The Computing Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) programme has launched, designed to support existing teachers and trainees delivering the new computing curriculum in England.
Led by Hibernia College UK (HCUK) and the Tech Partnership, the programme aims to give teachers the tools and knowledge to deliver the new computing curriculum in England’s classrooms.
The course pilot began in January 2014 and includes several modules: inside the digital device; information science; cyber security; and technology in business and society.
According to the Department for Education, the number of ICT teachers dropped by 3,000 to 15,4001 between 2010-2013. Figures from the Department for Education reveal that only 2.6% of students took a computing GCSE last year, and according to the Tech Partnership’s analysis of Joint Council for Qualifications, the past 10 years have seen the number of computing A-Level students nearly halved – from 24,594 in 2004 to 13,650 in 2014.
Toby Adams, co-ordinator of learning and head of computer sciences for Leigh UTC, said: “There is a clear need for programmes such as this to address the skills shortage. Teachers involved will benefit from a range of activities to refine both their subject knowledge and their pedagogical application through tutored activities, reflection exercises, and rich opportunities for networking with other teachers in a range of contexts."
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HCUK is calling on the government to make SKE a compulsory part of teacher training, particularly for those training in science and technology courses.
At present, trainee teachers need to complete a 12-month course to gain Qualified Teacher Status; however, HCUK believes one year is not enough time to raise subject knowledge and pedagogy skills sufficiently to teach in a classroom in England.
Bill How, director of learning and ITT at HCUK, said: “To start building the numbers of qualified computing specialist teachers we need, the government should be training around 1,200 a year. Instead, new trainees fell to just 350 last year.
“This is why we have teamed up with the Tech Partnership to produce the new SKE to improve standards of teaching in computing. Teachers need to feel confident they have the skills and qualifications to deliver the new computing curriculum, which currently many of them don’t have.”
Niel McLean, head of education at the Tech Partnership, said there is a growing skills gap in the tech industry, as employers struggle to find the skilled people they need to help their businesses grow: “It is vital that there are more qualified computing teachers to help inspire the next generation of computing entrepreneurs.
“That’s why the Tech Partnership employers are working with HCUK to make sure the course content gives teachers the skills needed to deliver compelling computer lessons.”