Key Stage 4

KS4 GCSE Computer Science (9-1)

This GCSE gives students an excellent opportunity to investigate how computers work and how they are used to develop computer programming and problem-solving skills.  Students will do some in-depth research and practical work.

The course will:

  • Give learners a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works
  • Provide excellent preparation for higher study and employment in Computer Science
  • Develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills

Students will:

  • Develop their understanding of current and emerging technologies, understanding of how they work and apply this knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts
  • Acquire and apply a knowledge, some technical skills and an understanding of the use of algorithms in computer programs to solve problems using programming
  • Use their knowledge and understanding of computer technology to become independent and discerning users of IT, able to make informed decisions about the use and be aware of the implications of different technologies
  • Acquire and apply creative and technical skills, knowledge and understanding of IT in a range of contexts
  • Develop computer programs to solve problems
  • Develop the skills to work collaboratively
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of computer programs/solutions and the impact of and issues related to the use of computer technology in society

How is the course organised?

The course consists of 3 units of work which are assessed by two written papers and one non-exam assessment.

Component 01 – Computer Systems (Written Paper—40% of total GCSE)

  • Systems Architecture
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Wired and wireless networks
  • Network topologies, protocols and layers
  • System security
  • System software
  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

Component 02 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming (Written Paper—40% of total GCSE)

  • Algorithms
  • Programming techniques
  • Producing robust programs
  • Computational logic
  • Translators and facilities of languages
  • Data representation

Component 03 – Programming Project (Non-Exam Assessment—20 % of total GCSE)

The programming project will require students to design, code and test a solution to three tasks using a suitable programming language.


All Year 10 pupils will be studying the Level 2 Certificate in Digital Applications (CiDA).

CiDA is a GCSE equivalent qualification that focusses on practical and creative IT skills. The course is composed of two units of work.

Unit 1 is a mandatory Web Design unit which all students do. This focusses on the skills needed to design and create a web site for a specific client, following a brief. Pupils learn how to use Serif Webplus – web design package used in industry – as well as image editing software to create web content. The unit is assessed in an on-screen examination in January and June of Year 11.

The other unit is on Artwork and Imaging. This unit aims to give pupils the skills to use the tools and techniques provided by artwork and imaging software to design and create effective graphic products for specified purposes and audiences. They will investigate a range of graphic products to find out how images are used to convey a particular message. They will discover that they like some of these products more than others and will need to consider why this is the case. Once pupils have a good understanding of the possibilities offered by artwork and imaging, they will learn how to produce images that communicate effectively onscreen and in print and how to combine them with other components to produce graphic products. They will need to consider the medium, purpose and audience as well as file format and size. Pupils will demonstrate their ability to create effective images and graphic products through their work on a major project set by the exam board. This will include exhibiting work and supporting evidence in an e-portfolio.

Students in ICT are continually assessed in lessons. The digital nature of the on-screen work means that teachers are able to easily see what a student is doing and give them on-going feedback as they progress through the tasks in a unit of work. Additionally, students are assessed on the work they have done at the end of each sub-unit and given feedback on their successes and how they can further improve. Assessment for the qualification itself is in two parts: Unit 1 (Web Authoring) makes up 25% of the award and is assessed in a single 2.5 hour on-screen examination in Year 11. Unit 3 (Artwork and Imaging) making up the remaining 75% of the award as a coursework unit, internally assessed and externally moderated.

All Year 11 pupils will be studying the European Computer Driving Licence. It is an internationally recognised qualification offered by British Computing Society.

How is the course organised:

  • Word Processing (Microsoft Word) – 45 minutes – Online Test – Pass Mark 75%
  • Presentation (Microsoft PowerPoint) – 45 minutes – Online Test – Pass Mark 75%
  • Spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel) – 45 minutes – Online Test – Pass Mark 75%
  • Improving Productivity – 1 hour – Online Test – Pass Mark 55%

Overall Grades:

  • Distinction* – 85%
  • Distinction – 80%
  • Merit – 75%
  • Pass – 70%
The Elton High School