Shrewsbury School

Sixth Form Computer Science A Level

The following information is taken from our document 'The Sixth Form and Beyond', which is updated each December. It can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Computer Science is an intellectually challenging course. It is a creative, practical subject where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to implement working solutions. Students will develop their ‘computational thinking’, learn the skills to reason, analyse and solve problems. We will study a variety of programming techniques, different languages and data structures that all go into the software developer’s toolbox.

As well as understanding what happens inside the box and what travels down the wires, we look at some of the wider aspects of computing such as legal, moral, ethical and cultural issues. Students will endeavour to understand the power and the limits of human and machine intelligence.

In the second year of study there is an extended project that follows the entire process of identifying, specifying and implementing a solution for a client.  Students are given the freedom to choose their client in an area that matches their own particular interests. The project approach is a vital component of ‘post-school’ life and is of particular relevance to Higher Education and the workplace. 

OCR A Level Computer Science course structure:

A similar structure to the GCSE*, but this course takes each topic to a higher level. It is excellent preparation to further study at University.

Computer systems (01)
  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software development
  • Exchanging data
  • Networking and web technologies
  • Data types and data structures
  • Boolean algebra and hardware
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues

140 marks

2 hours 30 minutes written paper

40% of total A level

Algorithms and programming (02)
  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Problem-solving and programming
  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms
140 marks
2 hours 30 minutes written paper
40% of A Level
Programming project (03)
Students choose a computing problem to work through according to the guidance in the specification.
  • Analysis of the problem
  • Design of the solution
  • Developing the solution
  • Evaluation


70 marks

non-exam assessment

20% of total A Level

* NB: No prior GCSE knowledge of Computer Science is assumed, although it is desirable. Students are expected to have a strong interest in technology and possess competent ICT skills. An aptitude for mathematics and/or previous programming experience is also an advantage.

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