Computer Science AS & A Level at St Brendan's Sixth Form College
This course aims to develop your ability to solve problems and to know when they are solved or not.
Expressing yourself precisely and thinking algorithms through carefully are qualities that are encouraged and will have lasting value. The specification has no overlap with the ICT course. No prior knowledge of Computing and ICT is required but a summer task must be completed and submitted before Enrolment. The course has an emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem-solving, programming skills, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning and scientific engineering based thinking. It has been designed to suit students wishing to continue on to either HE Computer Science or related degrees or to employment in areas where knowledge of computing would be beneficial.
The course is taught by well qualified and experienced staff. Teaching methods include exposition, discussions and allow plenty of time to develop practical skills in both packages and programming. Current programming languages taught include Java, Haskell and SQL. Students also have opportunities to take STEM projects including participation in a robotics club. Students are expected to do a substantial amount of both practical and theory work outside the classroom. First Year study
- Paper 1 Theory of computation. Fundamentals of programming, data structures and algorithms. A 1 hour 30 minute on-screen exam based on seen and unseen material with a range of programming tasks. Worth 50% of the year 1.
- Paper 2 Fundamentals of data representation, computer systems, organisation and architecture, communication and networking. Software development and consequences of uses of computing. A 1 hour 30 minute written exam worth 50% of year 1.
Second Year Study
- Paper 1 Theory of computation. Fundamentals of programming, data structures and algorithms. A 2 hour 30 minute on-screen exam based on seen and unseen material with a range of programming tasks. Worth 40% of the A-level
- Paper 2 Fundamentals of data representation, functional programming, computer systems, organisation and architecture, communication and networking. Big data and consequences of uses of computing. A 2 hour 30 minute written exam worth 40% of the A-level.
- Non-exam assessment Individual programming project of the candidates own choice worth 20% of the A level
- A minimum of 5 GCSE’s at Grades A*-C or at point 4-9 (including English Language). Level 2 vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC/OCR) must be a merit grade or above and will count as 1 GCSE equivalent.
- GCSE Maths and English at grade B/ point 6 or above.
- A task will be assigned which must be completed over the summer before enrolment on the course.
Internal assessment will take place in June of the first year. External assessment will be taken in June of the second year.
Students are charged for printing and there are also costs incurred privately in buying textbooks and memory sticks to back up project work if desired. A trip to Bletchley Park is planned and currently the cost for this is £35.
Appropriate textbooks are available and need to be purchased for the course. Study guides are prepared for learning practical skills and are available on the college virtual learning environment (Moodle). The College has several Computer Suites each containing over 20 PCs networked to the main College system where students can log in and still access their files on the student server. Remote access via the Internet is also available. A selection of microcontrollers and associated kits are available for those interested and for possible use in A-level or EPQ projects.
A level Computer Science is accepted as an appropriate qualification for entry to many degree courses and gives a very good start to students wishing to take Computer Science at degree level. It is also well thought of by employers for students wanting to go straight into employment.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Brendan's Sixth Form College directly.