The Practical Programming Statement

I hear lots of questions about the practical programming statement (PPS). What is it? When do I need to sign it? Do I need to send off a spreadsheet? Do I need to send off a sample?

The PPS is a simple statement whereby a teacher or senior leader from the centre (school/college) needs to confirm that the centre has met the programming requirements within the GCSE Computer Science specification.

Have a look at this simple example from OCR. All you need is your centre name, centre number, name, role and email address.

So why do you need to do this? Back in 2016 when the new GCSE Computer Science Qualifications were launched, students had to complete a Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) that was worth 20% of the final assessment. Awarding bodies decided to try and keep the NEA tasks confidential, but as teachers warned, this inevitably led to them being leaked. Ofqual therefore removed the 20% assessment part of the NEA and replaced it with a Programming Project which had to be completed by students in order to receive their qualification. A senior leader had to sign to confirm the Programming Project had been completed and samples had to be sent to the exam board. This then led to new qualifications in 2020 for first assessment in summer 2022 (AQA 8525, Edexcel 1CP2, Eduqas C500QS, OCR J277).

These new qualifications require students to complete programming skills of design, write, test and refine. There are no set tasks to complete and it is up to the centre how they provide opportunities for learning these skills. All the centre needs to do is confirm that this opportunity was provided.

The PPS needs to be submitted in each assessment year for those sitting the exams in that year. Each exam board sets their own deadlines:

OCR15th Mayavailable now
Edexcel31st Mayavailable now
Eduqas31st Marchavailable now
AQA15th Mayavailable now
Awarding body deadlines for completing PPS

This is all you need to do. You do not have to send off any spreadsheets or samples. It is up to each centre how they deliver these programming skills. It could be a separate centre-set task, a series of tasks, or tasks that are used as part of learning programming. There is no minimum or maximum amount of time each student needs to spend on programming – just make sure they are prepared for the programming part of the exam.

This article will be updated when awarding bodies publish their PPS, guidance and dates.