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07 February 2023

Your CAS Board

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Written by

Simon Humphreys | Chair: Community and Education Board

When browsing the CAS website while waiting for that next class to descend you might have landed on this page which describes the CAS Board. It’s a bit hidden, but we wanted to draw attention to it and give a shout out to the many people here who give of their time for (as the terms of reference puts it):

  • establishing the vision, mission and values for Computing At School, which must be consistent with the BCS Royal Charter
  • designing strategy and structure to execute the CAS mission
  • supporting staff members implement policy and strategy, whose responsibilities are delegated from the BCS Trustee Board
  • monitoring and evaluating the implementation of strategic and operational plans and policies and reporting on implementation to the BCS Academy.

When CAS first started back in 2008/9 and our membership was growing from a handful to many hundreds we consciously divided the members into two groups. The first we called working members, the second supporting members. The idea was that those who joined as working members had a little bit of time to drop into the forum to answer questions, or share a resource for other teachers to use, or run a CAS hub in their area each term etc.. Those who joined as supporting members were keen on what CAS was trying to do and might drop into the forum, or attend local meetings but had little time to contribute anything further. And, that was OK!

Every few months an invitation was issued to the working members to attend a meeting over a couple of days with the explicit intention of getting something done from then until the next meeting. Those attending knew they could leave the meeting with a job or task to get on with before we reconvened. Many quite extraordinary initiatives and projects were kicked off in these meetings that contributed significantly to the wider community and the cause for Computing as a school subject more generally. I (SH) remember fondly the occasion when Roger Davies suggested a CAS Newsletter would be a good idea. There then followed many years, with Roger at the helm, of the publication of “Switched On”. A simply monumental effort which is now carried on by The Raspberry Pi Foundation with the publication of Hello World. Raspberry Pi have been able to take this to a far bigger audience than we would have ever have been able, and we are indebted to them for taking this on so brilliantly. But, it started with a hand in the air back in 2010!

As our partnership and relationship with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT has grown, deepened and matured and as the influence of CAS has grown we’ve needed better structures and organisation in place for governance. The BCS have brought this to CAS, along with so much more, and whilst formally being referred to as The CAS Board, this group retains much of the spirit of that foundation in the working group.

Over the coming months some of our current board members will be popping in to say “Hi” through a blog. Here we’ll find out about their interests, backgrounds, perhaps even what they find helpful about being a CAS Board member. You can see the first of these from John Palmer, highlighting the brilliant CyberFirst Girls project. John will be well known to many I’m sure: he has been involved with CAS for many years, connecting with teachers in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire (“The Three Counties Hub”), and, more recently, he has been running a NCCE Computing hub with experience and ideals firmly rooted in the secondary classroom.

If you’d like to know more about the work of the CAS Board, or may be interested in “putting your hand up” to get more involved with CAS in this way, do post a comment here or drop me an eMail. We’d love to hear from you.

Simon Peyton Jones (Chair, CAS Board), Simon Humphreys (Vice Chair, CAS Board)


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Simon Humphreys
06/04/2023 11:43

This week in the series of blogs from our CAS Board members there are a couple to catch up with!

First up Miles Berry, Professor in the School of Education at Roehampton University, who discusses the difficulties in motivating pupils to transition from Scratch to Python for Key Stage 3 computing. Perhaps Processing (particularly in its p5.js web-based form) is a better approach. This tool focuses on visual sketches that can be run and modified in real-time, and provides an good transition to text-based programming. There’s a handy guide here too for recreating “Composition with Circles” by Bridget Riley as the starting point for working with Processing, including adding animation and interactivity. It’s a great jumping off point for stimulating creativity with our pupils.

Second, from Chris Stephenson. Chris may be less well known to many CAS members in the UK but to our friends in the USA this will not be the case as she founded out sister organisation the CSTA, was Google’s Head of Computer Science Education and has huge impact on Computing education worldwide. In The Joy of Conferencing Chris celebrates the simple act of getting together in community events, such as conferences, to learn something worthwhile and to enrich our practice and life. The impact of the pandemic has inevitably affected our patterns of connecting and meeting but it’s always been at the heart of what is about. it’s a timely reminder.

Simon Humphreys
13/03/2023 11:29

This week in the series of blogs from CAS Board members is from @Beverly_Clarke who will be well known to many here. It’s a challenging read, posing the question some way through:

What have you done since last International Women’s Day to promote and embed activity that supports girls into STEM careers and to take up the subject at GCSE level and beyond.

It’s packed full of useful resources and ideas to help us reflect and then act to raise the profile of the many brilliant woman working in tech today to motivate and inspire. Thanks Beverly :slight_smile:

Simon Humphreys
07/03/2023 10:14

Here’s an interesting idea posed by CAS Board Member Claire Griffiths. We often talk about the transition from block-based to text-based languages but there’s something in flipping that around and giving the students some time to return to a block-based language such as Scratch. Interesting …

Adrienne Tough
22/02/2023 15:01

Love how clear these ideas are. Inspired me to think of 5 ways to support HPA students too. Mastering differentiation is one of the biggest challenges in the classroom in my opinion.

Simon Humphreys
22/02/2023 14:49

Good question Fiona (@fbaxter), I’d assumed there would be a “Join here” or an email contact on the working group page but there isn’t :(. I’ll check up on that, but in the meantime Catherine Elliot (@celliott ) and Rebecca Franks (@rfranks ) can be contacted through the forum or messaging service here.

Fiona Baxter
22/02/2023 13:58

How do you join the CAS Include group?

Simon Humphreys
22/02/2023 13:17

The next in the series of blogs from the CAS Board members is now live. Many thanks to Catherine Elliot, who will be well known to many here, being the Chair of the CAS Include working group which looks at all the issues we encounter when teaching children with particular needs. Here she gives us five tips for making our teaching more inclusive and diverse - a well-timed reminder.

The link to the blog is: 5 ideas for supporting learners with SEND in Computing

The working group is open to all to join :wink: