Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science

last edited Jan 25 2016 by Simon Humphreys | Created by Simon Humphreys | Other contributors: Mark Dorling and Roger Davies

Overview of the CAS Network of Excellence


CAS is making a significant difference to the implementation of the new computing curriculum.

(CEIR, Sheffield Hallam)

The Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science (NoE) is funded and supported by direct grant from the Department for Education.

The NoE builds on the grass roots ethos which is central to Computing At School – inspiring, leading, training, and supporting an active community of practice. It is both a network of professionals working together and a wide-reaching programme of professional development. It recognises the importance of local, face-to-face, peer-to-peer delivery, professional relationships and building the confidence of the people involved.

This approach is school-led and responsive to local needs. It brings together many of the community-building strands of CAS to maximise their impact and quality. It aims to inspire, motivate and support teachers by building a high-quality, low-cost, sustainable CPD infrastructure that nurtures long-term collaboration between teachers, schools, and universities.

Roles within the NoE

A variety of organisations are working together to provide a coordinated national approach that supports local need. These include CAS Regional Centres, CAS Master Teachers, CAS Hubs, CAS University Partners and CAS Lead Schools.

The key individuals within these organisations (the “CAS Champions”) support the NoE by:

  • Promoting computing and its importance
  • Organising meetings, events, workshops and hubs
  • Creating and maintaining networks of teachers
  • Helping colleagues access support or to connect with networks
  • Offering advice on curriculum development
  • Leading professional-development activities

The CAS Regional Centres

Introduced in September 2015 the CAS Regional Centres (CRC), are based in some of our leading universities, sit at the heart of the CAS model for developing local communities of practice.

They will:

  • Manage and share their expertise with all stakeholders in their region, including CAS Master Teachers, to help maximise their impact
  • Draw local stakeholders together and identify opportunities for growth in the provision of support CAS can offer teachers
  • Encourage and promote attendance at CAS events and develop participation in the Network of Excellence within their region
  • Arrange regional meetings
  • Provide direct support to the CAS Master Teachers in their region

Find out more …

The Master Teachers

CAS Master Teachers are the NoE’s “Practitioner Champions” – experienced, high-performing classroom teachers with a passion for the subject; enthusiasm, energy, and a desire to support others.

CAS Master Teachers:

  • Champion computer science in schools and the wider teaching profession
  • Provide training, mentoring and coaching to teachers in their local communities
  • Support collaboration between schools and universities.

They are part of the local community of practice and will work alongside their CAS Regional Centres and the local hubs to support teachers of computing in their local area, enable their professional development, and support curriculum change. Specifically:

  • They are active members of Computing At School
  • They will be working (at least part-time) in a state-funded Primary, Middle, Secondary school or FE College
  • They will have received ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ from their most recent performance appraisal
  • Their Headteacher must state a willingness to support the teacher in the role of a CAS Master Teacher

It is expected that CAS Master Teachers will (with the support of their Head Teacher) spend approximately three hours each week fulfilling their role in a way that supports their own personal professional development and benefits their own school.

Find out more …

Lead Schools

Schools are encouraged to join the NoE either as:

  • a member school
  • a lead school

Registered schools acknowledge through membership a public commitment to the teaching and learning of Computer Science. Lead schools take a particular lead for Computing education through their curriculum and extra-curricular engagement with the subject and commit to take a lead for the subject in their local area by “adopting” at least one other school and working with them to enhance the status of Computing in those schools.

Find out more …

University Partners

University faculty (both Computer Science and Education departments) are central to the success of the Network. There is a need for such institutions to help teachers in schools nourish the discipline through both subject knowledge and pedagogical knowledge development.

All University Partners are encouraged to forge links with the primary and secondary schools in their area, find out what they need, work with their nearest CAS Regional Centre and CAS Master Teachers to design and deliver courses, find ways of utilising undergraduates or post-graduates to support both curricular and extra-curricular activities with the schools or just be at the end of a friendly email stream to help answer questions from teachers.

Find out more …

Impact

From feedback following Master Teacher training we see the impact the training received is having both on their practice and their pupils. A 33% increase in teacher confidence as a direct result of Master Teacher training and 98% reporting that courses they have attended would have a direct impact on their practice is hugely encouraging. Those attending these courses appreciate that they are face to face, local and led by credible, well informed colleagues.

Find out more …

Also see Closing the gap to achieve a world class computing teaching workforce

Evaluation

In May 2015 The Centre for Education and Inclusion Research at Sheffield Hallam University completed an independent evaluation into the NoE to:

  • understand the impact of CAS Master Teachers on the knowledge and practice of CAS members, and
  • identify implications of this and of the current programme more generally for future evaluation activity.

Download the full report

Get Involved

There are several different ways that schools, teachers, universities and academics can contribute to the Network of Excellence. By doing so you will be joining a vibrant community of professionals who are committing to support each other.

DfE Reports

Each quarter CAS are required to submit a report to the DfE. These can be found here

More information

  • For more information: contact the Network of Excellence Admin Team (noe@computingatschool.org.uk).

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