Computer Science - KS4


Progress Leader: Mr R Birchall


GCSE Computer Science follows the processes practiced and discovered key skills in KS3 Computing. Students will develop their understanding of Cyber Security, Networks, Programming, Binary, Logic and Legislation linked to Computer Science through varied study techniques that utilise a range of online materials and resources with the aim of honing critical thinking skills.

GCSE Computer Science consists of two elements with Paper 1 focusing on Computer Systems and Paper 2 focusing on Computational thinking, algorithms and programming.


Students learn how to:

  • understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation;
  • analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs;
  • think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically;
  • understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems;
  • understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society;
  • apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science.

Practical Programming

All students must be given the opportunity to undertake a programming task(s), either to a specification or to solve a problem (or problems), during their course of study. Students may draw on some of the content in both components when engaged in Practical Programming.


Paper 1: 50% written exam - Computer Systems. All questions are mandatory and consists of multiple-choice questions, short response questions and extended response questions.

Paper 2: 50% written exam - Computational thinking, algorithms and programming. This paper has a Section A and Section B. Students must answer both sections. All questions are mandatory.

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE Computer Science specifications and all exam boards. The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and principles of Computer
AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of key concepts and principles of Computer Science.
AO3: Analyse problems in computational terms: to make reasoned judgements; and to design, program, evaluate and refine solutions.



1.1 Systems Architecture
1.2 Memory & Storage
2.2 Programming Techniques
Students learn about the structure of a CPU and how instructions are executed, CPU performance and embedded systems.
Students learn about different kinds of memory within a computer system and the function they serve. Primary and secondary storage are the focus.
Students will recap programming techniques from KS3 and develop their skills further by applying a variety of techniques that make programs more complex including the use of libraries, lists and external files.

1.3 Network Security
1.4 Networks – topologies, protocols & layers
2.1 Algorithms Students learn about the structure of networks and how data is transmitted across them.
Students also examine threats and prevention measures that can be used to secure networks.
Students look at the way that sorting and searching algorithms function.

2.1 Algorithms
1.5 System Software
2.4 Computational Thinking
Students look at the way that computational thinking impacts on the design of computer systems and apply different design techniques including Pseudocode, Flowcharts and OCR Reference Language.
Students look at the roles that Operating systems and Utility software play in a computer systems.
Students examine computational logic in more detail with a focus on Boolean logic including logic diagrams, truth tables and logic statements.

1.6 Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impact
2.3 Robust Programming
2.2 Programming Techniques
1.2 Memory & Storage - Binary
Students examine the impacts of digital technology on wider society and legislation that governs its’ use.
Students will recap programming techniques and develop their skills further by applying a variety of techniques that make programs more robust.
Students will recap how binary is used to store data and represent numbers, characters, images and sounds in a computer system.

Paper 2 Exam Technique
Paper 1 Exam Technique
Students will review a variety of exam questions to gain a thorough understanding of how questions are written, how to break the answers down into smaller chunks, the importance of the command words and marks and how to structure a model answer for clarity.

Personalised Exam Preparation
Individual questions will be personalised for students to target their own areas of development using the OCR Exam Builder tool.
Mark schemes will be examined to ensure students are fully aware of what is required to achieve the highest mark bands within questions.


School is currently investigating links with Industry that would see specialists from Game Design, Programming and System Architects provide meaningful projects for students to complete in order to gain experience of what is required to operate within this field.


Students are usually required to have a Grade 9 - 6 in Maths at GCSE to enter AS/A2. It is not essential to have done computer science at GCSE, though it is advisable to have done some practice of programming in your own time.
A Level Courses: A2 Computer Science
BTEC Courses include: Level 3 Extended Diploma in Computer Science.


Ask them what they think about Computing related items? Why was the device/app created? What purpose does it serve? What new technology is being talked about?
Encourage them to follow official profiles of famous people related to Computing on social media (Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg).


Visit Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes or the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.


Computing documentaries – The Social Dilemma, The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms, The Code, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists
Films/TV Series about technological breakthroughs
Wall-E, Wreck It Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Tron, Tron Legacy, Iron Man, The Martian, The Matrix, The Social Network, iRobot, Minority Report, Ex Machina.


Biographies about Alan Turing, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ava Lovelace, Charles Babbage, Mark Zuckerberg
Any books that explore the way that Computers have impacted on society.


BBC Bitesize – Course content specifically for the OCR 9-1 course
Seneca Learning – students will be added to appropriate courses that are used to develop and check understanding 
YouTube - playlists of relevant topics will be shared with students
SoloLearn – free online programming courses 
StackOverflow – excellent forum for programming related queries and coding solutions 


Programmers work in many settings, including corporate information technology ("IT") departments, big software companies, small service firms and government entities of all sizes. Many professional programmers also work for consulting companies at client sites as contractors.
Systems architects are hired by all types of companies, since any company that relies on its own computer network needs someone to ensure infrastructure is properly designed. Companies also need systems architects on staff to make ongoing improvements and troubleshoot problems.
Cyber security careers are complex and many roles like:
Security specialist - An entry-level role with huge potential.
Security administrator -Keep security systems running smoothly every day.
Cryptographer -Write the code that hackers can’t crack.
Security architect -Outsmart online criminals by designing tough-to-crack security.
Forensic expert -Protect the cyber world and assist law enforcement.
Penetration tester -Hack and protect computer systems for good reasons.