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Computing: supporting teacher trainees early is vital!

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High-quality support for the teaching of computing from primary through to secondary has never been more important to young people, as the world of digital and technology skills is embedded into every sector within the world of work. It is also known that half of all IT/ computer science teachers in England don’t have a post A level qualification that is directly relevant to IT and so schools are eager for teachers with a strong computing and digital literacy skills understanding to help deliver the requirements of the curriculum.

The National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), funded by the Department for Education, has enabled significant investment in improving the provision of computing education in England. So how can we make a difference? Continuing Professional Development (CPD) gives teachers the chance to learn new skills that aren't always fully covered during teacher training, particularly in computing.

Exciting, inspirational training allows trainee teachers to understand the core skills in computing, relevant to the curriculum and learn strategies for helping pupils to achieve their full potential.

The NCCE offers an extensive range of training, resources and support covering key elements of the curriculum at every key stage, catering for all levels of subject knowledge and experience.

How does CPD help teacher trainees? Trainee teachers can keep pace with the current standards, build their knowledge and skills, so they can deliver high-quality teaching and impact positively on pupil outcomes while enhancing their professional practice.

Kent based Computing Hub: Making a difference to teacher trainees through Kent and Medway Training

Dartford Grammar School Computing Hub, one of thirty-four Computing Hubs across England, has developed a strategic partnership with the School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) at Kent and Medway Training (KMT) by offering computing specific CPD based on the needs of their current cohort. Working with the Director of Initial Teacher Training (ITT), a tailored programme of computing support is having an impact on teacher knowledge, confidence and effectiveness in the classroom.

CPD courses were scheduled in KMT’s fortnightly subject-specific training sessions, initially resulting in 7 trainee teachers, across 7 different schools being supported. An additional 61 primary trainees from across 45 different schools will now take part in scheduled CPD during the summer term.

KMT has also expressed interest in continued support into the next academic year with a whole new trainee group, including PE and DT teachers, allowing a teacher to develop an additional specialism. KMT stated: “This training and development will enable primary trainee teachers to develop their competence in the teaching of computing across the primary phase.

Primary trainees will have an outstanding opportunity to become effective teachers of primary computing and make links with STEM Learning and NCCE before their NQT year. Ultimately 1000s of children will benefit from effective teaching.”

Furthermore, in terms of secondary teacher trainees, KMT stated “KMT provides a subject studies programme for secondary computer science trainees. The content is not only to enhance the subject knowledge of the trainees but also to give support and guidance on the subject pedagogy. The sessions cover the delivery of key concepts, addressing how to deliver these effectively and appropriately to the different age groups at secondary level.

Resources are provided to assist trainees to develop their planning and delivery of these concepts. Additionally, the sessions guide trainees on age-appropriate terminology to help explain complex concepts covered by the subject to the students they will teach.” Dartford Grammar School, one of the Teach Computing Hubs, have been working with KMT to help provide computer science training to 62 of its trainees.

For senior school leaders, the importance of effective CPD for teaching staff is obvious. As the DfE’s 'Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development' states ‘effective professional development for teachers is a core part of securing effective teaching’. High-quality CPD for teachers has a significant effect on pupils’ learning outcomes. CPD programmes can close the gap between beginner and more experienced teachers and their impact on pupil outcomes.

Arguably, there is increasing evidence that quality CPD has a greater effect on pupil attainment than other interventions schools may consider, while available high-quality CPD has been shown to improve retention problems, including early-career teachers, helping to alleviate acute retention problems for early-career teachers, country-wide.

Computer science CPD programmes that make allowances for workload, including the development of shorter CPD courses, are likely to be more effective, ensuring the offer is attractive, curriculum relevant and minimises the demands placed on incredibly busy teachers, especially as we emerge from COVID-19.

Next steps

Want to find out more about our CPD and how to get started? You can start your journey now by enrolling with us or take a look at our support for primary and secondary teachers.

What's more, the CSA programme is free for Trainee Teachers and are eligible for a deferred bursary of £920 which means once they gain employment, their school will receive the bursary.