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Systems architecture in A Level computer science

CP505 Live remote training course

During this course you'll explore the structure of the internal components of a computer system. In addition you'll explore the von Neumann architecture and fetch-execute cycle.

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Computer systems Data & information Computing Post 16 Teach secondary computing certificate
Live remote training course 3 hours

  • Live remote training 25 April 15:30—25 April 2024
  • Live remote training 8 May 13:00—8 May 2024
  • Live remote training 28 May 16:00—28 May 2024
  • Live remote training 5 June 09:30—5 June 2024
  • Live remote training 10 June 14:00—10 June 2024
  • Live remote training 20 June 15:30—20 June 2024
  • Live remote training 1 July 14:00—1 July 2024
  • Live remote training 11 July 09:30—11 July 2024
  • Live remote training 23 July 13:00—23 July 2024

Unlock the inner workings of computer systems during this course. Delve into the purpose and function of key system components, gaining insight into how they impact overall performance and functionality. Master the fundamentals of Von Neumann architecture and the fetch-decode-execute cycle. You’ll evaluate the factors influencing CPU performance through the use of a real-world scenario.

Discover the intriguing distinctions between Von Neumann and Harvard processor architectures, and explore the pivotal role of GPUs as co-processors. Investigate the applications of both RISC and CISC processor designs, and examine their key differences. Through the exploration of a variety of online resources, engagement in professional discussions with educators alongside practical experience of exam questions, emerge from this course best equipped to support student success within the topic of systems architecture.

Who is it for?

This course is aimed at teachers delivering A Level computer science. It is advised you have some basic knowledge of systems architecture from GCSE computer science specifications.

During this course you’ll access the Isaac Computer Science platform, it is advised you sign up for a free, teachers account ahead of the course.

Topics covered

Key system components – during this session, you will discover the vital system components that power your computer's performance. You will explore models of the Von Neumann architecture and investigate the fetch-decode-execute cycle. You’ll analyse and evaluate the factors affecting CPU performance using a real-world scenario.

Processor architectures – during this session, you will explore a variety of processor architectures. You will uncover the distinctions between Von Neumann and Harvard designs, unveiling the core of computing innovation. You will dive into the fascinating world of GPUs and their pivotal role as co-processors, before investigating the differences between RISC and CISC architectures.

How long is this course?

This course will last approximately 2.5 hours, these sessions maybe split across multiple days.

How will you learn?

Scheduled live, interactive online sessions led by an experienced practitioner. Flexible Professional Development Leader-supported, participant-led tasks, involving deep exploration of the subject content.


By the end of this intensive CPD pathway you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of computer system components and their impact on performance and functionality
  • Explore Von Neumann architecture and evaluate the factors affecting CPU performance
  • Effectively differentiate between processor architectures, including Von Neumann vs. Harvard and RISC vs. CISC

This course is part of Teach secondary computing

Teach secondary computing

Our nationally recognised qualification will give you confidence to take your computing teaching to the next level and to apply those skills in the classroom.

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A level Computer Science subject knowledge

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