Frequently Asked Questions
Who is this course for?
- This course is aimed at anyone who is registered to take the new GCSE Computer Science (9-1) exams, and requires additional support for the part of the syllabus related to Algorithms, Coding, and Programming Techniques. The computer language used is Python. The course is ideal for students who feel that they need extra support studying for GCSE Computer Science and is also open to children who are home-schooling.
What does this course cover?
- This course primarily covers the algorithms and programming techniques required to adequately prepare for GCSE Computer Science.
Do you cover the theory part of the GCSE Computer Science syllabus?
- No, we don’t. The theory aspect of the syllabus is similar to the old ICT exam and so the vast majority of UK schools have the staff and skills to adequately support children learning the theory. The algorithms and computer coding aspect is what GCSE students are least likely to receive support for in schools, even though the new computer science curriculum makes up around 60% of the mark! Since Spark4Kids specialises in teaching children computer programming, we are able to support attendees who require extra help with algorithms and computer programming. By providing attendees with the support and guidance for tackling the algorithms and computer programming part of the syllabus, children who take this course will have the best chance of achieving a good grade in their GCSE Computer Science exams.
Can I register for the GCSE Computer Science 9-1 exam through you?
- This is currently not possible. Typically, attendees on our course will already be registered to take the GCSE Computer Science exam through their school. In terms of registering for the exam, it’s probably more accurate to consider us similar to a private tutor that specialises in teaching attendees the programming/coding aspects of the GCSE Computer Science exam.
How does attending the online GCSE coding course work?
- Typically, at the beginning, the tutor taking the course will run an online webinar to be attended by both students and parents alike. This will serve as a virtual meet-and-greet, during which the tutor will present an outline of the course as well as answer questions and set expectations. Following that, the students will attend online on a weekly basis, studying the syllabus, completing homework, and submitting projects as and when required of them. Parents will be kept informed on a weekly basis about topics covered, and will, as expected, have the opportunity to meet (also virtually/online) with the tutor to discuss student progress.
When does the course start and finish?
- The course starts at the beginning of the academic year for GCSE’s, and ends after the Computer Science exams are held.
How does attending a virtual LIVE! session itself work?
- For each lesson, you will be provided with a link to that sessions class. Once logged in, the student will attend the online class with the ability to ask questions and interact with the tutor. In addition, tutors are able to pass control of their computers to class attendees, to highlight a topic of discussion or solve a problem for the attendee.
How long do I have access to the course?
- During the period of study, attendees will have unlimited access to this cross-platform course, available across any and all devices. Upon completion of the course attendees will continue to have access to LIVE! class recordings, as well as any materials that were made available during the course. Access to LIVE! classes is limited to students who are preparing to take GCSE Computer Science exams.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
- We would never want you to be unhappy! If you paid fully up-front for the course and are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days after the course has started, and we will give you a full refund. For those paying by monthly subscription, contact us at any time during the period of study, and we will cancel your subscription from the next payment date onwards.
When you say this is a “LIVE! online class”, what do you mean?
- A LIVE! online class is a scheduled interactive online lesson delivered by a Spark4Kids tutor. Typically, attendees will attend the same time each week, and classmates will by-and-large remain the same throughout the period of study, similar to a classroom. The software we use for delivering the lessons are best-in-class, and provide a premium experience that is similar in most ways, and superior in some ways to physically attending a class.
What if my child has to miss a scheduled lesson – what happens then?
- This would be no different to a class environment. Firstly, we will try to find another LIVE session treating the topic that was missed, in order that your child can “make up” the missed session. If this is not possible, then a recording of the missed topic is always available for the attendee to review, along with question/answer tutor support via email. As a last resort, a private tuition session can be arranged however this will be paid-for, as with a one-to-one session.
What is the typical tutor-to-student ratio per class?
- Typically, we have 6-8 attendees per class, with 1, sometimes 2 tutors in attendance – depending on the lesson being given.
Where are the students on this course typically from?
- The vast majority of students on this course live in the United Kingdom. Periodically, parents of children attending the course may have to relocate outside the UK due to work reasons, and when this happens, the children simply continue attending online as there are no geographical restrictions on attending.
Do I need a special computer for my child to attend the LIVE! online sessions?
- No, you not necessarily. Any set-up that has a fast broadband connection and computer with a microphone and headphones should work just fine. If you were forced to choose, it would be better to have a fast internet connection, than to have a fast computer. As part of registering for the online class, a diagnostic tool will be provided which will help attendees ascertain if there will be any issues attending the class with their computer set-up. The courses are delivered via an internet browser.
Is your GCSE Computer Coding course the same as what would be taught in a school?
- Yes and no. Yes, because, although our syllabus covers the algorithms and computer coding of the GCSE exam, we go one step further by ensuring that attendees really do understand how to design algorithms, as well as how to write computer code (unlike other courses where the emphasis is only on passing the exam). No, because our focus is less on the theory aspect of the GCSE syllabus, which most schools are currently well equipped to teach. With Spark4Kids, our GCSE Computer Science course places a greater emphasis on the computer coding part of the syllabus and is complimentary to the theory that is usually covered in school. Note computer coding-related topics make up around 60% of the total grade, so it is important that children taking GCSE Computer Science, have a solid grounding in computer coding!
What software is required for my child to attend the GCSE Computer Coding from home?
- All the software tools used for delivering the GCSE Computer Coding course is web browser-based. This means, all your child needs to register for and attend the sessions is a browser.
What about homework?
- All students attending the course will be given homework on a weekly basis. As is the case with attending school, the homework given will be based on the topics covered for that week.
What time do the online sessions run, and how long is each session?
- Sessions run during weekday late afternoons, and evenings, with most students attending once a week. Session length times may vary depending on the topic being covered, however typically, each session will run for approximately 1 hour. Note that children taking the Computer Coding 3 (Intensive) stream, will be expected to attend twice-weekly sessions.
To register for any of the streams on the course, please complete the accompanying booking form.