Computer Science

Awarding Body

OCR

Course Level

GCSE

Qualifications worth

1 GCSE (Grades 1-9)

What is the Course?

Technology permeates every part of our society. Everything from mobile phones to banks, and theme parks to education, relies on the power of computing. All students need to be prepared for a world dominated by digital technology and GCSE Computer Science is an opportunity for some to study a demanding, yet rewarding, course to help prepare them for life in a digital world.

Computer Science will give you an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and a look at what goes on 'behind the scenes'. It’s a great way to develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills, which can be transferred to further learning and everyday life.

What will I learn?

The course can be divided up into sections as detailed below:

Computer Programming - Lots of the course will be spent learning computer programming. Through the study of this discipline, the course will help you develop computational thinking skills. You will learn the complex underpinning theory to programming and, for those for whom logic and problem-solving come naturally; it will be a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects (especially mathematics and science).

Academic Theory - It is a fact that information technologies continue to have a growing importance and the theoretical knowledge to support your learning will include:
Developing an understanding of current and emerging technologies, understanding of how they work and applying this knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts
Using your knowledge and understanding of computer technology to become independent and discerning users of IT, able to make informed decisions
Evaluating the effectiveness of computer programs/solutions and the impact of, and issues related to, the use of computer technology in society

Computational Thinking

It is vital that students get to grips with the underpinning logic that is so important to the study of computer science.

You will need to:
acquire and apply a knowledge of technical skills
show an understanding of the use of algorithms in computer programs to solve problems using programming
gain and apply creative and technical skills, knowledge and understanding of IT in a range of contexts
develop computer programs to solve problems

How will I be assessed?

Controlled Assessment (now known as Non-Examined Assessment): Likely completion date – by Autumn of Year 11

On 23rd January 2019 Ofqual (the qualifications regulator) announced that "programming skills for GCSE Computer Science will be assessed exclusively by exam in the future". 

Written Examination: Summer of Year 11

Please note: There is also a mandatory programming project to be completed. This is most likely to be done in Year 10 but must be completed by Easter of Year 11. OCR are continually reviewing the role that the programming project will play in the future. 

Additional Information

Important Note: All Computer Science GCSEs are relatively new courses and, with this is in mind, the precise structure of the course is still under review. There is a large amount of programming in the course which requires a good level of logic and problem-solving ability. With this in mind, we would like to offer the course to those students who are currently working at a Grade 3 (on the new grading system) or above in Maths. If students are interested in pursuing a more familiar course in Information Technology, it is certainly worth considering the alternative Cambridge National in Creative iMedia which has run for a number of years across the country and adopts a more creative, user-focused, approach to the subject.

ALSO IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT IN THE INTERESTS OF STUDENTS KEEPING THEIR CURRICULUM AS BROAD AS POSSIBLE, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO STUDY BOTH THE CAMBRIDGE NATIONAL AND THE GCSE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE TOGETHER
What will this qualification allow me to do?

Computing skills are amongst the most highly-desired by employers. There is a national shortage of people with both the technical understanding and the practical skills across many sectors of industry. Having a background in this subject will set up young people well for any career or courses they pursue throughout their life.

Students who have taken a Computer Science GCSE and then progress to take similar subjects at A Level, in a job or at university will have a sound underpinning knowledge of this area. All employers will expect students to have a good capability in Information Technology but to have studied the subject at an academic level will help demonstrate to any employer or education provider, that you are well-versed in a range of skills and capabilities that equip you for the digital world.

Useful links & Publications

http://http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/

www.ocr.org.uk