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A Level Computer Science

Advances in computing are transforming the way we work and our new Computer Science and Technical IT specifications are changing with the times. A Level Computer Science prepares Askean learners with high level skills students need to progress to higher education or thrive in the workplace. The Cambridge Technicals IT qualification was designed through consultation with employers and higher education providers, as it offers opportunities to develop the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to progress in both education and the workplace.

AQA A LEVEL Computer Science (7517)

The A Level Computer Science qualification enables students to develop their problem solving skills, exercise their creativity and explore their interests. This specification is being delivered at Hatcham College to expose students to an engaging approach to moral, ethical, legal and cultural opportunities as well as opportunities to explore and engage with the changing technology scene: scaling issues, Cloud services, Big Data, cheap programmable devices such as the Raspberry Pi.

This provides an academically challenging specification for students of all ability levels. Creating the next generation of computer scientists will ensure that Askean learners become leaders in an industry growing in demand every day.

This qualification is linear meaning that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the two year course.

Subject content

  • Fundamentals of programming 
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Fundamentals of algorithms 
  • Theory of computation
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  • Consequences of uses of computing - Individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural issues and Opportunities
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking
  • Fundamentals of databases
  • Big Data
  • Fundamentals of functional programming
  • Systematic approach to problem solving
  • Non-exam assessment - the computing practical project
Paper 1 Paper 2
What's assessed How it's assessed What's assessed How it's assessed
This paper tests a student's ability to program, as well as their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science from subject content 1-4 above and the skills required from section 13 above.

✔   On-screen exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

✔   40% of A Level

This paper tests a student's ability to answer questions from subject content 5-12 above.

✔   Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

✔   40% of A Level

 OCR Cambridge Technical IT Level 3 Extended Certificate in ICT (05839)

The Cambridge Technicals are vocational qualifications specifically chosen for Askean Learners who want to develop the behaviours, attitudes and skills required for employment, entrepreneurship and work in the community as a whole. They’re designed with the workplace in mind and provide a high-quality alternative to the A Level. This specification is being delivered at Hatcham College to expose students to the skills and knowledge required in specialist pathways in IT Infrastructure Technician, Emerging Digital Technology Practitioner, Application Developer, and Data Analyst.

The course is assessed using a combination of: external assessment, which is set and marked by the exam board and internal assessment, where the teacher assesses the learners’ work and the exam board externally moderate. Students study three units in Year 12 and three further units in Year 13.

Year 12 Subject content

Unit 1 Fundamentals of IT

A sound understanding of IT technologies and practices is essential for IT professionals. Information learnt in this unit will create a solid foundation in the fundamentals of hardware, networks, software, the ethical use of computers and how businesses use IT.

After completing this unit, the knowledge, skills and understanding the students have developed will underpin their study for the additional units.

Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare students for relevant industry qualifications such as CompTIA A+, CompTIA Mobility+ and Cisco IT Essentials.

 Unit 2 Global Information – Externally Assessed Examination

The purpose of this unit is to demonstrate the uses of information in the public domain, globally, in the cloud and across the Internet, by individuals and organisations. Students will discover that good management of both data and information is essential and that it can give any organisation a competitive edge.

This unit will provide students with a greater understanding of how organisations use information sources both internally and externally and the types of information they will encounter. The skills gained by completing this unit will give them knowledge of the functionality of information and how data is stored and processed by organisations. They will also learn about how individuals use information of various types.

This unit will help students to understand the legislation and regulation governing information which flows in to and out of an organisation and the constraints and limitations that apply to it. They’ll also learn the relationship between data and Information. Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare students for relevant industry qualifications such as VM Ware.

 Unit 3 Cyber Security – Externally Assessed Examination

The need for secure digital systems is more crucial than ever before. We rely on computerised systems and networks to collect, process, store and transfer vast amounts of data and to control critical systems such as water and power supplies.

Business and e-commerce can be undertaken twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and telecommunications enable us to keep in touch with family and friends and collaborate with colleagues at any time. Mobile devices offer us freedom and flexibility of where and how we learn and work. However, for all the advantages that these systems offer us, some people have found ways to exploit them and this poses a threat to our safety and security in the real world, as much as in the cyber world. To deal with this problem, the cyber security industry is expanding at a rapid rate.

This unit has been designed to enable students to gain knowledge and understanding of the range of threats, vulnerabilities and risks that impact on both individuals and organisations. They will learn about the solutions that can be used to prevent or deal with cyber security incidents resulting from these challenges. Students will be able to apply their knowledge and understanding of cyber security issues and solutions by reviewing and making recommendations for ways to best protect digital systems and information.

Learning within this unit will also support the delivery of the Cisco Cyber Security and CompTIA A+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Mobility+ qualifications. The unit also makes reference to UK government cyber security initiatives, for example, the UK government’s UK Cyber Security Strategy, Cyber Essentials Scheme, 10 Steps Strategy, and Cyber Streetwise.


Year 13 Subject content

Unit 8 Project Management - Coursework: Internally assessed and externally moderated

This unit will provide students with the opportunity to understand and use various project planning skills and techniques, thereby enabling them to become more effective in the workplace.

The key to any project being a success is the planning and management that takes place. Project management skills are essential transferable skills that can be used for all projects whether it’s traditional methodologies or more recently adopted agile approaches within the IT development environment. These skills can be adapted and used even on the smallest ‘tasks’ during the planning and implementation stages.

Regardless of your job role, you will often be called upon to participate in projects for a wide variety of reasons, consequentially this unit is optional within all four pathways. This unit will assist your students in developing your skills, knowledge and understanding of different project methodologies and the key factors that can influence the success or failure of a project.

Knowledge gained in the study of this unit will also help prepare students for relevant industry qualifications such as CompTIA Project+.

Unit 9 Product Development - Coursework: Internally assessed and externally moderated

The purpose of this unit is to prepare students to undertake product development activities. They will learn about different product design methodologies and the role of the product development life cycle. In addition, they’ll discover the factors that influence product developments.

The key to any product development being a success is the analysis, client review, design, testing and final acceptance that takes place. The skills that students will learn can be applied to the development of any product, large or small. They will use product development skills and work through the product development life cycle.

It is recommended that your students develop a product alongside the other units they are studying so that they can explore the units holistically as a wider project. This will align to their chosen pathway and support progression into their chosen field within the IT industry.

Whether you are building a network, developing a website, developing a system for data analytics or creating an Augmented or Virtual Reality resource, they are all products. It is therefore important that your students understand the processes required for the development of products and that they can apply them to a variety of situations. Consequently, this unit is optional within all four specialist pathways.


A Level Computer Science