Meet the team!
Delivering a world class computing education requires a joined up approach, across all aspects of our network.
But with 343 CAS communities, around 8,000 CAS members, and working closely with the NCCE’s 39 regional hub schools, ours is a big network, made up of inspiring individuals. So how do those complex networks work together to deliver the best computing education, upskill teachers, and their students?
We shine the spotlight on one region, Cumbria, and how they’re supporting each other, especially during the impact of the coronavirus pandemic:
Vicky Dodds is the primary computing lead at Cardinal Hume NCCE Computing Hub covering Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham and Cumbria.
"Before I became a computing lead I was already a CAS community leader at Kingston Park in Newcastle. I had worked with Kingston Park Primary school through my business Computing4KidsNE and wanted to continue some provision of computing after my initial training in the school. I have continued to support my community at Kingston Park but also helped to set up and organise and run meetings for my other community at CAS Gateshead Primary.
“Being a primary lead at the NCCE computing hub, I support the CAS communities across Cumbria with Lynne Blair, my colleague (primary lead for Cumbria). I attend, support and help lead events at the CAS primary communities in Brampton and Carlisle. We are keen to support schools before or after attending courses as part of the continuous provision.
“Working alongside others in the area is crucial. Working closely with our SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) Sarah Zaman and John Lamb when communicating with schools, means that schools are not bombarded with emails/communication. A joint approach is adopted where we have regular weekly catch ups to inform us of our plan and to share knowledge, contact and support.
“Our close relationship with our SMEs means instead of each individual contacting the schools, the SME offers initial support, followed up by ourselves delivering courses and then the continuation of support through the CAS communities. Knowing what has gone on before your contact with schools, in terms of the support they have received, is important and allows us to really build strong links in school. Schools across Cumbria have really benefited from this joint approach.
“ Although Covid has tested us in terms of face-to-face delivery is has not prevented us from reaching many schools and delivering a great level of support. Setting up CAS communities means we are future proofing the support.
“Traversing and making online learning work for us has been testing, but we have found the number of teachers reaching out to the CAS community has increased. From the CAS conference to community meetings, teachers are making use of the knowledge and expertise CAS community leaders are providing.”
Paul Revell is the Secondary Lead with the Cumbria Computing Hub.
“Our Cumbria Computing Hub functions as a satellite hub from its 'parent' in Gateshead. I host and facilitate on the Teach Computing courses and try and keep in regular touch with the Cumbrian secondary schools via subject leaders and area network meetings. As we have come out of lockdown, I really enjoyed seeing the 'joined up' vibe from all those involved in Cumbria. We have local federation subject networks, CAS communities, the hub, NCCE Subject Matter Experts and Computer Science Champions and CAS outreach managers all out to achieve the same goal.
“I left my teaching post at the start of this academic year, but prior to that had a long connection with the South Lakes network of Computing Teachers, going back to the pre-GCSE days and the formation of CAS which has helped immensely with my current role with the computing hub.
“My most recent work has been to branch out into Isaac facilitator training and I am in the process of organising courses for students and staff in the summer term with my primary colleague Dr Lynne Blair. Being geographically isolated from the rest of the wider NCCE team has meant that lockdown has had less impact than in other areas as it would be difficult to do much face-to-face time. The downside has been I would have really liked to visit schools and attend live network meetings in the Cumbrian regions. Hopefully that will take off soon!"
Lynne Blair – NCCE primary computing hub lead for Cumbria, facilitator for NCCE, STEM and Isaac CS, CAS CoP leads. She describes herself as a ‘huge Barefoot computing fan’ and is also Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University
“We’ve seen lots of good practice this year especially. The CAS communities are excellent places for local groups of schools to gather and share stories, resources, successes and challenges. Online Community meetings have meant that teachers can take advantage of any event nationally, although I still think meetings are at their best when local.
“The CAS virtual showcase events have offered fantastic opportunities for upskilling this last year.
“We’ve also seen great cross-working between STEMFirst/SLP and NCCE Cumbria hub with improved cross-curricula links and impact.”
Phil Cooper, Head Teacher, Brough Community Primary School
“Here at Brough Community Primary school we are very excited to be part of a new CAS group (CAS Eden Primary) in Cumbria. Computing is right up there on our curriculum as it inspires creativity and idea-sharing in the classroom. We are part of the EdTech demonstrator schools programme, which means we share best practice and provide training and advice for schools all over the country. Being part of a local Computing at Schools network allows us to idea share and focus on the Computing curriculum in a fantastic, collaborative way!”
Martyn Soulsby, Computing, Online Safety and Remote Learning Lead at North Lakes School, Penrith.
“I run the Penrith CAS Community which is also known as the 'Penrith Hub’ of local schools. I am a CAS Master Teacher, Apple Teacher and will soon be an Apple Learning Leader. In 2020 we were recognised as an #edtech50 featured project for our work with the Penrith Hub. I am also the IT Officer for Cumbria NEU. As CAS Penrith Primary Community we work closely with Sarah Zaman setting up a range of meetings and workshops throughout the year - whether remotely or face to face, depending on the current situation! These are also a chance to find out more about the NCCE opportunities for schools too."
Sarah Zaman, CAS Outreach Manager for the NE, Yorkshire and Cumbria, NCCE Primary Subject Matter Expert, NCCE Lead facilitator, Barefoot Ambassador and STEM Ambassador
“Having so many different hats, that are interlinked, has ensured schools are aware of all the support that is available to them for computing in their schools from the different organisations. The regular meetings we have between the hub leads, SMEs, Computer Science Champion, our Regional Network Lead, STEM Ambassador hub and STEM First Science Learning Partnership are absolutely crucial to the success of the collaboration and joint approaches for the region and something we hope to continue, as it works so well.”