Computer Science

If you have any further enquiries, please email Mrs Susan Batt, Head of Computing, at batts@salesiancollege.com

What does the study of Computer Science involve?

Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. The course is geared towards developing students’ understanding and ability to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including: abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation. It will also enable students to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including writing algorithms and programs using a high level computer language such as Python. Students will also develop the capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.

Why at Salesian College?

Studying Computer Science at the College will expose students to a wide range of learning opportunities; this is due to the degree of freedom that the smaller teaching groups allow. Teaching is carried out in a friendly, supportive and relaxed atmosphere designed to make the student feel at ease and although the normal pressures are there, they are minimised in order to produce the highest performance.

What does the course involve?

AS LEVEL
The content of the AS Level in Computer Science is divided into two components: Computing principles contains the majority of the content of the specification providing students with a greater understanding of how computers work. This component will introduce the internal workings of the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the exchange of data and will also look at software development, data types along with the legal and ethical challenges of Computer Science in the modern world. It is expected that students will apply some of the knowledge gained in this component when studying computational thinking and developing programming techniques. Algorithms and problem solving relates principally to problem solving and extending students’ programming skills. Students would be expected to apply the knowledge and understanding gained in the Computing principles component.

A LEVEL
The A Level Computer Science course will build on the knowledge and understanding gained in the AS level course. The course will broaden students’ knowledge in the following key areas:

  • Emphasis on problem solving using computers
  • Emphasis on computer programming and algorithms
  • Emphasis on the mathematical skills used to express computational laws and processes, e.g. Boolean algebra/logic and comparison of the complexity of algorithms

The AS course is assessed by means of examination (one paper for each component) and the A Level courses is assessed by by exam, with each unit worth 40%, and a practical programming project worth 20%.

Skills required

Very good mathematical, logical, computational and analytical skills are highly desirable in order to study, and be successful in, understanding how computer systems work. The ability to write and run computer programs using any high level language will be a great advantage.

What the Computer Science Department offers in teaching and resources

The department has very well equipped IT Suites and uses modern online resources for teaching. The department consists of two full time teachers who support students both in lessons and during extra-curricular Computer Science clubs. Both Mrs Batt and Mr Sansome have extensive industry experience and have taught Computer Science to all levels from Year 7 to A Level for many years.

What is expected from Computer Science students?

Computer Science, like all other A Level subjects, demands that the same amount of time be spent studying outside of the classroom as inside it. Moreover, Computer Science is not a subject that can be confined to textbook learning only; the successful student will be prepared to do at least 2 - 3 hours research on theory and practical elements each week. This must include experimentation and development of programming skills and the theoretical principles that underpin them.

What can an A Level in Computer Science lead to?

Successful candidates will find themselves equipped to study most subjects at university.

Career choices include:

  • Software applications developer
  • Artificial Intelligence program developer
  • Business intelligence analyst
  • Network systems administrator
  • Web developer
  • Computer programmer and systems analyst and many more career opportunities