Accessibility links

Computer Science A Level at Bristol Free School

Course description

According to MIT “we are heading towards a period of exponential change and unprecedented technological development”. Oxford University research suggests that high-earning jobs in the white collar sector are five times more likely to be automated in the next 20 years. Two-thirds of the current generation of students will be employed in careers that do not exist yet. A high-quality computing education equips students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world.

Computational thinking is the essential skill for solving problems, designing systems and learning about human behaviour in the modern world. It might draw upon concepts rooted in Computer Science but to excel in today’s world it has to be a fundamental element in how we all think and work. Computing is perfect for anyone with an innate love of computers but is also highly desirable for any one aiming towards further studies or careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) subjects.

Course content

Computer Systems 1: Characteristics of contemporary systems architecture; software and software development; exchanging data; data types, representation and structures; legal, moral, ethical and cultural issues.

Computer Systems 2: The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices; Software and software development; exchanging data; data types, data structures and algorithms; legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues.

Algorithms and problem solving 1 and 2: Elements of computational thinking; problem-solving and programming; algorithms.

Programming project: Analysis of the problem; design of the solution; implementation of the solution; evaluation.

Entry requirements

Must include a grade 6 in Maths or B grade in Computing.


The course features a wide range of teaching and learning approaches including interactive classroom study, lectures and group tasks. There will be a focus on programming, which emphasises the importance of computational thinking as a discipline that will require significant independent and/or private study and research. By putting computational thinking at its core you will develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence.

There will be exciting opportunities to apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems such as Makers Movement, Arduinos, Robotics and Raspberry Pi.

Future opportunities

Computing is a core subject, welcomed by universities and employers. Whether you choose Computing, Engineering or a traditional science. You will find that computational thinking is a vital skill. It shows that you are capable of intense analytical thought that allows you to deconstruct problems before writing algorithmic solutions and finally evaluating your solution. It provides access to a wide and disparate range of degree courses.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bristol Free School directly.

Last updated date: 18 August 2017

Key information