Candidates gain an appreciation of computing fundamentals, including hardware, software, the presentation, structure and management of data, how data is transmitted and networked, the life cycle of systems development, the characteristics of information systems, and the implications of computer use.

Unit 2: Programming Techniques and Logical Methods (90 minute examination). 50%

Candidates gain an appreciation of designing solutions to particular problems, how procedural programs are structured, the types of data and data structures, the common facilities of procedural languages, how to write maintainable programs, and how to test and run solutions.

The A2 Curriculum: Unit 3: Advanced Computing Theory (120 minute examination). 60%

Candidates understand the function of operating systems, the function and purpose of translators, how computer architectures are structured, how data is represented, how data is structured and manipulated, high level language programming paradigms, low level languages and how databases function.

Unit 5: Computing Project (Coursework). 40% 

The project is a substantial piece of work, requiring analysis and design over an extended period of time, which is organised, evaluated and presented in a report.

Candidates choose, in conjunction with their teacher, a well-defined user-driven problem of an appropriate size which enables them to demonstrate their skills in Analysis, Design, Software Development, Testing, Implementation, Documentation and Evaluation, and their interrelation, and to give a completed overall system that solves the problem. 

Entry requirements

None, but see Additional Information above.


This is a challenging subject for students who have not undertaken any previous programming or computer science related studies. They must be prepared to commit significant time and effort to understanding and developing the necessary skills to write computer programs. It is recommended that only students with an aptitude for mathematics and other logic dependant disciplines apply.

Students will need the facility to write computer programs at home, using Visual Basic Express 2008-12.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Westcliff High School for Boys directly.

Last updated date: 09 June 2015

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