All students throughout First, Second and Third Years (Years 7 to 9) study Computing for one lesson weekly (approx. 50 minutes). 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.