In March, the BCS Academy of Computing and Computing at School (CAS) sent an information pack (zipped) to every state secondary school in England, in order to explain the opportunities they would have from September 2012 to develop Computer Science as a rigorous academic component within a reformed ICT curriculum. The supporting materials in the information pack provides comprehensive information that should help head teachers and school governors make the right decisions:
- Covering letter, explaining the current situation and key strategic choices for schools to teach Computer Science;
- A summary of the Royal Society report Computing in Schools: Shut down or restart?;
- Computer Science as a school subject, draws on the experience of CAS and explains what Computer Science is, and why it is strategically important;
- Computer Science: A curriculum for schools, is the CAS curriculum for Computer Science, mentioned by Michael Gove in January’s BETT speech, written by a group of teachers, academics and industry researchers, and endorsed by BCS, Microsoft, Google and Intellect;
- As examples of the wealth of high-quality material that is available to support Computer Science teaching, copies of the latest CAS newsletter and cs4fn magazine.
Alongside the information pack was the announcement of the Network of Computer Science Teaching Excellence, to create a network of schools and universities across the UK to advance teaching excellence in Computer Science. Schools that are members of the network of excellence will:
- be offered enhanced and heavily subsidised CPD for a teacher in their school;
- be part of a regional teaching hub for sharing good practice and offering grassroots organised CPD;
- have regular contact with university Computer Science departments to support and inspire teaching material;
- be expected to teach Computer Science at Key Stage 3 or 4 as a catalyst for a renewed Computing curriculum as recommended by the Royal Society, which is benchmarked against the CAS curriculum;
- have opportunities for showcasing their teaching practices and experiences at national conferences;
- be proactively consulted for their views and opinions for future campaigns related to education policy.
The centres of excellence would become part of a national network for establishing best practice and spearheading innovative teaching in Computer Science, with ongoing support from CAS, the universities in the network and BCS. We need key schools spread across the UK to kickstart this initiative; as you can see from the map below (click for a live update), it has already generated a huge amount of interest, with over 400 schools registering interest.
The Network of Computer Science Teaching Excellence is open to all schools across the UK — register your interest here* and spread the word; by creating this national network and providing effective CPD for teachers, there is a prime opportunity to have a profound effect on Computer Science education in the UK.
*there will be some flexibility on the 30th April deadline…