Sixth Form

Computer Science

Students of A- Level Computer Science (OCR):

The following reading was written by Prof. Curzon of Queen Mary, University of London. It is suggested that you read these in preparation for the concepts that will be explored further in the course.

Some further wide pre-reading on current trends can be found below.  You should also be regularly reading the BBC news technology section as a minimum

Wider reading


You don't need to read all of them, but nor is the list exhaustive. The school library has the following books and your local library should be able to help with many of the books listed below:

  • Computational Fairy Tales by Jeremy Kubica. ISBN: 978-1477550298 - a romp through the principles of computational thinking, illustrating high-level computer science concepts, the motivation behind them, and their application via the medium of a fairy tale. Aimed at secondary school students. "Bonkers, but very enjoyable."
  • Computer Science: An Overview by J. Glenn Brookshear. ISBN: 978-0321544285 - overview of what computer science is all about: each topic is presented with its historical perspective, current state, and future potential, as well as ethical issues.
  • Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold. ISBN: 978-0735611313 - "What do flashlights, the British invasion, black cats, and seesaws have to do with computers? ...see how ingenuity and our very human compulsion to communicate have driven the technological innovations of the past two centuries."
  • Out of Their Minds by D Shasha and Cathy Lazere. ISBN: 978-3540979920 - the lives and discoveries of fifteen unsung computer scientists whose programs have helped people from factory owners to cartoonists.
  • The Pattern on the Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work by Daniel Hillis. ISBN: 978-0465025961 - explains the basic concepts of the computer in everyday language.
  • The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick. ISBN: 978-0007225736 - a chronicle that shows how information has become "the modern era's defining quality - the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world."
  • The Pleasures of Counting by Tom Kôrner. ISBN: 978-0521568234 - puts Maths into the context of how it is used to solve real-world problems.
  • The Code Book by Simon Singh. ISBN: 978-1857028898 - not strictly about Computer Science, but an interesting introduction to code-breaking and cryptography, fields that have a strong connection to Computer Science.
  • The New Turing Omnibus by A Kee Dewdney. ISBN: 978-0805071665 - mini-articles on Computer Science topics.
  • Algorithmic Puzzles by Anany Levitin and Maria Levitin. ISBN: 978-0199740444 - "...The emphasis lies in training the reader to think algorithmically and develop new puzzle-solving skills: the majority of puzzles are problems where we are asked to find the shortest distance or the fewest moves to get from A to B, or construct a proof that a puzzle has no solution ..."

Magazines, blogs, journals, videos, websites & other stuff

  • CS4FN (Computer Science for Fun) is a magazine on computer science aimed at school students "Explore how computer science is also about people, solving puzzles, creativity, changing the future and, most of all, having fun." It is printed twice a year and has an associated website with additional articles.
  • Computer Science Unplugged - a Computer Science curriculum for pre-university students developed in New Zealand.
  • Free, online lectures and courses from Academic Earth. (There's a Maths section as well as the Computer Science one.)
  • BBC's Make IT Digital initiative.


This year you will apply your algorithms to the Python language. 

You should use a web-based resource such as:


There are numerous other sites as well - interactive python is another good one we will be using.

For tablet/iPad "Pythonista 3" is very good - price £9.99

We will use python 3.7 in the Pyscripter and Thony IDEs