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BT Funding extends Barefoot Project in partnership with BCS
19 Jan 2015
With almost 3000 teachers from over 800 different schools in England having received training via the Barefoot Computing Project since its launch last summer, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is pleased to announce that the scheme is to be extended. BT has agreed to support the project from March until the end of this school year. The project was originally funded by the Department for Education to from Sept 2014 to March 2015.
Led by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT in partnership with BT, and initially funded by the Department for Education - the Barefoot project supports primary school teachers to teach the new computing curriculum which became compulsory in schools throughout England last September. The scheme provides cross-curricular computer science resources and training for primary school teachers with no previous computer science knowledge. The initiative is being supported through a programme of free in-school computing workshops for primary school teachers across England.
Pat Hughes, Project Leader for Barefoot Computing said:
“The announcement that BT is providing funding to extend the Barefoot project is great news. The scheme has proved to be popular so far. As well as training thousands of teachers there have been 6000 registrations to the Barefoot website with 2500 new teacher registrations in the last two months. Barefoot helps teachers understand ideas and concepts such as algorithms, abstraction and data structures, how they occur naturally in many other disciplines that they also teach, and how they can teach them to children starting from age 5.”
School Reform Minister, Nick Gibb said:
“I am delighted that BT is extending the successful Barefoot project, providing innovative support for primary teachers on the new computing curriculum. This is an excellent example of industry working together with schools to support teachers - ensuring pupils leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.”
Clive Selley, CEO of BT Technology, Services and Operations said:
“Computing is a very important skill for BT and through our engagement with schools we’ve seen that children really enjoy it and that it can have a profound impact on other STEM subjects. We’re proud to be partnering with Barefoot Computing and that the workshops BT and other volunteers across England have been involved have been such a success; it’s great to hear from teachers that the programme has boosted their confidence. The programme is due to end in March, but given its popularity to date, BT is pleased to announce it will be working with BCS and Computing At School (CAS) to ensure that it continues to run through the summer term.”
The Barefoot training workshops are run by volunteer professionals from the IT/computing and education sectors, these events introduce the new computing curriculum to teachers and explain the support available to them through Barefoot and other related projects.
Pat Hughes continued:
“This programme of events will help equip teachers with the skills and knowledge needed to incorporate the computer science elements of the new computing curriculum into their lessons. By providing high quality cross-curricular computer science resources for primary school teachers, supported by explanations of the key computing concepts, we are providing support for teachers who may have little previous knowledge of computer science. A lot of teachers are already introducing many of these concepts in to their classrooms without realising it and we want them to see that it’s not as complicated as they may think.”
For more information about Barefoot Computing visit: barefootcas.org.uk
New computing support for teachers
15 Jan 2015
If you’re still getting to grips with the new computing curriculum that started in September QuickStart Computing may well provide essential support and help.
Quickstart Computing is a free CPD toolkit that can help you to plan, teach and assess the new curriculum.
QuickStart Computing is produced by Computing At School and funded by the Department for Education and Microsoft.
QuickStart Computing lets you develop and run CPD and training sessions in your school and cluster to help all teachers with this brand new subject. It includes a downloadable teachers’ handbook, links to resources, online videos and interactive tools.
So, whether you need to understand the basics, assess your knowledge or get inspiring ideas for the classroom, QuickStart Computing is a valuable free resource.
For more information and to access QuickStart Computing visit: www.quickstartcomputing.org
Switched ON! Winter/Spring 2015 published
09 Jan 2015
The latest issue of Switched ON is now available, bursting with 28 pages of content. This issue has a special focus on the ideas of Seymour Papert, father of Logo.
More details are available here.
CAS Scoops Education Award
04 Dec 2014
In recognition of its initiatives promoting computing in primary and secondary schools, Computing At School (CAS) has won the 2014 Informatics Europe Best Practices in Education Award.
The award is a prestigious recognition of a world-class initiative in computing education and is presented by Informatics Europe, the association of computer science departments and research laboratories in Europe.
Simon Humphreys, National Coordinator, CAS, who was presented with the award at the 10th European Computer Science Summit, in Wroclaw, Poland said:
We are delighted to receive this prestigious award from Infomatics Europe. It is fantastic to have our work as a community of teachers and professionals recognised in this way. Computing affects almost everything we do and it is important that children learn about the fundamentals of computer science from an early age. It is therefore vital that we support teachers delivering the new computing curriculum by helping them gain the skills and knowledge they need to inspire future generations - and ensure they have an excellent computing education.
The 2014 Award, sponsored by Microsoft, is devoted to curriculum initiatives promoting informatics education in primary and secondary schools. It recognises a successful teaching effort in Europe that:
- has made a measurable difference in informatics education in schools
- is widely applicable and useful for the teaching community
- has made a measurable impact in its original institution and beyond it
Carlo Ghezzi, President of Informatics Europe added:
The emphasis that the new English National Curriculum places on teaching computer science as a foundational discipline (like maths or science) rather than a vocationally-oriented technology subject is in full agreement with Informatics Europe’s mission, and in particular with our report “Informatics Education: Europe cannot afford to miss the boat” and our Committee on European Computing Education. We know that CAS’s achievements have only been possible through its partnership with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, together with support from the Department for Education, and we praise the contribution that the organisation has made to the reform of the computing curriculum.
The UK is now, in effect, establishing computing as a brand-new school subject, from primary school onwards. Doing so requires a major, sustained programme of teacher training, and our award is partly based on CAS’s leadership in doing so. The rest of Europe is watching with great interest what the UK has done, and looks forward to observing further progress.
Computing At School provides leadership and strategic guidance to all those involved in Computing education in schools, with a significant, but not exclusive focus on the Computer Science theme within the wider Computing curriculum. Through its network of teachers, local hubs, Master Teachers and University Partners it is providing workshops and resources to support local teachers, and build their confidence and skills for the new Computing curriculum.
For more information about CAS visit: www.computingatschool.org.uk
For more information about Informatics Europe visit: www.informatics-europe.org
For more information about the Best Practices in Education Award visit:
New Issue of Switched On Published
08 Sep 2014
The latest issue of Switched On is now available for download. It is packed full of wonderful articles and ideas to help teachers in both primary and secondary deliver the new curriculum
Thanks as always to our editor, Roger Davies. The newsletter is entirely composed of contributions from our members. If you have material you would like to share, please contact Roger via firstname.lastname@example.org
CAS Resources - help needed
13 Aug 2014
Earlier this year we implemented a new taxonomy for categorising the many hundreds of user contributed resources to this site. We need your help to categorise these resources using this taxonomy. Anyone can edit the categories, so if you have a few spare minutes to donate to CAS, please pick a few resources and categorise them.
We have had a huge growth in the number of resources on the site: now over 2000! We need to make sure people can quickly navigate to the resources they need. So we have replaced “sets” with “categories”. These are a hierarchy of classifications for a resource, for example English Curriculum > Key Stage 2 > Programming. Resources can (and almost all should) be in multiple categories. You can then use the filter sidebar on the resource index to select which categories you want to browse. We do have a startup problem though: we need to classify the existing resources into categories!
Until we have classified a decent amount of resources, the browsing interface will be pointless. So if you have created a resource, please take a few minutes to classify them, to help others browse to them easily. Anyone can edit the categories, so if you have a few spare minutes to donate to CAS, please pick a few resources and categorise them. Thank you!
CAS/BCS Certificate of Computing Education
26 Jul 2014
Computing At School offers a unique accreditation for teachers of Computing, providing professional recognition offered and accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.
There is now a considerable amount of CPD available to teachers through the Network of Excellence (Master Teachers and universities offering low-cost training) and other providers. Teachers of Computing who have previously taught ICT are undertaking significant amounts of CPD to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to teach the new curriculum. It is important to acknowledge and recognise the significant amount of professional development that teachers have been engaged in in order to be able to deliver the new Computing qualifications and the new curriculum. Teachers need professional recognition that they are competent teachers of the the computer science elements of Computing and this certificate provides that!
OCR Controlled Assessments
01 Jul 2014
Many teachers of OCR GCSE Computing will be aware of the notice posted on the OCR website regarding controlled assessment tasks recently. The original notice has been withdrawn and the resolution of the situation is explained in this latest release from OCR (see below).
We have been very conscious of the uncertainty for all concerned and have been in contact with OCR expressing our concern as well as offering assistance to move this forward. I am sure our concerns were with the students who might have been affected had OCR withdrawn the controlled assessments.
There has been a very active forum thread about this
The latest announcement from OCR is copied below:
J275 GCSE COMPUTING: UNITS A452 AND A453 CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT
“__The availability of model answers to live controlled assessment tasks for two units of GCSE Computing J275 on a number of public websites means OCR has had to act so that the assessment is not compromised and all students receive the result they deserve.
One course of action that OCR follows if sensitive information such as this is available is to ask public websites to remove the information as soon as possible. After a school got in touch last week to raise its concerns, OCR reviewed the options in line with regulatory requirements.
We have now completed that review - and while there is no suggestion of widespread malpractice - we have to act to avoid the slightest possibility that one candidate could gain an unfair advantage over another. As a result, we have decided that with immediate effect OCR will withdraw the existing controlled assessment tasks and will be replacing them for the next academic year on Interchange by 15 September 2014. To avoid penalising the vast majority of hard-working students and teachers, those candidates who have completed or just started their controlled assessment tasks with entries in June 2015 will still be able to submit their work. Schools and colleges will however be asked to submit the names of their candidates and the tasks for each unit by the end of September, and we will be in touch over the coming weeks with further details. OCR’s examiners will be extra vigilant when overseeing the marking process and
will use a range of tools to ensure that no candidate has gained an unfair advantage.
We apologise for the disruption caused by this decision, and for an earlier communication posted in error on our website on Friday before today’s decision was reached.
If you have any queries about this notice, please contact the Customer Contact Centre on 01223 553998.__”
I am pleased that this is the outcome and students who had already completed, or are just starting will not be penalised. There are clearly wider issues relating to controlled assessments and indeed assessment of Computing in general and we hope this forum will remain a suitable place to discuss such issues.
Computing in the national curriculum: A guide for secondary teachers
11 Jun 2014
Stop Press! The Secondary Computing Guidance has been released! This has been developed by Computing At School to help secondary school teachers get to grips with the new curriculum for computing.
The guide demystifies the programme of study and gives easy to follow support for planning, teaching and assessing computing. Printed copies will be arriving in schools towards the end of June (so look out for them!) but please freely share this digital copy with colleagues. We hope you find it useful as you prepare for September!
29 May 2014
CAS #include is the working group for encouraging students from a wide variety of backgrounds to study Computing. We are pleased to invite you and your students to another Computing workshop day on Saturday 28th June at the Royal High School, Bath.
Bring your students along to experience three exciting workshops which could include piloting a drone, programming a wearable circuit board or making music! Perhaps they would enjoy creating a game with Greenfoot, completely taking apart a computer, learning some sorting algorithms or visualising data using a Kinect?
All of the details are on our Eventbrite page, and the event is only £5 per student which includes lunch and refreshments, and accompanying adults are free.
Registration for Scottish PLAN C local hubs now open
04 Jun 2014
With 50 lead teachers in local authorities across Scotland able to provide regular meetings within reasonable travelling distance of your school we’re now ready to open registration for the PLAN C local hubs. All of the local hubs will have started after the summer holidays with a few having their first meeting in June and the rest starting in mid August to early September.
Based on the feedback from CAS Scotland members, we’ve created a programme that is local and face to face, draws on the latest CS education research and is illustrated with example activities you could use when teaching the new Nationals, the old Computing or new Higher Computing Science qualifications.
This is the largest coordinated programme of inservice professional learning specifically for Computing there has ever been and it represents a unique, once in a career opportunity for us to come together and work to help reinvent Computing in the eyes of pupils, parents and our other teaching colleagues. It also provides ample evidence for GTCS professional update requirements and certification by the BCS Academy of Computing as well as access to a range of editable materials and online support.
You can register to take part in a local group by visiting http://www.casscotland.org.uk/takepart/ and we’d also encourage you to contact lead teachers in your local area to hear the difference that participation in PLAN C has already made to their teaching and, more importantly, the quality of pupils learning.
More information can be found in the PLAN C information leaflet for teachers.
CAS Primary Training Day June 20th Birmingham
19 May 2014
Several half day sessions on introducing computing into the primary curriculum. a variety of topics to choose from led by expert primary teachers and practitioners. A terrific full day for all primary teachers.
Primary Computing CPD Training Day
This training day for primary school teachers is designed to offer practical sessions to enable you to build on current practice and gain confidence in new computing aspects of the curriculum. At the end of the day you should be feeling more confident about planning and integrating computing into school.
Creative computing - embedding computing into a creative curriculum in KS1 and KS2
Using Scratch with logo and some Python programming!
Managing the transition from ICT to computing
Using Kodu creatively in the classroom
CAS Training Day (Secondary) June 20th Birmingham
19 May 2014
Two (separate) whole day courses for secondary school teachers preparing for September 2014 with special focus on either programming or machine architecture. Expert teachers will be on hand to take you through the fundamentals of these topics and how to bring innovative and creative teaching practices to these topics in your classroom.
Secondary Computing CPD Training Day
Come and get an introduction (or a refresher) to some useful computing skills and practices at our hands-on sessions. Each session will be presented by our CAS Master Teachers, who have been recruited to share their experience and tips in teaching these aspects of programming in your schools.
One day session on learning Python
One day session on Fetch Execute Cycle and programming using Little Man Computer (LMC)
Not teaching the computer science strand of the new 2014 Computing National Curriculum?
Already teaching Computing in your ICT curriculum at KS3?
Have you been asked to introduce GCSE computing/Computer Science from September 2014?
2014 CAS Conference (Bham)
17 May 2014
The CAS Conference (Birmingham) will be held at University of Birmingham on June 21st 2014
The CAS Conference (Birmingham)
"The conferences in Birmingham are inspirational and have helped me improve my teaching. I have been to three and each time have learnt new things which I have been able to use in the classroom." (JW, 2014)
"On your marks ... get set ..."
Looking for inspiration to breathe more life into your lessons?
Do you struggle to find dynamic resources to engage your pupils?
Do you wish to enhance your own skills?
The new Programme of Study comes into force this coming September. Are you ready? Do you feel prepared? The CAS Conference provides an ideal opportunity to find out about the new curriculum, meet and learn from other experienced teachers and lecturers about how to introduce computer science in to your classroom.
Join us, for a unique opportunity to hear from practising teachers and educators about developing computing in our schools.
The conference gets booked up very quickly, so book your ticket now!
The programme for the 2013 conference can be downloaded here
Network of Excellence Update
08 May 2014
In April we attended our end of year review with the Department for Education to report on the progress of the Network of Excellence after this our first year.
We were able to report on a wealth of activity and interest in the development of the network but also on the anticipation with the new Computing curriculum.
The DfE grant has resulted in a hugely disproportionate amount of activity that has been generated though the dedication and commitment of the Master Teachers, the Lead Schools and our university partners. It is too early to demonstrate the long-term impact of the Network, but there is clear evidence supportive of the role being played by the local champions in the Network and much that indicates the model in place is, and will be, effective in the long term.
This is only the end of the first year and so there is still much to be done. Introducing a new subject and supporting the teachers will not happen in six, twelve or even twenty four months.
Some of the high level statistics include:
- 1000 registered schools
- 303 lead schools
- 93 Level 2 Master teachers and Regional Coordinators
- 83 events run by NoE team (inc Master Teachers) with nearly 100 planned for the summer term
- 233 applicants for next round of Master Teacher recruitment
The funding is good until the end of March 2015 but we meet them again in September to put the case for continued financial support of the NoE. Being able to demonstrate to them how their money is being spent and the benefits to classroom teachers is really important. Please share with us your stories, your feedback, your experiences whether you have been helping local teachers or have been on the receiving end!
Simon Humphreys, CAS National Coordinator
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