Computing Training Programme (Secondary)

Computing Training Programme Case Study

Summer Term 2015

The Bedford Borough Learning Exchange had highlighted the need for a local training programme to enable teachers of ICT to have the confidence and skills to teach computing within Key Stage 3 and 4.

Following a period of marketing across all secondary and middle schools including all Heads of Maths and Physics, 10 participants were recruited onto the programme; 6 from secondary and 4 from middle schools.  Attendance averaged 95% with one participant not able to complete the programme due to illness.

Funding was achieved through a successful EISG bid to Bedford Borough which ensured that costs were available for facilitator/trainer/development time, refreshments and resources for the programme.Jackie as Jacbot

The programme was developed together with members of the University of Bedfordshire and computing professionals within Bedford Borough:

Tony Stockford, Senior Lecture at UoB
Jackie Samosa, Teacher of Computing at Mark Rutherford and Computing at Schools (CAS) hub lead
Jacq Emkes, Teacher of Maths at Biddenham and SLE in eLearning
Lisa Ryder, Programme Lead

An initial needs audit for participants was proposed which then informed the programme of the five sessions to be held in the Computing Suite at the University of Bedfordshire.  Two recently qualified PGCE students (Luke Brasseaux and Jeremy Bell) were invited to lead on some of the sessions with support from Jackie Samosa and Jacq Emkes.

The programme, held during the summer term of 2015, involved the following sessions with the aim of building knowledge of and develop skills in the new computing curriculum and fostering a cross curricular support network:

Session 1 : algorithms and flowcharts
Session 2 : Binary and ASCII
Session 3: Programming, types and purposes
Session 4: Coding (Python and Basic)
Session 5: Compiling and Debugging

Due to the nature of the personalised programme of study, sessions were lead by a combination of Jacq Emkes, Jackie Samosa, Jeremy Bell or Luke Brasseaux.

On three separate occasions, John Whistlecraft, from Sharnbrook Upper School and AQA facilitator for Computing, nationally, attended the sessions to quality assure the programme. (This was in place of the proposed small scale research project, with funding allocated, which was to be carried out by a Fellow of the Associate Educational Fellowship Programme. However, it was too early in the inception of the AEFP for this to be managed).

His comments included:

  • The hands on tasks related to the computational relevance were in-line with the aims of the course and the experience of the audience
  • Overall comments:
  • The enthusiasm of the presenter came through very strongly as did their obvious engagement with the delegates.

Evaluations were completed by the participants after each session and issues addressed.  Comments included:

  • Can review/update schemes of work, will utilise free web-based resources shared during the workshops attended, will go back to my school and cascade good practice learnt from the workshops
  •  Differentiate for ability levels (difficult!), good to separate different key stages
  • I feel more confident delivering new topics such as programming. I will be accessing and using resources to support my teaching and share with my colleagues
  • This is an ongoing process for me, I will be far better position to develop and deliver SOW across KS2 and 3
  • It has been a very helpful 5 session, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The sessions have given me the confidence to be able to feel comfortable to attempt to teach the subject
  • I cannot thank the organisers enough for the in depth and organised session helping to calm my nerves. As I have to help other colleagues in school to teach the subject, therefore has benefited more people than myself
  • The ‘JacJac’ website helps with all resources/lessons from the course. We can use the resources in lessons straight away

 Participants were encouraged by the interactive web facility setup for their use to be able to ask questions and share ideas.

From the evaluations, there was definitely a need for ongoing support and networking.  Participants also asked for further sessions in the autumn term.

  • I would definitely benefit from ongoing support to improve my computer science knowledge and feel further sessions continue to improve my practice.

All participants were signed up the Computing at Schools network and will be invited to join the Professional Study Group for Computing which holds local meetings once a term.

  • Have refresher sessions e.g. every term, have online forums to keep in touch/share good practice with other practitioners

The confidence of the participants has been raised in line with the aims of the programme. However, there is still a lot to learn and confidence comes with consistent practice.  It is the aim that this group will continue to network and share ideas, with the support of the facilitators.  Their membership of the Professional Study Group is also paramount to their continued knowledge and skills (as the curriculum evolves).

Teachers of Secondary IT have been asked to take on the new subject of Computing with little or no training or support.   This course not only improved subject knowledge and enthusiasm but also provided a much needed network facility.  The need to collaborate and communicate in a timely fashion is clearly essential.  The provision of a website as a receptacle of information, lesson plans and detailed schemes of work has proved invaluable.  Using a very basic and speedy set up, a website was created for the course by Jacq Emkes.

Thank you for the course, an excellent idea for teachers with no Computer Science experience.  I am teaching Computer Science currently and there is no one that is Computer Science experienced at my school.  This course has given me support and confidence.  Jac and Jackie have been so helpful, humble and kind with resources.  I feel there should be more sessions even if it is costing as it is very helpful.  The two PGCE students have also helped especially with programming aspects of the course.  I also like the support with handling A452 and A453 Schemes of Work for OCR Computer Science

An interesting observation is the clear need for cross curricular links.  The presence of maths teachers in the computer science sessions showed the close alignment of the two subjects.  The startling revelation that neither subjects had worked together before nor seen a need to opened a wider concern for other subjects.  Computer Science is a Maths and Science based skill.  All schools should be encouraged to ensure that Maths and Science teachers are integral to the planning and delivery of Computer Science.

In addition, further skills workshops not only for Computer Science, but all subjects would enhance the teaching and learning our schools – the ideas of group work, away from computers (‘unplugged’), the use of technology to ‘hook in students’ and proposals for more independent study were well received.  These are not subject specific.

In addition to the ‘JacJac website’created for this group, there is a need for a well coordinated website across the BBLE schools where professional study groups can share their work and network across lonely classrooms!

Lisa Ryder
Project Lead
November 2015

Updated January 2016