GCSE Computer Science
In Years 7-9, all pupils are taught the same course, following the National Curriculum. Pupils are allocated a dedicated computing lessons. The computer science components we teach are outlined below.
Year 7 will study key concepts of Computer Science building on from the ks2 curriculum, they will look at Semaphores, online safety and programming essentials. Building upon key skills, Year 8 will study Python Programming, computer systems and data representation. They will learn the key concepts and components of computational thinking skills. During Year 9 pupils study computational thinking and Python, Media Graphics, Representations: going audio visual, Cyber Security and E-safety.
Computer science Intent
Pupils will learn how to adapt from being an end-user of computer systems, to someone who is able to create those same systems by developing their computational thinking skills.
In Year 10 and 11 pupils opt to follow the AQA Computer Science course which aims to get students working with real world programming and provides a good understanding of the key concepts of computing. The Computer Science course introduces students to the theoretical and practical elements of computer science, combining mathematical understanding with individual creativity of problem solving. Through puzzles and projects, students are taught how to decompose a problem and develop their own solution using Python programming language. This specification allows students to delve into the details of modern computational systems while exploring the effects of computing technology on the world. Computer science complements maths because it teaches logical thinking and can help to solve maths problems. Computational thinking can be useful in arts and humanities. The skill of critical thinking can be useful in analysing historical, philosophical and critical arguments.
Pupils are assessed in the following areas:
Paper 1 – Computational thinking and programming skills exam – 2 hours – 90 marks – 50% of GCSE – Written exam
Computational thinking, code tracing, problem-solving, programming concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing and refining of code.
A mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing programming, practical problem-solving and computational thinking skills.
Topics covered in Paper 1:
- Algorithms - Computational thinking, Searching and sorting algorithms
- Programming - Data types, Programming concepts and robust/secure, Arithmetic and Boolean operators, Data structures, String handling, Random numbers, Subroutines/ Procedures.
Paper 2 – Computing concept – 1 hour 45 minutes – 90 marks – 50% of GCSE – Written exam
This exam is theory based and will cover more in-depth questions around computer science.
A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing SQL programming skills and theoretical knowledge.
Topics covered in Paper 2:
- Data Representation – Numbers bases, units, arithmetic, character encoding, representing sound and images, data compression.
- Computer Systems – Boolean logic, software classification, programming languages, system architecture.
- Computer Networks – Types, Topologies, Protocols, Layers, Security.
- Cyber security – Threats, Risks, Social engineering, Malware, methods to prevent.
- Relational databases and structured query language (SQL) – relational and structured query.
- Ethics, legal and environmental - Digital technology in wider society, issues of privacy.