GCSE Computing

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General Aims of OCR GCSE Computing

This course will give pupils a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works.  It will give them an insight into the “behind the scenes” aspect of computing, including programming.

It will also develop critical thinking, analysis and problem solving skills.

Course Content

Computer Systems and Programming

The theory behind computers; this unit covers:

  • Computer systems & hardware
  • Software
  • Data representation
  • Databases
  • Networks
  • Programming

Practical Investigation

Following a task provided by the exam board, students will get hands-on experience of a particular aspect of computing.  This could be assembler code using the Little Man Computer or javascript programming in HTML web pages.  Students will have to investigate and extend the given task.

Programming Project

Students will learn different standard programming techniques including variables, operators, basic string manipulation etc.  Following a task provided by the exam board students will solve problems by creating code.  We use Python as our programming language in school.

Assessment Methods

Computer Systems and programming

1 hour 30 minutes written paper sat at the end of the course.

Worth 40% of the total.

Practical Investigation

Controlled assessment

Students carry out a practical investigation of a topic chosen from a set of options supplied by OCR.

20 hours (approx.)

Worth 30% of the total.

Programming Project

Controlled assessment

Students create solutions to computing tasks chosen from a set of options supplied by OCR.

20 hours (approx.)

Worth 30% of the total.

Preparation in KS3

Aspects of the Key Stage 3 ICT curriculum are being changed to include more programming skills.  Students can download a number of free applications to try out at home, all of which will help develop their skills, and help them decide whether they really have an interest in computing:


Scratch devised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to teach children programming skills.
Kodu (not available for Mac) – created by Microsoft for similar reasons – create games to run either using a keyboard and mouse or an Xbox controller.  
Codeacademy an online tutorial in Javascript and HTML / CSS.  
Python portable version of the Python development environment – can be installed on a USB drive  Python

Career Prospects

Having programming and other technical computer skills will open up many career opportunities for students across a wide variety of industries.  All industry sectors need people with programming skills to create applications for them.  In particular the video games industry needs more people with programming skills to create the next generation of games in this lucrative industry.  As more people depend on their Smartphones on a day to day basis, creating apps for these phones is also likely to be a big growth area requiring programming skills.

Requirements and Restrictions

Students must be good at maths and have a strong logical mind to do this course.  We accept any student on the course, regardless of ability as this is an A* to G qualification. However if students struggle with maths, they will almost certainly get a lower grade in Computing than in another option subject.

OCR GCSE Computing website

Contact Miss Bunce or Mrs Davey for more details – or complete the form below.

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