Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science
The Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science (NoE) is both a network of professionals working together and a wide-reaching programme of professional development, including many more aspects than simple provision of training courses. The NoE is based on striving for quality in teaching through a community of practice that involves local, face-to-face, peer-to-peer delivery.
In days of online delivery and time poverty, we maintain that professional development is a very human and not mechanical process, based on professional relationships and confidence levels of the people involved.
CAS is making a significant difference to the implementation of the new computing curriculum. (CEIR, Sheffield Hallam)
From the outset the aim of CAS and thus the NoE has been to build fires of activity in local communities led by peers, supported by academics and other professionals. Change management has been problematic for many teachers of Computing moving from the old ICT curriculum to the new programme of study. For most the keyword is confidence. The target for all our activity has been to raise that level of confidence in the teachers’ own ability to teach Computer Science.
Professional development takes many forms including training, workshops, peer collaboration, online courses and networking activity, mentoring and coaching. The NoE has sought to build on the principles of local, face to face support using mentoring, peer to peer support and cascade of subject knowledge via accessible role models, namely the Master Teachers. This has been supported through the pre-existing online CAS community site.
The Network includes:
- CAS Regional Centres (Phase 2)
- Master Teachers
- Lead Schools, and
- University Partners
- CAS Local Hubs
The heart of the programme is to build a high-quality, sustainable CPD infrastructure at low cost. This is being achieved by nurturing long-term, bottom-up collaboration between teachers, schools, universities. Read about the overview of the programme.
The Master Teachers
In the first phase of the NoE we have recruited, trained and supported over 300 CAS Subject Leads for Computing, called "CAS Master Teachers". Their role is support their colleagues in their local area. All are given a modest time allowance by their Head Teachers and will run courses and other CPD opportunities in their local area. They, in turn, have helped nearly 40,000 teachers get to grips with the challenge of the new curriculum.
The ethos of the CAS Master Teacher programme is simple. Experienced, high performing classroom teachers, with the full support of their Head Teacher, are encouraged to support other teachers of Computing in their local area. This support may take the form of low-cost training sessions and other mentoring and coaching opportunities. Such support forms an essential part of developing a community of professional practice, alongside the other activities initiated by local CAS Hubs and our University partners in the Network of Excellence. As well as the subject and pedagogical knowledge CAS Master Teachers help develop, a key part of the role is building a supportive relationship, based on mutual trust amongst colleagues.
I help teachers with subject knowledge and helping to ensure they understand the concepts prior to teaching them. I give people confidence to go away and actually use the resources. I give them the confidence to give it go.
What characterizes all Master Teachers is a passion for the subject, enthusiasm, energy and active involvement in CAS activities. Not everyone is a subject expert when they start, but all are respected classroom practitioners. Master Teachers are, first and foremost, teachers.
I feel I have become more proficient in Computing particularly in regards to the new curriculum and also passing on that to my fellow teachers has been a really good thing.
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. There are over 1450 registered schools.
Lead schools take a particular lead for Cmputing education through their curriculum and extra-curricular engagement with the subject and also taking a lead for the subject in their local area by "adopting" at least one other school and working with them to enhance thhe status of Computing in their school. There are over 500 CAS Lead Schools.
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 thhe 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 CAS Master Teachers in the area to design and deliver courses, find ways of utlising undergraduates or post-graduates to support both curricular and extra-curricular activiteis with the schools or just be at the end of a friendly email stream to help answer questions from the teachers.
From September 2015 a number of University Partners have been selected, with support from DfE, to form a CAS Regional Centre.
The first phase of the NoE ran from September 2012 to March 2015.
Master Teachers (recruited): 380
- Primary: 195
- Secondary: 167
- Coordinators: 18
Member Schools: 1424
- Primary: 504
- Secondary: 942
Lead Schools: 435
- Primary: 168
- Secondary: 298
- MT Events: 447
- Other MT activity: 38,189 teachers reached
- University Partners: 78
Phase 2 will begin in earnest in September 2016 with the development of 10 CAS Regional Centres. More to follow!
From feedback received from Master Teacher training we see the impact the training received is having on both 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.
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.
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.
- Register your school - By doing this your school is saying that Computing as a subject is important and you want to ensure our staff have access to suitable training
- Register your school as a Lead School. This means that your school will make time to support colleagues in other schools (at least one)
- Apply to be a CAS Subject Lead ("Master Teacher")
- Register your university