Computer Science


AQA Computer Science

This is an exciting opportunity for students using one of their option choices to achieve a GCSE in the ever evolving field of computer science. This qualification will introduce you to the theory behind the architecture of a modern computer, a range of programming techniques using the Python programming language, and how computers handle data and communicate with each other.

In January 2013, the government announced that GCSE computing will count as a science option in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) for secondary school league tables from 2014 (published in January 2015).

Units for the GCSE Qualification

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.

Subject content

1. Fundamentals of algorithms
2. Programming
3. Fundamentals of data representation
4. Computer systems
5. Fundamentals of computer networks
6. Fundamentals of cyber security
7. Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
8. Aspects of software development
9. Non-exam assessment

Assessment Method

Paper 1: Computational Thinking and Problem-solving

What is assessed?

Computational thinking, problem-solving, code tracing and applied computing, as well as theoretical knowledge of computer science from subject content 1 – 4 above.

How it is assessed

  • Written exam set in practically based scenarios: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 50% of GCSE
  • Questions
  • A mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing a student’s practical problem-solving and computational thinking skills. 

Paper 2: Written Assessment

What is assessed?

Theoretical knowledge from subject content 3 – 7 above.

How it is assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 50% of GCSE
  • Questions
  • A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing a student’s theoretical knowledge. 

Non-exam Assessment

What is assessed?

The Non-exam Assessment (NEA) assesses a student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical programming problem. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem-solving, consistent with the skills described in Section 8 of the subject content above.

How it is assessed

  • Report: totalling 20 hours of work
  • A required practical
  • Tasks : The development of a computer program along with the computer programming code itself which has been designed, written and tested by a student to solve a problem. Students will produce an original report outlining this development.

What can I do with this Qualification?

Students gaining GCSE computing will have access to a range of further education opportunities. The options open to you depend on the results achieved and your own interests.  You may wish to study an Advanced GCE in computing. However, if you wish to continue studying ICT in a vocational context, you may consider a Level 3 BTEC in IT at 6th form.  From there you can continue your studies in higher education by following a relevant degree course or a BTEC Higher National.

There are a large variety of higher education courses that are based around computing, communications and IT.

For further information see

Mr M Dunn

January 2020
Computing Year 7 KS3 assessment criteria
Computing Year 8 KS3 assessment criteria