We are together engaged in a huge enterprise: re-envisioning the way in which we educate our young people in computing, and making that new vision into a living, breathing reality in our classrooms. And then Covid hit. Now it’s all about logistics, bubbles, sterilising computers, track and trace, and keeping 2 metres away. Time for CPD has evaporated and the SLT’s attention may not be on computing.
And yet somehow, through all this, CAS is thriving. There are over 275 CAS Local Communities in England alone (319 worldwide), actively meeting and sharing good practice - if you are reading this, you should belong to one of them! Indeed, through online meetings, some local communities have seen attendance increase from 10-20 to fifty or more.
CAS has launched a new leadership coaching programme to support graduates of the NCCE Computer Science Accelerator Programme to continue with professional development. And CAS ran a hugely successful Showcase, in place of our usual face to face conference this summer, and very recently, a cyber-themed event, alongside the new CAS #Inspire series of webinars on teaching and learning.
As we move online, the skill and knowledge of computing teachers is more highly valued than ever by our schools. Perhaps we will emerge from the pandemic with new insights, experience, and ideas about teaching and learning, or about how our community of practice can be knitted together. And the big vision of computing as a foundational subject, that will equip our children for rewarding, creative lives through successive waves of technology, is more attractive and relevant than ever.
Nothing about this pandemic is easy, but eventually it too will pass. Meanwhile, thank you, thank you. We are both parents and we are so grateful to you for the work you are doing to keep schools open. It makes a huge difference, to us, and to our children.
Best wishes for the rest of term, and for a safe and restful festive season.
Simon Peyton Jones and Simon Humphreys
Chair and Vice Chair of Computing at School