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IMG 20200601 WA0050

GCSE Computer Science

AQA Computer Science (8525)

This challenging GCSE has been designed to teach concepts and develop techniques that have long-term value which support progression to higher education and beyond. The course will provide students with an engaging and stimulating experience of Computer Science and programming. The new specification is a mixture of theory and computational thinking and practice. It provides opportunities for students to explore the wider social and ethical issues associated with Computer Science and to develop as responsible practitioners.

A course in Computer Science offers candidates a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of how computers work and to create and troubleshoot computer programs for real-life purposes relating to their own personal interests. Computer Science develops valuable programming and computational thinking skills, which are increasingly relevant to a wide variety of jobs. Employers want workers with an understanding of rigorous principles that can be applied to changing technologies.

There are eight topics covered as part of this course:

1 - Fundamentals of algorithms
2 - Programming
3 - Fundamentals of data representation
4 - Computer Systems
5 - Fundamentals of computer networks
6 - Cyber security
7 - Relational databases and SQL
8 - Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of technology on wider society

The course is assessed at the end of year 11 through two exams, both worth 50%.

Paper 1:

“Computational thinking and programming” is a 2 hour written exam and will include content drawn from units 1 and 2 listed above.

Paper 2:

“Computing concepts” is a 1 hour 45minute written exam and will include content drawn from units 3-8 listed above.

GCSE Business Studies

Business Studies is a challenging subject which blends a number of specialist fields such as marketing, human resources, accounting and finance and operations management, which together make up a course that is highly relevant to the modern world. Industry related activities, outside visits, visiting speakers, field and market research and the extensive use of information technology feature strongly in the course.

As a GCSE course, the focus is on the theory of business rather than the practical aspects. Being able to apply mathematical concepts to business is a key feature of this GCSE.


1. Business activity – the basics of business including why people start businesses 

2. Influences on business – an in-depth look at business stakeholders and how they influence firms 

3. Business operations – managing production, quality, logistics and the sales process 

4. Finance – sources of finance for start-ups and operations, cash flow, profit and loss statements 

5. Marketing – identifying and meeting customer needs, market research and the marketing mix 

6. Human resources – getting the right staff, training, motivation and management of staff

How will you be assessed?

There are two exams at the end of year 11. Both exams will be structured the same way and each last 1 hour and 30 mins. 

Each paper is divided into three sections:

Section A: 35 marks, 

Section B: 30 marks, 

Section C: 25 marks.

The paper will consist of calculations, multiple-choice, short-answer and extended-writing questions.

Questions in Sections B and C will be based on business contexts given in the paper. 

The exams will also include synoptic assessment; the understanding of the connections between different elements of the subject. It involves explicit drawing together of knowledge, skills and understanding. This is a challenging element of the course and was previously only assessed at A-level.

Creative iMedia

The Cambridge National in Creative iMedia equips students with the wide range of knowledge and skills needed to work in the creative digital media sector. They start at pre-production and develop their skills through practical assignments as they create final multimedia products.

 This qualification is equivalent to one GCSE and blends a number of different skills, both theoretical and practical. Students will learn about the use of ICT in a creative media setting and will develop the transferable skills necessary for the workplace, whilst also having the opportunity to be creative in their work through units focussing on multimedia, digital imagery, sound and vision.

Course content

R081 - Pre-Production skills

Students are introduced to a range of essential pre-production techniques used in the creative and digital media, including client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques

R082 - Creating Digital Graphics

Building on the skills and understanding that they have developed in the previous unit, students explore where and why digital graphics are used and the techniques that are involved in their creation. They apply their skills and knowledge in creating digital graphics against a specific brief.

R084 - Storytelling with a Comic Strip

Students explore different genres of comic strips and how they are created. They plan and create a comic strip to specific requirements, and review the final comic against a specific brief.

R087 - Creating Interactive Multimedia Products

Students develop their knowledge and understanding of where and why different interactive multimedia products are used and what features are needed for a given purpose. They learn how to interpret a client brief, and how to use time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques as part of the planning and creation process.

How you will be examined

The course is split into 4 equally weighted units;

R081 - 60 marks - Exam - 75 minutes

R082 - 60marks - Coursework - 10 hours approx.

R084 - 60marks - Coursework - 10 hours approx.

R087 - 60marks - Coursework - 10 hours approx.

Based on the results from each unit students will achieve either a level 1 pass, merit, distinction or level 2 pass, merit distinction or distinction*. All grades are equivalent to GCSE grades 1-9.