A Level Computer Science
- Six GCSEs 9-4 (or A*-C),Two from English, Maths OR Science
- Two at least grade 6 (or B)
- GCSE Maths (higher tier) grade 9-6
- It is useful to have taken Computer Science at GCSE, but not essential
What is Computer Science?
A Level Computer Science focuses on the fundamental concepts of computer a architecture and the developments of software. The theory component of the course investigates topics such as hardware, networking, algorithms, data structures and computational mathematics. The coursework component is weighted at 20% and students are required to undertake an in depth programming project to solve a realistic problem. If you want to learn about computer programming and enjoy solving problems, you will find this subject interesting.
What Will I Be Studying?
Computational thinking – developing the understanding, ability to analyse and to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science including; abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation.
Component 1 (40%): Computer Fundamentals
Component 2 (40%): Algorithms and Programming
Component 3 (20%): Coursework
You will develop analytical and problem solving skills in addition to; analysis, design, software development, documentation, testing and evaluation of a system leading to a solution to the given problem.
Many of our students go on to university or degree apprenticeships in engineering, computer science and software engineering.
SHOULD I STUDY COMPUTER SCIENCE OR IT?
Computer Science focuses on how computers work, it is more technical and mathematical. The practical work involves learning the theory of programming and how to write code. ICT focuses on how computers are used and their impact on the world. The practical work is based on using existing software such as database management systems or graphic packages. At Loreto, one department teaches Computing and ICT, and the staff work closely together. We are always very happy to discuss your choice of A-level with you one-to-one and will help you decide which course is for you! Contact us via the website.
WHAT MAKES LORETO’S COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT UNIQUE?
- We annually participate in the Hack Manchester Junior.
- Our state of the art computing suites provide great opportunities for your development.
- We have tailor made resources for the delivery of the course, with excellent support from the staff and through the intranet.
- Our staff has a range of expertise, rooted in industry as well as in education.
- Many A Level Computer Science students have gone on to study at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.
- Enthusiastic and committed staff with a range of experience in education and industry.
- Excellent computer suites.
- Access to computers in the study centres outside of lesson time.
- Resources available on myLoreto.
- Mentoring programme to support students and help develop their skill base.
Are there exams or coursework?
Both. At the end of this 2 year A Level course there are 2 Exams of
2.5 hours each making up a total of 80% of the marks for the grade.
20% of the marks for the grade will come from a thoroughly written
up program that the student will choose and create themselves.
What is the difference between Computer Science and IT?
IT is mostly understanding what computers are and how they are
used as well as how to use some existing software.
In Computer Science you gain a range of detailed and scientific,
technical knowledge of hardware, web sites, networking,
algorithms, computational thinking and programming skills,
amongst other topics.
Is Computer Science hard?
All Level 3 courses are harder than GCSEs and has a need for high
level of Mathematical skill and to develop the coding skills needed.
We are highly experienced teachers who will support you fully.
Do I need to be good at Maths?
We require at least a grade 6 in GCSE mathematics. A large part of
the Computer Science course uses algorithms which is underpinned
by a substantial set of mathematical knowledge and skills.
Most universities place Maths A level as the first requirement when
applying for a Computer Science degree.
Do I need to do A Level Maths too?
No. You are not required to also do A level Mathematics alongside
this course, however, if you wish to pursue Computer science to
degree level and beyond then it is highly recommended that you
do. Most good universities place Maths A level as the first
requirement when applying for a Computer Science degree.
Do I need to have done GCSE Computer Science?
No. It is obviously an advantage if you have done the GCSE and
done well at it, but it is not essential so long as you have an interest
in Computer Science, have a suitably logical and inquisitive mind
and are willing to put in the work and effort needed.
What if I need extra help? Will there be homework?
Yes. The department has ‘drop-ins’ and more formally timetabled
support sessions. The way the course is planned and delivered,
builds skills for students to flourish. We set homework at least once
a week to help your develop your skills and succeed.
Do I need a computer at home?
Yes, you will need access to a computer outside of College to
complete homework and continue set tasks. We have excellent
facilities at the College in our library and study centres to get the
work completed, but ultimately you will need access to a PC type
computer. If you do not have access to a computer at home, you
can discuss this with a member of the department when you enrol
at Loreto. An Apple computer will be only partially useful as all our
work, documents, programming language, etc. are based around
Some students prefer to work on a laptop and use this in class in
addition to our facilities.
What equipment will I be provided with?
The Computer Science department will provide you with the use of
a PC in lessons, a lever-arch folder for storing your work, printed
booklets containing the lesson notes, an exercise book to make
your own notes in, online resources for recording your tasks done as
well as online versions of all printed materials.
Will I need a text book?
No. We do not require that you purchase a textbook. We have
books to use in lessons and you are, of course free to purchase your
own copy from elsewhere if you wish.
Will I get to build a computer?
No. This course does cover the various bits of hardware inside the
computer in detail, but it does not include any practical computer
How long are lessons?
Throughout college lessons are all 1hr - 1hr 15 mins long. In each
subject you will be taught for 4 of these lessons totalling 4.5 hours
per week. These are normally taught in “doubles” with breaks
between although some groups will get a double and 2 singles.
Do you run any extracurricular activities?
Yes. We run the ‘Coding Club’ as a timetabled and after college
activity that people can attend, even if they don’t take the
computer science course. The aim of the sessions is to make the
coding more enjoyable and to try things that are outside of the
courses more rigid curriculum. These can include building robots
and learning to control them through code.
We have also had groups of students enter ‘hack-a-thons’ which
are company sponsored competitions where groups of students try
to create solutions to the problems given them on the day.
Through these activities, several of our students have been talent
spotted by the corporate sponsors and have even been offered jobs,
sponsorships and degree apprenticeships for when they finish their