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Computing Clusters – supporting excellence in computing education

Teachers are the most important factor relating to the quality of education. To meet the ambition for an outstanding computing education for every young person in England, a collective and sustained collaborative approach is needed, involving teachers, subject leads and school leadership teams. To make a truly significant impact, collaborations that go beyond the school gates are vital.

What does great look like, in computing education?

It’s an important question, with a broad-ranging answer. The Computing Quality Framework (CQF) describes what we believe great computing education, in schools, looks like.

The CQF helps schools to self-assess the state of computing education provision along 7 dimensions:

  • Leadership and Vision
  • Curriculum and Qualifications
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Staff Development
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and SEND
  • Careers Education
  • Impact on Outcomes

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. That’s where high quality CPD, alongside our new Computing Clusters, come in.

Start with the CQF

Continued Professional Development

CPD is key for teachers looking to boost subject knowledge and develop classroom approaches that work. When planned strategically, by schools, CPD improves not just individual teachers but the quality of computing education across the team. The National Centre for Computing Education offers a range of CPD, leading to recognised teacher certification, across the whole computing curriculum. Our certification pathways are designed to help teachers achieve professional goals; and the CQF helps schools to plan for teachers to participate in the right CPD, contributing to the development of the whole teaching team.

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Computing Clusters – a shared endeavour

Computing Clusters are groups of 3-6 eligible schools, which receive targeted support in professional learning to make progress within the Computing Quality Framework over a 12-month period. These schools may already collaborate, perhaps as part of a trust of other school grouping; or they may simply share a common goal, such as increasing the number of young people gaining computing qualifications, or upskilling all teachers to improve outcomes.

Each Cluster (running from May 2023) will include £15k of 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 in the NCCE CPD 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 CPD 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.

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.

Contact us by emailing [email protected] to pre-register interest for our October cohort.