Computer Science A Level

A Level Computer Science

Apply your creativity, innovation and analytical skills to tackle complexity with clear thinking. Computer science enables you to find organisation in a disorganised world, by applying order to tough real-world challenges. You will explore logic, algorithmic thinking, abstraction of thought and how to make a problem ‘computable’ in this engaging qualification – as well as developing your coding skills, which are rapidly becoming a core skill for many careers.

Why St Mary’s

In Sixth Form you will have access to two dedicated IT suites, equipped with all the software you need. You will also have your own digital device, with full access to a range of carefully curated online resources selected to support your studies.

As you build your problem-solving ability, you will combine structure, clarity and creativity to develop a vital, highly-transferrable skill-set, that employers are actively seeking. Throughout your studies, you will have regular access to bespoke support and constructive feedback from teachers.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • Competitions
  • Workshops

Enabling your transition from GCSE

As you move from GCSE to A Level, we cover many of the same key concepts, but in a much richer, considered way, with more emphasis on thinking analytically and applying your knowledge thoughtfully to different real-world scenarios.

Our small class sizes are vital to making this transition, as you will have plenty of access to individual support from our dedicated teachers, who are committed to providing regular, specific and constructive feedback throughout the course.

Course overview

A Level content

  • Computer systems – Develop your understanding of the components of a computer and their uses; types of software and methodologies used to develop them; how data is exchanged; how data is represented and stored and the use of algorithms; and the law and ethical issues that can arise.
  • Algorithms and programming – By exploring computational thinking you will look at how computers solve problems and how programs can be written. You will study standard algorithms and use algorithms and programming to describe and solve problems.
  • Programming project – You will select your own user-driven problem, through which you will gain an understanding of definition, investigation and analysis, software design, development and testing, documentation, evaluation and how to produce written reports.

AS Level content

  • Computing principles – You will look at the characteristics of computer systems architecture; software and software development; the presentation, structure and management of data, how data is transmitted and networked, the characteristics of information systems, including databases and the implications of computer use.
  • Algorithms and problem solving – You will learn about designing solutions to particular problems, computational thinking, how procedural programs are structured, types of data and data structures, common facilities of procedural languages, how to write maintainable programs and how to test and run solutions.

Assessment

A Level assessment

  • Computer systems: You will be assessed by a 2 hour 30 minutes written examination, comprising a mix of short-answer and longer-answer questions. (40% of the total marks)
  • Algorithms and programming: You will be assessed by a 2 hour 30 minutes written examination, comprising a mix of short-answer and longer-answer questions and a scenario/task involving problem solving. (40% of the total marks)
  • Non-examined assessment: Internally assessed and externally moderated Programming project. (20% of the total marks)

AS Level assessment

  • Computing principles: You will be assessed in a 1 hour 15 minutes written examination, comprising a mix of short-answer and longer-answer questions. (50% of the total marks)
  • Algorithms and problem solving: You will be assessed in a 1 hour 15 minutes written examination, comprising a mix of short-answer and longer-answer questions and a short scenario/task involving problem solving. (50% of the total marks)

Visit our Sixth Form

At a glance
You will enjoy this course if you...
  • Like analysing information
  • Have a problem-solving approach
  • Think logically and critically
  • Are creative and innovative
  • Have an enquiring mind
  • Can apply mathematical skills

What our teachers say...

“Computer science is a fascinating and useful academic discipline in its own right. Plus, programming (or coding) is increasingly and rightly regarded as a core skill for all young people, regardless of their chosen vocation.”

“To me programming is more than an important practical art. It is also a gigantic undertaking in the foundations of knowledge.” Grace Hopper, Computer Programming Pioneer

Computer science sits at the heart of a multitude of environmental, medical, commercial, scientific, social and other enterprises that are seeking to build a better world. It equips young people with the skill-set they need to innovate, in order to move society forward.  

Computer science is one of the most employable skill-sets available to young people, both in the UK and internationally and the current skills gap in computing shows no sign of sign of shrinking.

Studying computer science also complements other disciplines such as engineering and the sciences, both at A Level, university and beyond. Many of our A-level students go on to study computer science at degree level, or STEM courses in the UK’s most prestigious universities.

Leaver destinations

Our students pursue exciting futures.

Read more

Our results

Achieve the results you need to fulfil your dreams.

Read more