CAS, through BCS, has received funding support to run a professional development project: “The Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science”, or NoE. 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 recognises the importance of local, face-to-face, peer-to-peer delivery, professional relationships and building the confidence of the people involved.
The NoE 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.
In July 2015 an independent evaluation of the NoE was carried out by the Centre for Education and Inclusion Research at Sheffield Hallam. They reported:
> CAS is making a significant difference to the implementation of the new computing curriculum.
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.
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. So the support provided by the NoE is predicated on that support being:
- Face to face
- Peer led
Over the period from April 2015 to November 2015 feedback has been gathered from all teachers supported through NoE activities both immediately after and ten weeks after receiving support.
Teachers are asked about their own base confidence level (1-10) at the beginning of CPD and again at the end. The mean base confidence increased teacher by 88%.
Over 95% emphasise have stated that local, face to face, professional development led by an experienced teacher is either important or very important to them.
It is accepted that perhaps the respondents form a self-selecting group who attended a teacher led face to face session in their locality but it is also taken as an indication, with such strong recommendation, of the need the NoE is meeting.
Key to assessing the NoE is determining the impact the professional development is having on knowledge, practice, the school itself and most importantly the learners.
- Knowledge: 65% report their subject knowledge or understanding had improved + Practice: 47% of teachers have subsequently used some of the ideas in the course in their teaching.
- Organisation: 82% of teachers return to their school and share what they have learned with colleagues
25% of teachers reported that the training had enabled them to offer different classroom activities, whilst 50% stated that improved student learning had taken place. 25% said that the students were more motivated.
- This demonstrates the support through the NoE directly impacts on student learning in the classroom, and will have a lasting impact well beyond the period over which the CPD is provided.
[Find your nearest CAS Master Teacher or CAS Hub](http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/)