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Computing Clusters – supporting excellence in computing education

Collaborations that go beyond the school gates are vital to meet the ambition for an outstanding computing education. Computing clusters are a way for teachers, subject leads and school leadership teams to work together to achieve a shared goal that contributes to NCCE’s vision of high-quality computing education for all young people.

Through the programme, groups of 3-8 schools will receive funded and targeted support in professional learning to make progress within the Computing Quality Framework over a 12-month period. The participating schools will:

  • develop teacher subject knowledge and pedagogical understanding
  • work towards achieving a Computing Quality Mark
  • collaborate with other schools in the cluster and share knowledge

The schools in each Cluster are supported by a specialist Advisor with a sustained programme of interventions that includes collaborative workgroups, coaching and mentoring, bespoke interventions, and facilitated drop-in sessions. Teachers involved will be upskilled to provide sustained support of other teachers within the Cluster.

Here is what a Primary Lead at one of the cluster participating schools trusts has said:

"[By being part a Computing Cluster] leads have been able to develop their own pedagogical understanding of how to lead computing and confidently deliver professional development to their colleagues. The curriculum reviews, in particular, have been helpful in shaping and refining the quality of what is being delivered. The sessions hosted by the advisor have been useful in answering collective issues and our primaries have been given wider access and knowledge about a range of effective tools and platforms to help meet the more nuanced areas of the curriculum. Overall, confidence of leads has grown; the PD offer in academies has been enhanced; and the quality of what is being delivered and how resources/online tools are being used is much, much better."

Computing Clusters are aimed at those schools most in need, particularly those who are within Education Investment Areas, or those with lower-than-average attainment at GCSE or who are not yet offering GCSE Computer Science.

Express your interest and join a Cluster starting September 2024.

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Where does the improvement start?

Self-evaluation is the first step to improvement – to solve problems and make changes, it’s vital to know where strengths and weaknesses lie. There’s a massive difference between understanding the state of computing education and being able to do something about improving it. The Computing Quality Framework (CQF) helps schools to self-assess the state of computing education provision along 7 dimensions - complete yours now.

Each Cluster will include funded support, facilitated by expertly-trained specialists:

  • a dedicated advisor able to work with school and subject leaders to develop an action plan meeting the needs of each school
  • collaborative workgroups comprising subject teachers supported to plan, implement and reflect upon evidence-supported approaches to meet priorities over an extended period
  • coaching or mentoring for subject leaders who nominate themselves for it, ensuring professional integrity and discretion, to build leadership capacity and impact on other teachers and young people
  • online and in-person drop-in workshops in which participants are supported to implement interventions and practices in the classroom, maximising and evaluating the benefits
  • support for other bespoke interventions, such as participation in subject-team meetings; classroom observation and feedback; curriculum implementation and adaptation, and other proven approaches to educational improvement

Cluster schools will be supported to access collaborative workshops from their local Computing Hub and the wider network. Help will be provided enabling schools to access the full range of support from the NCCE, STEM Learning and partners, including STEM Ambassadors, curriculum enrichment opportunities, student events and placements and much more. Teachers will participate in a rich community of practice online, learning from others – including subject experts across the NCCE – and gaining support to make positive changes.

At the end of the 12-month programme, schools will assess progress made using the Computing Quality Framework – providing tangible proof, to all stakeholders, of the commitment to improving the quality of computing education. The cluster team will support schools to disseminate and share successes, building stronger local and national connections across the computing community.

The NCCE supports the teaching of computing, from individual lesson resources to whole-school strategic planning. Join a Computing Cluster to supercharge your commitment to professional development and learning, and see the change happen before your eyes.

Improving computing education at all levels

The NCCE supports the teaching of computing, from individual lesson resources to whole-school strategic planning. Join a Computing Cluster to supercharge your commitment to professional development and learning, and see the change happen before your eyes.