Computer Science – Key Stage 4

Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9-1) in Computer Science

Students are able to choose Computer Science as an option subject in Year 10 and 11, following the Edexcel 2016 specification GCSE qualification. The Edexcel GCSE Computer Science counts as a science option in the EBacc measure in secondary school performance tables.  This means that a student who sits any three of the four separate sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science) and achieves a C or above in two of them will fulfil the science requirement of the EBacc.

Course Summary

There’s more to Computer Science than simply programming. Computer Science is the study of how computer systems work, how they are constructed and programmed. It consists of a body of knowledge, a set of techniques/methods for solving problems, as well as practical programming skills. What this means is that a course in Computer Science has to cover a lot of theory teaching, as well as plenty of practical problem solving and programming. Computational thinking is a large part of the course and forms the bulk of what is taught.

This qualification specifically aims 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.


The Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9-1) in Computer Science consists of two externally-examined papers and a non-examined assessment component.

Students must complete the non-examined component in March and all external assessments in May/June in any single year.

Assessment Breakdown

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Component 1 Content

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Component 2 Content

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Component 3 Project Content

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The topics you will study:

The subject content of the specification is divided into six topics, mirroring the Range and Content of the CAS curriculum
(Computing at School-

Topic 1: Problem Solving (algorithms)
– Students will develop a set of computational thinking skills that enable them to understand how computer systems work, and design, implement and analyse algorithms for solving problems.

Topic 2: Programming (programs)
– Learning to program is a core component of a computer science course. Students will become competent at designing, reading, writing and debugging programs. They will be able to apply their skills to solve real problems and produce robust programs.

Topic 3: Data
– Computers are able to store and manipulate large quantities of data. They use binary to represent different types of data. Students will learn how different types of data are represented in a computer.

Topic 4: Computers
– Students must be familiar with the hardware and software components that make up a computer system and recognise that computers taken many forms from embedded microprocessors to distributed clouds.

Topic 5: Communication and the Internet
– Computer networks and the internet are now ubiquitous. Many computer applications in use today would not be possible without networks. Students will understand the key principles behind the organisation and of computer networks and gain practical experience of setting up a simple network.

Topic 6: The Bigger Picture
– Students will become aware of the influence of computing technology and recognise that computing has an impact on nearly every aspect of the world in which they live.

For more information on this qualification please see the Edexcel website:

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For further subject information please contact Miss Sarah Harris – Head of ICT and Computer