Do you have a strong computing department?

Don’t miss out on building your computing team with bursary-funded training, urges Victoria Temple from the National Centre for Computing Education

Computing is a subject which offers career opportunities to young people, is exciting and creative, yet computing departments are often small, and some schools still don’t offer the subject at GCSE.
With bursary funding of £1,800 available until the end of July 2022 to enable teachers to access training from the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), now is the ideal time to develop computing within your teaching team.
“This academic year has been one like no other, but with its challenges comes opportunities. Now is the perfect time to get ahead for September, and the funding and support is available to help schools build a resilient computing team,” said Simon Roberts, Secondary Computing Specialist at the NCCE.
While the funding is available to help schools to build a thriving and resilient computing department – time is running out to apply, and it’s important to act quickly to access the Department for Education funded bursaries.

Expand capacity and resilience

Many schools are relying on just one or two teachers to deliver the computing curriculum, meaning any staff absence or turnover  can have a major impact. But training staff who may not previously have considered teaching computing as a second subject can expand capacity and resilience.
“Whether you’re an established subject leader, or excited to be moving into your first leadership post; the Teach Computing offer from the NCCE has grown significantly this last year, meaning we’re on hand to support you and your department, whether you’re looking to develop teacher subject knowledge, or for support with best teaching practice and materials,” said Simon.
He’s urging headteachers to encourage teachers to register for the NCCE’s Computer Science Accelerator (CSA), and access the bursary funding of £1,800.
The CSA is the NCCE’s easy-to-access training programme which gives teachers the skills and knowledge to teach the computing curriculum up to GCSE.
Funded by the Department for Education, funding is available to schools via the NCCE’s bursary programme of £1,800 for each teacher who completes the CSA.
“Having multiple teaching members complete the programme, opens doors for collaboration, meaning the CPD is well and truly continuous. It also means you’ll receive multiple CSA bursaries. Time is running out though, so make sure you complete the programme by 31 July to be guaranteed a payment for your school,” said Simon.
“If you’re planning your September 2022 timetables, now would be the perfect opportunity to match new teachers with the CSA programme. We have new courses, residentials, intensive CPD, and much more to support new, and experienced, teachers this summer.”

Growing more computing staff

It’s the ideal time to enable teachers of other subjects to undertake the CPD to also teach computing. Teachers of Maths, Music, PE and more have all successfully added Computing to their skills, enabling schools to make the most of teaching capacity and build a strong department.
Maths teacher Tim Ash is one of the many teachers who have expanded their skills with the CSA. Tim, who teaches at Rugby Free Secondary School in Rugby, was asked by his headteacher to also teach computing and source training. Tim says he now greatly appreciates the variety it brings to his week.
“I undertook the CSA programme to improve my subject knowledge and to get ideas for how to deliver the content in a classroom, ready to begin teaching it next year. The quality of the sessions were excellent, and I found that the way the content was delivered made it really easy to access, especially since I did not have much prior knowledge of computer science,” he said.
“Now that I am also starting to pick up a couple of lessons of computer science, I am also enjoying the variety it adds to my week as I am not stuck just teaching one subject all the time. It works especially well with maths as I am now aware of more of the links between the two subjects, and have started using them to give my maths lessons a bit more of a link to the real world.
“Overall, the thing that I am most impressed with is the level of support I have received. I have gotten everything out of the course that I wanted to, but then also received extra support with regards to resources and getting in touch with my local computing hub, which I’m sure will be a huge help.”

Variety of courses

The NCCE offers residential and short, intensive courses in response to demand from teachers.
“We’ve listened to schools and launched our summer term of residential and intensive CPD with two or three day packages focused around the CSA programme. We have different opportunities available, for both new and experienced teachers.”
These are free for teachers in state-funded schools, and are also eligible for the generous CSA bursaries to enable schools to access staff development.
The courses are also an opportunity to meet like-minded colleagues and develop subject knowledge and teachers who complete the CSA should keep an eye out for invitations to our Summer Celebration events, being held at a number of exciting venues including Bletchley Park.
Support from experts

Support for schools to develop their Computing Department is also available from the NCCE’s Subject Matter Experts (SME) based at its 34 regional Computing Hubs across England with their bespoke School Engagement Programme.
The programme offers fully-funded consultancy and guidance to eligible schools and colleges, SME work with leaders and teachers to identify the needs of the school and then work with them to formulate an action plan for improving or delivering computing and computer science in their school or college. The programme is particularly valuable to schools which don’t yet offer Computer Science GCSE, and those which are at the early stages of developing their computing provision. A £1,400 bursary is available to schools which agree an action plan and £4,000 bursary support for  schools which commit to introducing Computer Science  GCSE for the first time. Again, these need to be claimed by the end of July.
“Our SMEs can create an Action Plan to suit each school, and help them to access the right training, and bursary support, to build a resilient computing department,” said Steve Clarke CSA Programme Manager at the NCCE.
“Many schools have only one computing teacher, but building capacity by training teachers with other specialisms, can help to build a resilient department.
“We’re keen to make sure that as many schools as possible access the funding available now, to enable them to build a strong computing department and for young people to study this exciting subject and access the career opportunities computing offers.”

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