August 14, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Frequently asked questions for Live Lessons

How are the lessons run ?

Lessons are done via Electa (online virtual classroom). Lessons are recorded if a student is ill or on holiday. If lessons are recorded, only students in that class will be able to view the lesson.

What equipment will I need ?

You will need either a PC running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux,  in order to use Electa, the virtual classroom. No other equipment is required.

Any desktop or laptop computer which is fairly good will do – and with any operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux). All the software we use is free and does not require a high-spec machine, but obviously the faster the better always applies to computers in any situation. A fast internet connection is more desirable than a high spec computer and students are advised that whilst their lesson is taking place, other family members do not use the wifi/internet to minimise their internet connection from slowing down.

When are the courses run ?

We run scheduled courses several times each week. Usually during the day on a Tuesday and Wednesday.

What courses do you offer ?

We run courses in Key Stage 3Computer Science. More details here.

We run courses for IGCSE Computer Science (1 and 2 year). Please note we no longer run courses in ICT.

How long does the IGCSE course take ?

Full Course Over 1 academic year: 2hrs of online lessons per week, with a short break in between. This is a fast-paced course and students will need to spend approximately 2-6 hours a week outside of lesson time. Lessons will finish around the end of April. Further revision lessons will be available if requested.

Full Course over 2 academic years: 1 hr lesson per week. This is a slower paced class suitable for younger children to give time to develop their programming skills.

Does the price include the exam ?

No, it is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to pay for the exam and find an exam centre. We will assist as much as possible in finding a centre.

What exam board and course do you cover?

We cover Cambridge Assessment International Examiners (CAIE) 0478/0984 IGCSE Computer Science. For full details on this course please see my blog post about it here.

Note, that from 2019 in the UK you can also have the 9-1 grading system. The exam code for this is 0984. The syllabuses are exactly the same for 0478 and 0984.

Why don’t you teach the new Edexcel IGCSE Computer Science syllabus?

Edexcel have a new IGCSE in Computer Science with the first sitting in summer 2019. However, one of the two exams is a practical exam requiring the use of a computer. It is very difficult and expensive to find an exam centre who would do this in the UK so I have decided not to teach it.

Do you cover everything for the exam?

Yes. I cover 100% of the syllabus (and more!). I also set mock exams nearer to the exam dates, and provide a revision schedule. I also go through past exam papers and help students prepare for the exam. I also guide them with the pre-release coding task.

How many are in a class?

This depends on the class day/time, but it’s usually between 15-20 students.

How much does the course cost?

I charge £8.00 per hour. Lessons are term time only and over the entire course it works out in total at approx £500 for both the one and two year academic options (IGCSE). For KS3 course is one year and is approx £250. Prices vary slightly depending on when the exam dates are.

Payment is every term to spread the cost.

Am I tied in for the whole course?

No. Just per term.

How do I pay?

I invoice every term and prefer payment by Direct Transfer.

Do I need to buy course books?

Only for the IGCSE, they are:


Programming Coursebook


Do you have a lesson sample?

No. I don’t have a lesson sample I’m afraid. But I do have a free self-paced course on the Raspberry Pi here.

Is there homework?

Yes. Homework is set every week and students are expected to complete it. I have a website where students can access lesson recordings, lesson notes and homework. Homework usually takes around 1-2 hours per week for the two year course, double that for the one year intensive course.

Who teaches the lessons?

Julia Roebuck teaches all the lessons. You can learn more about her here. She has a degree in Computer Science and over 20 years programming experience. Her degree is a 2:1 BSc(Hons) Information Technology (Software Development) from The University of Huddersfield 1996.

What extra support do you give?

Every student who enrols can get individual help during Office Hours with Julia every Friday 4-5pm (Term Time). Students are also welcome to email her for help if they can’t make this time. She aim to respond within 24 hours, but usually responds much quicker than that. Please note that we cannot chase students for their homeworks but parents can log into the lesson website to view their child’s grades and her comments. It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure their child attends the lessons and completes the homeworks.

What is your track record for student passes, do you have any personal testimonies?

My previous student grades and testimonies are listed here.

Will I need previous experience ?

No previous computing experience is needed. Those without previous programming experience (or limited experience) may need to dedicate additional time to the subject in order to learn the skills. Homework will be set every week and is expected to be done in order to prepare sufficiently for the exam.

Does it involve programming?

Computer programming is a large part of this exam. The exam board recommend a number of programming languages to prepare for the exam, and we use Python which is one of these. In the written exam, students write “pseudo code” based on their programming experience.

I’m not sure my child’s ability with Maths is good enough….

There’s actually not much maths in the IGCSE. There is :
  1. Understanding and converting binary and hexadecimal numbers (this is actually very easy and my students often comment that it’s a lot easier than they thought)
  2. Greater than/less than etc in programming
  3. Some multiplication and division by 1000 (or 1024)
  4. Simple multiplication and division
 Generally lack of maths skills have not been a problem with this IGCSE. It’s A Level when the maths starts to get complicated.

What about the new 9-1 grading system for IGCSEs/GCSEs?

From 2019 CAIE will let you choose whether your IGCSE Computer Science exam paper is graded A-E or under the new 9-1 system. The syllabus is 100% the same for both exams, you just use a different exam code when booking the exam with the exam centre.

If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us