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National Centre for Computing Education to expand its training programme to support even more teachers to teach GCSE computer science

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The National Centre for Computing Education is to welcome many more teachers to its flagship training programme, increasing the number of teachers able to deliver GCSE computer science.

Its Computer Science Accelerator (CSA) programme supports teachers to build their skills, increase their subject knowledge and confidence in order to teach GCSE computer science.

Now trainee teachers, supply teachers and teachers wishing to return to the profession will be able to join the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) Computer Science Accelerator programme, and access the free continuous professional development, support and training they need to teach computer science GCSE.

Support to join the Computer Science Accelerator programme is already available to existing computing or computer science teachers from state-funded secondary, primary and middle schools, and state-funded FE colleges. This eligibility criteria has now been expanded to include:

  • Trainee teachers who may wish to additionally specialise in computing and computer science
  • Computing trainees who want to top up their subject knowledge and gain a nationally recognised certificate
  • Supply teachers that regularly teach computer science
  • Returning teachers that will teach computer science
  • Serving teachers at state-funded schools who are not currently teaching computing or computer science but who may wish to retrain and switch subject

The NCCE aims to increase the number of pupils in schools and colleges who study computer science at GCSE and A level, particularly girls, and those from disadvantaged areas. This means ensuring that there are enough teachers equipped and confident to teach computer science. The decision to open the programme to even more teachers is an important milestone for the centre which launched almost 18 months ago.

Chair of the NCCE Academic Board, Professor Simon Peyton Jones said: “This is a really exciting change for the programme. It will mean that a much broader cohort of teachers who want to develop the knowledge and skills to be able to teach computer science at GCSE, can take advantage of the free CPD available in the CSA programme.

“The NCCE’s goal is to help computing teachers, regardless of their background, to become confident, skilled and inspirational educators to teach the new computing curriculum, so that their students will be equipped to meet the challenges of the future.”

A NCCE bursary of £4,000 will also be available to schools and colleges to offer GCSE computer science. The GCSE subject is not mandatory in schools and it's hoped this incentive will encourage more to provide it as an option. Schools must not have offered the GCSE in the previous 12 months to be eligible.

Steve Clarke, CSA Programme Manager, NCCE, said: “It’s great to now be able to offer access to the programme to many more budding computer science teachers, including trainee teachers as well as teachers who want to benefit from computer science as an additional specialism.

“The Computer Science Accelerator Programme is flexible and tailored to suit teachers' needs. There's a range of modules to choose, so teachers can select the areas where they need the most support. And if you’re completely new to the subject that’s fine too, we support you on your whole professional development journey.”