Posts Tagged ‘Wales’
University ranking season is upon us once again — this week saw the publication of the Guardian University Guide 2014. In the Computer Sciences and IT category, there has been significant movement in the top 10, especially comparing against the 2013 table:
|1.||↑||University of Birmingham||(7th)|
|2.||↑||University of Glasgow||(8th)|
|3.||↑||Imperial College London||(4th)|
|4.||↑||University of Bristol||(5th)|
|5.||↓||University of Southampton||(3rd)|
|6.||↑||University of Sheffield||(10th)|
|7.||↑||University of Bath||(11th)|
|8.||↓||University of Cambridge||(1st)|
|10.||↑||University of Warwick||(13th)|
As always, of particular interest to me were the Welsh rankings:
|88.||↓||Cardiff Metropolitan University||(64th)|
(N.B. no data was available for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the recently formed University of South Wales)
Looking at the table headings and the methodology, research does not feature as one of the ranking metrics, while student satisfaction (in particular, indicators from the National Student Survey) features highly; as you can see from last year’s university guides, the different metrics and weightings can change the ordering somewhat.
The Public Policy Institute is a Programme for Government commitment that seeks to develop independent sources of expert policy advice for the Welsh Government. It will improve the robustness of policy in Wales and make the Welsh Government a more intelligent customer in terms of research and advice.
Following an open, competitive process, initiated last autumn, applications were received from a range of parties and were assessed by a panel independently chaired by Professor Frances Ruane of the Dublin Economic and Social Research Institute. The evaluation has concluded and I have been able to appoint Cardiff University to run the Public Policy Institute which will include a network of experts drawn from Universities, think tanks and other research organisations from across Wales, the UK and beyond. Organisations already recruited to the network include research groups based in Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Liverpool and Swansea Universities. This is the beginning of a wider network of economic, social and environmental experts, including those from outside of Wales.
The Public Policy Institute contract will be for an initial three-year period, subject to a process of evaluation and review, and will have an annual budget of £450,000. The Institute will be led in the interim by Professor Steve Martin while a permanent Director is appointed. I expect the Institute to be launched operationally in the autumn.
As mentioned above, the creation of a Welsh Public Policy Institute is a Programme for Government commitment, with the aim of guiding the reform and improvement of public services. This is a great result for Cardiff University, who will be working with research groups from Aberystwyth, Bangor, South Wales, Liverpool and Swansea universities, as well as the think tanks The Bevan Foundation, the Institute of Welsh Affairs and Wales Public Services 2025.
In light of the significant commitments made by the Welsh Government for science in Wales, especially from a policy perspective, let’s hope that there is a clear theme of science and technology in this new Public Policy Institute for Wales.
Computer science touches upon all three of my education priorities: literacy, numeracy and bridging the gap. It equips learners with the problem-solving skills so important in life and work.
The value of computational thinking, problem-solving skills and information literacy is huge, across all subjects in the curriculum. I therefore believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn concepts and principles from computer science.
Indeed, computing is a high priority area for growth in Wales. The future supply and demand for science, technology and mathematics graduates is essential if Wales is to compete in the global economy.
It is therefore vitally important that every child in Wales has the opportunity to study computer science.
Leighton Andrews AM, Minister for Education and Skills (June 2012)
As co-chair of the Welsh Government’s ICT Steering Group, announced in January to consider the future of ICT and computer science in Welsh schools, we are currently inviting stakeholder views as part of a wider open consultation.
Please participate by completing the official online survey (available in English and Welsh) by Friday 10th May 2013.
|1.||↔||University of Cambridge||(1st)|
|2.||↑||Imperial College London||(3rd)|
|3.||↓||University of Oxford||(2nd)|
|4.||↑||University of Glasgow||(9th)|
|5.||↓||University of Bristol||(4th)|
|6.||↑||University of Exeter||(15th)|
|7.||↑||University of Birmingham||(16th)|
|8.||↓||University College London||(6th)|
|9.||↑||University of York||(10th)|
|10.||↓||University of Warwick||(8th)|
As always, the rankings for Wales institutions in Computer Science were of particular interest to me:
|76.||↓||University of Glamorgan||(63rd)|
|89.||↓||Cardiff Metropolitan University||(88th)|
N.B. no data was available for Swansea Metropolitan University or the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (who merged in 2012), or for the University of Wales, Newport (who recently merged with the University of Glamorgan to form the University of South Wales.
The Complete University Guide’s methodology for the subject league tables are based on four measures: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment, Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects. To qualify for inclusion in a subject table, a university has to have data for at least two of the four measures; a blank in the Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects columns is not a zero score but rather denotes that no valid data were available.
On 19 November, I chaired a seminar to consider the future of computer science and ICT in schools in Wales. The seminar was attended by representatives from a range of key stakeholders including schools, the National Digital Learning Council, Further Education, Higher Education, awarding organisations, industry and the media.
Following a lively and engaging discussion, there were a number of key themes that emerged that I am keen to consider further, they include:
- ‘ICT’ in schools needs to be re-branded, re-engineered and made relevant to now and to the future;
- Digital literacy is the start and not the end point — learners need to be taught to create as well as to consume;
- Computer science should be introduced at primary school and developed over the course of the curriculum so that learners can progress into a career pathway in the sector.
- Skills, such as creative problem-solving, should be reflected in the curriculum; and,
- Revised qualifications need to be developed in partnership with schools, Higher Education and industry.
I have established a Steering Group to take forward consideration of the future of computer science and ICT in schools. The group will consider the key findings of the seminar, develop proposals in relation to their implementation, and provide a report on the way forward.
The membership of the Steering Group is comprised of representatives from a cross-section of key stakeholders and includes:
- Chair: Stuart Arthur (Box UK)
- Chair: Dr Tom Crick (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
- Chair: Janet Hayward (Cadoxton Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan)
- Gareth Edmondson (Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr, Swansea)
- Simon Pridham (Casllwchwr Primary School, Swansea)
- Lucy Bunce (Y Pant Comprehensive School, Rhondda Cynon Taff)
- Maldwyn Pryse (Estyn)
- Peter Sishton (e-skills UK)
- Chris Britten (Ashgrove Special School, Vale of Glamorgan)
- Glyn Rogers (Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Pontypool)
- Ben Lidgey (Monitise)
- Charlie Godfrey (Fujitsu)
- Professor Khalid Al-Begain (University of Glamorgan)
- Hannah Mathias (St David’s College, Cardiff)
- Professor Faron Moller (Swansea University)
The group will report to me by July 2013 and provide recommendations on the way forward.
The recommendations will inform the wider review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales, which I announced on 1 October. Any necessary changes will be considered as part of any revisions to the National Curriculum in Wales.
This is a hugely positive step by the Welsh Government, especially in light on the wider review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales (as well as the recently published 14-19 Review of Qualifications); it also complements the activities of the National Digital Learning Council. I am very much looking forward to co-chairing this review and developing a modern, rigorous and challenging ICT curriculum for Wales.
The ICT sector in Wales is a driving force in both economic development and wider social change and it encourages productivity and competiveness across the economy. The sector in Wales is global and dynamic and includes a wide range of companies from blue-chip corporates through to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises across IT services, software, telecommunications and electronics.
In this context, I am determined to ensure that learners progressing through our education system have the skills required to work in and contribute to the sector.
There has been a significant decline in the number of learners taking the GCSE ICT course in Wales and I am aware that some employers have expressed concern over what is being taught in schools, that young people are being ‘switched off’ careers in the sector, and that they lack the necessary skills. There is a risk that the current curriculum is failing to provide young people with relevant skills.
On 1 October 2012, I announced a review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales. The review aims to streamline and simplify assessment arrangements and consider the National Curriculum core and other foundation subjects at each stage, to ensure that our expectations of content and skills developments are suitably robust.
As part of this wider review, the time is right to consider the future of computer science and ICT in schools in Wales. I will begin this process by chairing a seminar on 19 November, which will bring together some of the key players in Wales to discuss the future of ICT in schools.
I have invited representatives from the National Digital Learning Council, Further Education, Higher Education, and industry to contribute to what I hope will be a lively and informative debate on the best way forward and how to ensure that Wales is well placed to play a leading role in the global economy of the future.
I have been invited to this meeting on the 19th, so I hope to have more information in a couple of weeks.
Significant progress has been made by Computing At School (CAS) in supporting computer science education in the Wales over the past two years: a strategic partnership with the Technocamps project in 2010, a successful inaugural CAS Wales/Technocamps conference in July 2011, a strategic information pack sent to all state-maintained secondary schools in Wales in April 2012, the announcement by the Welsh Government’s Minister for Education and Skills of a £3m investment in computer science and digital literacy at the 2012 CAS Wales/Technocamps conference in June, the launch of CAS Online, the new community website and the first official Codeacademy partnership in Western Europe: Codecademy Cymru.
Lucy Bunce (@loobey41), Y Pant School, Pontyclun
Gareth Edmondson (@welshgje), Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, Gowerton
Roger Boyle, Aberystwyth University
Vic Grout (@vicgrout), Glyndŵr University, Wrexham
Dave Perkins (@daveshorts), Bangor University
Dale Jones (@spookingdorf), John Beddoes School, Presteigne
At the start of this year, I asked whether 2012 would be the year of computer science; I think there is a lot more to come in 2013! Please join CAS (it’s free), get in contact with your local Hub and keep an eye on the upcoming CAS events…and if you think there is enough activity and support to start a new CAS Wales Hub near you, then please get in contact.
Fancy joining Mike Bloomberg (Mayor of New York), New York University and millions of people across the world (including the people of Colombia) in learning how to code? While learning how to program should be the start, not the end, 2012 seems like a pretty good year to do this.
Codecademy, one of the largest online interactive platforms for learning how to code, think the same way as Computing At School: everyone should be exposed to programming and computer science — especially kids. Codecademy can help you learn how to program, create your own courses and support programming in schools. And this is where Codecademy is partnering with CAS Wales: Codecademy Cymru — to create a bespoke and adaptable environment to support the teaching of Computer Science and ICT in schools across Wales — the first official Codecademy collaboration in Western Europe!
Codecademy is really excited to partner with teachers in Wales to make the learning and teaching of coding easier than it has ever been before. It is fantastic that the Computing At School teachers have embraced Codecademy, and we look forward to seeing the results from the students!
Zach Sims, CEO and co-founder of Codecademy
Interested? Please complete the Codecademy Cymru expression of interest form.
In September 2011, Leighton Andrews AM, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Education and Skills, set up an external task and finish group to consider “which digital classroom delivery aspects should be adopted to
transform learning and teaching” for those aged 3–19. The Digital Classroom Teaching Task and Finish Group report (Find it, make it, use it, share it: learning in digital Wales) was published in March, with ten headline recommendations. Prior to the Minister giving a keynote talk at the 2012 CAS Wales/Technocamps conference in June, a Written Statement was released outlining the plan of action to improve performance in Wales’ schools through the use of digital technology; namely:
- The launch of a new bilingual learning platform for Wales, called Hwb, which will provide a platform for learners and teachers to share resources, knowledge and experience across the whole of Wales.
- The creation of a National Digital Collection which will include a repository for thousands of curriculum and good practice resources for teachers and learners to upload, share and use.
- Encouraging the use of iTunes U to showcase the best educational resources and activities in Wales.
- The sponsorship of an annual National Digital Event to raise the profile of digital technology in education and of Welsh achievements in this field.
- Additional professional development for teachers and other education staff to support the teaching of computer science and IT, building on the new enthusiasm around the development of products such as the Raspberry Pi and .NET Gadgeteer to encourage young people into future studies and careers in computing.
- The establishment of Digital Leaders, who will be drawn from the best practitioners using digital technology in Wales.
- The creation of a new National Digital Learning Council to provide expert guidance on the use of digital technology in teaching and learning in Wales.
With regards to the National Digital Learning Council (as per the Minister’s Written Statement):
I am establishing a National Digital Learning Council to provide expert and strategic guidance on the use of digital technology in teaching and learning in Wales. The remit of the Council will be to guide the implementation of the learning in digital Wales programme and to promote and support the use of digital resources and technologies by learners and teachers. The Council will work closely with the School Practitioner Panel which I announced in March 2012.
The Council will start work in September 2012. The membership of the Council will be drawn from schools, further education and the skills sector in Wales. In order to ensure that there is a strong learner voice in the Council, I have also agreed that a pool of associate members will be established, comprised of learners from primary schools, secondary schools and further education colleges.
In addition, the work of the Council will be supported by a number of professional advisors from higher education and industry.
- Chair: Janet Hayward (Headteacher, Cadoxton Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan)
- Dr Tom Crick (Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Chair in Wales, Computing At School)
- Robert Newsome OBE (Headteacher, Dyffryn Taf School, Carmarthenshire)
- Sue Burnett (University of Glamorgan)
- Maldwyn Pryse (Estyn)
- Geraint James (ADEW ICT, Director of Education, Conwy)
- Simon Pridham (Headteacher, Casllwchwr Primary School, Swansea)
- Hannah Mathias (St David’s Catholic College, Cardiff)
- Peter Sishton (Director for Wales, e-skills UK)
- Chris Britten (Headteacher, Ashgrove Special School, Vale of Glamorgan)
Supported by the following expert advisors:
- Professor Stephen Molyneux (Apple Education)
- Professor Gary Beauchamp (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
- Professor Iram Siraj-Blatchford (University of London)
- Professor Faron Moller (Swansea University)
A team of eight Digital Leaders will start in January 2013, acting as online champions of digital technology in teaching and learning:
- Jane Altham-Watkins (Cardiff Education Advisory Service)
- Martin Austin (Ysgol Sant Elfod, Abergele)
- Alex Clewett (Flint High School, Flint)
- Matthew Geary (NGfL Cymru)
- Sonia McLaughlin (Vale of Glamorgan Council)
- Dilwyn Owen (Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg, Barry)
- Glyn Rogers (Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Pontypool)
- Peter Thomas (St John Baptist CIW High School, Aberdare)
The first meeting of the National Digital Learning Council is tomorrow in Llandrindnod Wells; I look forward to serving on the Council (with a priority focus for me being CPD funding for ICT teachers to teach computer science) and blogging about its activities over the next few months.