Computing

Key Stage 4

Students can follow 2 potential pathways at Key Stage 4. These are GCSE computer science and Digital Information Technology (DIT). To use a car analogy to explain this, then DIT is like driving the car. It gives you the skills you will find useful for the rest of your life and will help you be more confident whenever you come to use a computer. In comparison, Computer Science is like learning to be a mechanic. It gives you the ability to understand what is happening "under the bonnet" and be able to diagnose and fix many problems you might be having. Not everyone needs or wants to know how a car works in order to drive it - just like many students do not care how the computer works, but are more interested in what they can do with the computer instead.

Why study computer science?

The digital age needs computer scientists, computer scientists design, develop and apply software and hardware for programmes that we use day in, day out.

A good computer scientist has the ability to think logically and enjoys problem solving. Good maths skills help especially with the binary and hexadecimal units but is not essential.

For GCSE Computer Science we follow the OCR exam board. This means that pupils will complete 2 exam papers in May/June series in Year 11. These papers are split in the following way:

Paper Length of Paper % of final grade Content
Paper 1 1hr 30mins 50% This component will assess:
  • 1.1 Systems architecture
  • 1.2 Memory and storage
  • 1.3 Computer networks, connections and protocols
  • 1.4 Network security
  • 1.5 Systems software
  • 1.6 Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impacts of digital technology
Paper 2 1hr 30mins 50% This component will assess:
  • 2.1 Algorithms
  • 2.2 Programming fundamentals
  • 2.3 Producing robust programs
  • 2.4 Boolean logic
  • 2.5 Programming languages and Integrated Development Environments

Throughout the course we try to include guest speakers from a range of different career sectors, as well as external trips. A particular highlight in previous years was a cyber security trip to the Police Training Centre which gave pupils a real insight on what cyber criminals might get up to and ways to catch them out, something we are keen to continue each year.

If you wish to find out more about the course please use these helpful links below:

Key Stage 5

Please view our Sixth Form Courses Booklet for more information about this subject in Sixth Form.

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