Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Computing and IT

AS / A Level Computer Science

Course Content

You will come on to the course with a passion for programming and drive for problem solving. Starting in the first week you will use C# and the .NET framework to create console applications with the opportunity to explore web or Windows based solutions in a project-based assessment in the second year. Other practical subjects include SQL Server databases and functional programming.

You will be assessed by two exams (each weighted 40% of your final mark) and a non-examined assessment (a coding project weighted at 20%). Paper 1 is an on-screen exam focusing on practical programming and code theory such as data structures (arrays, stacks, queues, dictionaries), algorithms (tree traversal, sorting and searching) and computational theory (regular expressions, finite state machines, Turing machines).

Paper 2 is a written exam covering general computer science theory, such as binary, decimal and hexadecimal number systems, encryption, Boolean algebra, logic gates, computer systems, computer architecture, moral/ethical issues, communication and networking, databases and ‘big data’.

The Non-Examined Assessment is an independent software development project where you will analyse, design, implement, test and review a system that you have agreed to build for a client.


This programme is ideal to students wishing to undertake a degree in computer science or specialist degrees in software, web, games or application development, software engineering, or data science, cyber security, forensic computing, or network engineering. Industry, business, education and many of the professions are demanding good computer science graduates at both technical and management levels due to an international shortage in a number of related disciplines.

BTEC Information Technology

Course Content

Information Technology plays a vital role in British businesses and organisations and employers value applicants with strong IT skills. The BTEC offers a practical approach to IT with progression routes into university, apprenticeships and work.

Students typically register for the Diploma, and can either give breadth to their study by choosing a contrasting subject, or give their studies more focus by choosing a complementary subject. A Subsidiary Diploma is also available for students with two other firm subject choices.

Choose between either of the following certificates:

  1. Subsidiary Diploma in IT (UCAS points are equivalent to an A-Level)
  2. Diploma in IT (UCAS points are equivalent to two A-Levels)

You will explore how organisations use technology to aid communication and improve performance, while learning how to use a number of software packages used in business today. You will study the relationship between hardware and software, managing and communicating information and data, and the principles of designing and developing digital technologies and processes to support organisations.


BTECs attract UCAS points and are widely recognised by universities and employers. This programme will support students in their application to a number of degree programmes in areas such as business management, product design, application development, media, and teacher-training. Students may also undertake a degree in general computer science or IT. There is a growing requirement for IT-specialists regionally and nationally as technology supports the infrastructure of so many businesses and organisations.