Why choose our specification?

Our GCSE (9–1) Computer Science 2020 qualification offers an exciting, practical focus on real-life programming, developing skills relevant to the future.

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We’ve developed our GCSE Computer Science 2020 in collaboration with teachers and the computer science community, to create an engaging qualification that equips students with the knowledge and practical skills to thrive in the fast-changing world of Computer Science.

Our qualification provides a practical approach to developing computational skills. This includes innovative, practical onscreen assessment to ensure all students develop the computational skills they need for an exciting digital future beyond the classroom.

The qualification’s combination of written and practical elements balances theory and practical application, providing students with a rounded experience of computer science.

Our qualification has a straightforward structure with six comprehensive topic areas, assessed through two externally-examined papers. One of these is a written paper focused on computational thinking, data, computers, networks, and issues and impact of computing in the world today. The other is a practical onscreen assessment, which focuses on the ability to analyse and solve problems by designing, writing, testing and refining programs.

The ramping in our papers means they have a gradual increase in difficulty, helping build confidence for students as they work through the questions. The papers' consistent assessment structure and straightforward mark schemes make expectations clear to both teachers and students.

Our approach of assessing programming practically via our new onscreen assessment allows schools to choose which Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to use. Students are then able to complete activities using their IDE of choice, so they are programming in a familiar environment - without the need for internet access.

Our assessments are designed with an underpinning pedagogical approach derived from NCCE Hubs, and ensure real-world programming skills are assessed via a realistic, practical and engaging assessment experience. 

We’ve chosen python as a vehicle to facilitate the teaching, learning and assessment for all students to get the best possible experience.

Our comprehensive teaching and learning support is rich in purposeful activities designed to support all teachers delivering this qualification.

We provide extensive free teaching and learning support, designed specifically for non-specialists. We have brought together a wealth of resources from a variety of trusted sources, such as the NCCE and linked them to Pearson Edexcel specification using the interactive scheme of work to save you time and give you confidence in the progression of content and the resources that you are using.  

To help you prepare for the practical onscreen assessment, we provide a free digital repository of programming activities. These will consist of exercises, downloadable data files, sample solutions and commentaries. You can use these programming activities to develop the necessary knowledge and skills. 

The updated student book will include a range of engaging practical activities and real world context to help students develop skills relevant to their future.

Tim Brady, your dedicated Computer Science Subject Advisor, is on hand to help whenever you need any support and advice for teaching. Take a look at your Computer Science Community and follow him on twitter.