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The National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) has helped train more than 1,000 teachers to deliver the computing curriculum.
Since its launch two years ago, the NCCE has trained about 1,300 teachers to deliver GCSE computer science classes, and has provided resources to 29,500 teachers from 8,500 primary schools and 3,000 secondary schools.
Simon Peyton Jones, chairman of the NCCE, said: “The NCCE is playing an important part in re-imagining computing as a foundational school subject like maths and natural science, which all children should learn to equip them for life and work.
“Computer science is now an explicit part of the curriculum, alongside digital skills and competence. These changes represent a huge opportunity for our young people and our economy, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has shown these are needed more than ever.”
Peyton Jones added: “I am hugely grateful to the teachers, school leaders and our partners who have supported our ambition.”
Many teachers have said they do not feel they are fully capable of teaching concepts such as coding, despite the growing need for digital skills.
The NCCE, which is funded by the Department for Education (DfE), was launched in 2018 to work with schools across the UK to train teachers to deliver computing subjects better.
Plans for the centre were announced in May 2018, with a focus on achieving the government’s target of training up to 8,000 computing teachers.
Working with partners such as Arm, BT, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Nationwide and Rolls-Royce, the NCCE’s goal is to change how computing is taught in schools by engaging and training teachers properly, in turn making sure more pupils study and understand computing as a subject.
At GCSE level, NCCE provides support through the Computer Science Accelerator (CSA) programme, in which teachers take part in continuing professional development (CPD) training, after which a test determines whether they are awarded a certificate recognising their ability to teach GCSE-level computer science.
Of those who have taken part, 90% said it gave them confidence to deliver GCSE computer science, and 70% said it increased their confidence and motivation for computing teaching.
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More than half of the teachers who took part said more students are now studying computer science as a result, and in some cases the courses can be used to upskill teachers from other subjects, helping to fill the computer science teaching gap.
The 1,300 teachers who received training through the CSA were taught using an NCCE-developed teach computing curriculum comprising more than 500 hours of lessons, and the centre found that this, along with its other courses, has helped to make a difference for children.
More than 80% of teachers who have taken part in the programme said their colleagues had also benefited from them taking part, 63% said it had improved the quality of computing teaching, and 75% said professional development courses provided by the NCCE were having a “significant impact” on their students.
Half of the secondary school teachers and 47% of the primary school teachers said taking part in an NCCE course had helped their school to raise the priority of computing.
More than 80% of secondary school teachers said taking part in NCCE training improved students’ understanding of the subject, and 63% said it helped them better understand how to connect the dots between the computing curriculum, knowledge of current technology and tech skills and careers.
Teachers can learn face-to-face or remotely, have access to free resources to help them teach the computing curriculum better. As well as various courses, the NCCE has developed Computing at School (CAS) communities of practice to enable teachers to meet with their peers for help and support.
For A-level teaching of computer science, the NCCE developed the Isaac Computer Science platform, which offers free learning resources for A-level computer science delivery CPD for teachers and workshops for students.
Some 700 students have taken part in Isaac Computer Science events and 18,000 students overall are registered with the platform, as are 2,000 teachers, who often use it to assign students with homework or revision.
In the future, NCCE wants to build on what it has developed by making sure as many schools as possible can benefit from its resources.