All students throughout First and Second Year (Years 7 and 8) study Computing for one lesson weekly (approx. 50 minutes). In the Third Year, students are able to select three out of the six subjects that the College offer that could be broadly described as the Arts and Technologies. GCSE Computer Science is offered as an option, and can lead on to A Level Computer Science.
In the Fourth Year (Year 10), students can opt for GCSE Computer Science, following the OCR J276 specification (www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse-computer-science-j276-from-2016/). The aim of the course is for students to:
- understand and apply the fundamental principles, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation
- analyse problems through practical programming and projects
- think creatively, logically and critically
- understand the components of digital systems and how they communicate
- understand the impacts of digital technology
- apply the relevant mathematical skills.
During the GCSE course students study practical programming tasks, as well as how to design and interpret algorithms, backing this up with Computing theory. A practical Non Exam Assessment forms 20% of the course. Here, students design a real-life system, following the project from design and testing through to completion. An example of a previous project is where students developed an automated speed check and number plate recognition system for vehicles.
A Level Computer Science continues to deepen students' understanding, through study of the OCR H446 Computer Science qualification (www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-computer-science-h046-h446-from-2015/). Two components cover Computer Systems and Algorithms and Programming, whilst the third component is the Non Exam Assessment. This is a substantial, individually-led programming project that gives students the freedom to develop a system of their choice. This project must solve a real-life problem and include a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the transformation of data.