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Highdown School
and Sixth Form Centre

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Computer Science is not about learning to use tools or just training in a programming language (though you will do both).  Instead the emphasis is on computational thinking which is a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines.  Computer Science involves questions that have the potential to change how we view the world e.g. we may be computing with DNA in the future, with computer circuits made of genes.  This leads to the question, does the natural world compute?

Awarding Organisation: AQA

Reformed/Linear A-Level:  Yes

More information: Mr D Stephenson


Entry Requirements

GCSE Grade 5+ in Mathematics and Grade 5+ in Computing (if studied), plus the standard Sixth Form entry requirements.



Year 12
  • Problem solving and Boolean logic
  • Programming and data representation
  • Machine level architecture
  • The stored program concept
  • The structure of the internet
Year 13
  • Finite state and turing machines
  • Comparison of algorithmic complexity
  • What you cannot compute and why
  • Programming paradims and concepts
  • Relational database design and implementation (SQL, DDL, Normalisation)
  • Complex networking theory
  • Operating Systems



Students sit three examinations worth 80% at the end of Year 13. 

Thesis like research project into a computing topic or the development of a programmed solution for a real world client worth 20%.


Post 18 Opportunities

This course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for those who wish to go on to higher education courses or employment where knowledge of computing would be beneficial.  You can study computing and go onto a career in medicine, law, business, politics or any type of science.


Destinations of students in the last two years:

  • Cardiff University – Computer Science
  • Newcastle University - Computer Science
  • Nottingham University – Computing Science with Artificial Intelligence
  • Oxford University - Physics
  • Reading University – Cybernetics



Students are required to purchase text books but we will provide all the software needed for the course.