In May 2015 King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London were successful in their joint bid to run the Computing At School Regional Centre for London (CAS London) for 2015-2016.
For the previous two years, the Department for Education (DfE) had funded CAS to develop the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science; through this CAS had recruited over 300 CAS Master Teachers to train and support their peers in preparing to deliver the new Computing curriculum. With renewed funding from the DfE, this project evolved into a regional model led regionally by 10 university partners, with KCL and QMUL taking responsibility for the London region.
We have just heard that the Computing At School regional centres will be funded for another 2 years, giving us the opportunity to continue this great activity until April 2018!
The CAS London team is made up of Jane Waite (KCL), Trevor Bragg (QMUL), Sue Sentance (KCL), Paul Curzon (QMUL) and William Marsh (QMUL).
This is what CAS London have been up to for the last year…
In July 2015, CAS London started by immediately organising a high profile launch to quickly establish its role as the coordinating point for computing education in London. Held at King’s College London, the event brought together key educationalists from across the city. Attended by over 70 representatives including Mayor of London contacts, LGFL, the BBC, Industry, Borough teams, coding groups, University, Lead Schools, Hub Leads and of course Master Teachers, CAS London provided a place for new alliances. The evening included over 25 mini presentations by attending delegates showcasing what was going well for them, what help they needed and what they could offer others, this kick-started sharing and fuelled ongoing collaboration.
CAS London has continued to use large scale events to build its profile. Events have included workshops such as the Microbit roadshow, a sell out, at which over 100 teachers attended, Tenderfoot training sessions, and it’s first regional conference, another sell out with over 170 educationalists attending. The February regional conference provided over 800 CPD hours, teachers chose from more than 30 workshops provided by Master Teachers, University and Industry experts to create their own personalised CPD day, showing that CAS London is provides the training teachers need.
As well as organising central events, CAS London has also established itself, by presenting at a host of high profile conferences, workshops and seminars these have included the Mayor of London Education Conference, BETT, DfE school visits, Barclays Tech for Teachers day, PiXl conference, Intel Conference, Westminster Forum. Emirates/Islington Digital Festival and many, many others. CAS London has also attended and presented at many meetings, cluster events, networking opportunities where groups of educationalists attend, such as coding evenings, technical meetups, pupil events, code club meetings, research events, overseas teachers visits and teachmeets.
Having raised its profile through a whole range of activities, CAS London has then provided this mobilised community of educators with opportunities to contribute, collaborate and participate and CPD, resources and information for teaching and learning. Large scale training events,targeted CPD sessions, planning meetings, special interest groups, working parties, personal introductions for mentoring and support, funding opportunities, job information, resource packs, pupil events and so on.
Large scale microbit training and cascaded hub events have provided KS3 teachers with the opportunity to learn about the new physical device before it arrived in classes.
Over 30 microbit events have taken place using a set of training microbits secured from Microsoft in September 2015, about half of the workshops have been run by CAS London in conjunction with master teaches and hubs and the others have then been run by hub leaders, master teachers and lead schools resulting in over 500 man hours of training.
Secondary Tenderfoot workshops have been held at King’s College London and CAS London has provided Primary Barefoot workshops at a number of borough and cluster events. Master teachers and hub leads have been trained at these events, so that they can then go on and cascade this training to more teachers. So far some more than 100 man hours of training has resulted from this, and more is expected. What is important to note is that CAS London works to train master teachers to teach teachers, cascading CPD after central training events, to create sustainable and long term rolling CPD.
Further focused training events have brought depth of engagement with teachers such as the ten week Queen Mary University of London twilight A level courses and the King’s College London Computer Science Education Masters’ module. CAS London has also run a number of one-off CPD sessions on areas such as Python, Scratch and App Developer.
Planning meetings bring together ‘activists’ to plan and share ideas. Master teachers, hub leads, university contacts, BCS scholars and other teaching groups improve CPD coverage across London by looking at how provision can be complementary and coordinated, highlighting the role of CAS London to foster collaboration across CPD providers.
Special interest groups, some partially funded, provide master teachers with monies for release from class to work on projects. Groups such as the primary physical computing group and primary cross curricular group, secondary GCSE working party and A level big data working group look at particular areas of high interest to produce classroom resources and training material. Micropython resources group have met with the developers of the software to provide feedback on the programming language and to start to produce CPD and classroom materials,
Participation is particularly encouraged by small group and 1:1 support, this can be on online or face to face. This support has included CPD discussions with newly appointed master teachers, advice for hub leaders on resources and topics for meetings, online group meetings to provide support for application for funding. Individual teachers have been connected with their closest master teachers and hubs to start new collaborations, teachers requesting specific support have been put in touch with master teachers with expertise in the area of need. BCS Scholars advised of local training opportunities.
CAS London has also managed to persuade a number of suppliers to donate resources for the CAS London tech library, a loan service for hubs and master teachers. This includes a class set of crumbles, TTS controllers, Kitronik kits, Code Bugs with more promised. Resources are now being loaned out, similar to the loan of microbit loan sets, for master teachers and hubs to review and use in training sessions with teachers.
CAS London provides a central point for enquiries about CPD and teaching and learning in computing, a one stop shop where teachers can go and find answers, a place that will give them the local support they need, build communities and build confidence.
Are you a Computing teacher in London? Contact us!