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Computer Science A Level at Shirley High School Performing Arts College

Course description

Computer Science A Level promotes the integrated study of computer science. It will enable students to develop a broad range of skills in the areas of programming, system development, computer architecture, data, communication and applications.

Computers are widely used in all aspects of business, industry, government, education, leisure and the home. In this increasingly technological age, a study of computer science, and particularly how computers are used in the solution of a variety of problems, is not only valuable to students but also essential to the future well-being of the country.

Computer science integrates well with subjects across the curriculum. It demands both logical discipline and imaginative creativity in the selection and design of algorithms and the writing, testing and debugging of programs; it relies on an understanding of the rules of language at a fundamental level; it encourages an awareness of the management and organisation of computer systems; it extends the students’ horizons beyond the school or college environment in the appreciation of the effects of computer science on society and individuals. For these reasons, computer science is as relevant to a student studying arts subjects as it is to one studying science subjects.

Course content

The course will aim to encourage students to develop:

  • an understanding of, and the ability to apply, the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • the ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including writing programs to do so
  • the capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • the capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science
  • the ability to articulate the individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural opportunities and risks of digital technology

Entry requirements

When qualifying to study A level subjects we will accept a ‘5’ as the equivalent grade for the new GCSE 1-9 measure for English and Maths. Most A level courses require a ‘B’ which is the equivalent of a ‘6’. BTEC Level 2 qualifications will only be counted in place of one GCSE subject. This is because they are not considered to have the required breadth of study necessary for the demands of a varied combination of A level subjects.


Exam Board: EDUQAS

Component 1: Programming and System Development

  • Written Examination: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • 40% of qualification
  • This component investigates programs, data structures, algorithms, logic, programming methodologies and the impact of computer science on society

Component 2: Computer Architecture, Data, Communication and Applications

  • Written examination: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • 40% of qualification
  • This component investigates computer architecture, communication, data representation, organisation and structure of data, programs, algorithms and software applications

Component 3: Programmed Solution to a Problem

  • Non-exam assessment
  • 20% of qualification
  • The student investigates, designs, prototypes, refine and implements, tests and evaluates a computerised solution to a problem chosen by the candidate. It must be solved using original code (programming). This is a substantial piece of work, undertaken over an extended period of time.

Future opportunities

This course provides a suitable foundation for the study of Computer Science or a related area through a range of higher education courses, progression to the next level of vocational qualifications or employment. In addition, the specification provides a coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study for learners who do not progress to further study in this subject.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Shirley High School Performing Arts College directly.

Last updated date: 21 November 2017
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