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Subject Practitioner Panels: Gathering teacher voices

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The National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) exists to support computing educators in developing their subject knowledge, pedagogy, and practice, whilst helping to reduce their overall workload.

We work with Subject Practitioner Panels, panels of teachers from key stage 1 to key stage 5, to gather feedback and ideas and create channels of communication, to ensure that we can best meet the needs of computing educators. You can sign up for the panel here.

Each panel member spends between 10 and 15 hours working with the NCCE each year, discussing, reviewing, and providing feedback on our work. For the most part, time is spent focusing on content and discussions relating to specific education phases. For their time and commitment, members receive a modest honorarium, and have the opportunity to positively affect our programme, which in turn benefits thousands of other teachers.

The Subject Practitioner Panels have contributed to our work in a number of ways, for example, by providing feedback on the use of pseudocode on the Isaac Computer Science platform. Panel members advised that pseudocode is useful for teaching concepts to their learners, in addition to their learners needing to understand it for GCSE and A level exams. This valuable feedback helped ensure that pseudocode examples are included widely on the platform.

We interviewed a number of our current members to find out more about their experience of being a panel member.

In your own words, what is the Subject Practitioner Panel (SPP)?

“I’ve always wanted to go into teaching teachers, so I started looking at opportunities to gain experience of this. When the opportunity [arose] to make a difference to computer science teachers at a national level with the SPP, I jumped at it, so I could help support the fantastic teachers that are out there teaching computing.”

– Stasiu Kuczewski, KS3/4 panel member

What made you apply to join the panel?

“Working with the amazing Raspberry Pi Foundation team on the Teach Computing Curriculum allowed me to meet some fabulous people in the world of computing. The Subject Practitioner Panel has allowed me to develop these relationships further and has supported one of my professional aims — to support primary teachers in teaching high-quality computing lessons.”

– Jen McCulloch, KS1/2 panel member

What have you enjoyed most about being a panel member?

“I feel like I belong to a group that sensibly seeks to create a definitive computer science curriculum, based on the accumulated knowledge of as many members as possible. I feel like my contributions are taken note of and valued, but I’ve also been able to see things from the points of view of colleagues that work in different settings.”

– Joe Sharp, KS5 panel member

How does the Subject Practitioner Panel support your professional development?

“I learn something new at every meeting, whether that be from the speakers or other SPP members. Also, working with people from other key stages gives an interesting insight into where our primary children are going. Being able to say I am a member of the SPP opens other doors and people listen more intently to what I have to say, such as my recent contribution to the ‘Blackpool Digital Education Position Statement’ for the Blackpool School Improvement Board.”

– Claire Rawlinson, KS1/2 panel member

If you are a teacher in England and would like to help support the work of the NCCE, please express your interest in joining our panels here.