IMPLEMENTING THE COMPUTING CURRICULUM AT NATIONAL AND REGIONAL LEVEL: LESSONS LEARNT FROM ENGLAND
This paper will present how an emerging Community of Practice (Wenger 2006) is supporting the development of a new national computing curriculum in primary (5-11 years) and secondary (11-18) schools in England.
Computing, because of its ubiquity and role in innovation, has become an essential requirement in the increasingly global digital knowledge economy. Consequently, industry, government, academics and policy makers have become increasingly concerned that England was beginning to lose its innovative and competitive edge (Gove 2012; The Royal Society 2012; Department for Cultural Media and Sport (DCMS) 2011; Livingstone & Hope 2011; NESTA 2011; Schmidt 2011; British Computer Society (BCS) 2010; Computing at School (CAS) 2009; Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC) 2008). This paper will present a background to changes at national level following the disapplication of Information Communication Technology as a subject, in 2013, through to the development of a new Computing curriculum in 2014. This curriculum is applicable for children 5-16 years, while new higher level qualifications for learners 16-18 have also been introduced. The paper will consider the new curriculum, challenges faced by schools, teachers and teacher trainers in terms of delivery of the new curricula, new programming languages, changing pedagogy, and upskilling in-service and pre-service teachers.
The paper will present a national picture of support for teachers in England via funding from the Department for Education, devolved by Computing at School, a grass-roots organization that now has over 28,000 members, to 10 regional universities. The paper will then share how teachers across one region of England are building a networked community of practice comprising: computing master teachers who support less experienced teachers, and regional hubs which host events for local teachers. Data will be presented relating to teacher’s growing confidence and the impact in the classroom, measured using Guskey’s (2002) impact framework. This data indicates growing confidence, and identifies the support still required to increase classroom impact. The paper will finally share some of the resources teachers have found to be most useful – these are all available online for delegates to access and share. The conclusion will focus on sharing lessons learnt from the project (The Royal Society 2017) and consider its future direction.