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Computer Science

Computer programming is an increasingly important component of many walks of life, whether you want to create databases, games or simulations for example. In addition, many of the science disciplines are turning to, and rely upon, programming as a facilitating tool.

This course offers the chance the develop a broad range of programming skills along with Computer Science theory such as hardware, networks and program construction techniques.

COURSE STRUCTURE

During the first year of the course you will be introduced to programming concepts and ideas: this will involve an intensive start as we learn the basic building blocks of computer programs. You will learn about variables, ‘if’ statements and loops which can be combined to solve almost any problem. We will mostly be using VB.NET to develop these skills. This computer language was developed to aid the learning of code but has now developed into one of the most used and powerful languages. You will use these skills to develop a new computer program built to a specification which will allow you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills along with showing creativity.

You will also be introduced to the technical side of computer hardware and learn about how each component works and why it is necessary. This will lead onto learning about networks and development of computer systems in a business. Finally we look at the industry practices around developing programs and the legal and ethical aspects of using computers.

In the second year we look at the more advanced features of coding complex algorithms including different data structures and searching and sorting techniques. We look at various other computer programming languages such as JAVA, HTML and Artificial Intelligence (AI). With these skills you will be able to develop a very complex program. Your coursework will involve finding a need for a computer system and building a program to suit. This will test everything that you have learned so far and the product that you will create will be highly professional.

We also look at the more complex features of Computer Science such as binary mathematics; program construction and an in depth look how hardware functions. 5381 Sixth Form Prospectus July 2015 AW.indd 24 15/09/2015 15:41

ASSESSMENT COMPOSITION

A level (with AQA)
PAPER 1
On screen exam – 40%
Working from material pre-released by the board you will fix, amend and extend the code provided.

PAPER 2
Written exam – 40%
You will answer both short and long answer questions in this written exam.

Coursework – 20%
You will use the knowledge and skills you have gained through the course to solve a
practical problem. We are currently reviewing the entry requirements for this course.

WHY STUDY COMPUTING?

85% of Science and Maths-related undergraduate courses now contain at least one module of computer programming.
This skill is vital to simulation and problemsolving in various disciplines without which you are limited in what can be developed.
Many of the technological advances do not come out of a laboratory but come from a computer simulation which has to be custom programmed. By learning to program at this stage you are giving yourself a head start in a world where programming is increasingly vital and sought after.

PROGRESSION OPPORTUNITIES

Computer programming is one of the highest in-demand careers at the moment; with a lack of qualified people, there is a predicted shortfall in the UK of an estimated 1 million unfilled vacancies by 2015. The skills students develop as part of the course form an excellent basis for progression to University and life beyond. Students are encouraged to think creatively, analytically, logically and critically and to apply their coding knowledge, skills and understanding to a wide range of contexts in order to solve problems.