Bespoke support from a computing Subject Matter Expert

22 January 2020

Steve Clarke, Senior Education Lead (Computing), introduces Subject Matter Experts, explains what their role is, and who is eligible for support.

Our School Engagement Programme aims to ensure all schools not yet delivering GCSE computer science, and those which are located in priority areas (primary and secondary schools in Local Authority Districts 5 and 6) can access support from a local Subject Matter Expert (SME).

SMEs work with senior leaders and teachers to identify an action plan for improving or delivering computing and computer science in their school or college. They help them to understand the full offer from the NCCE and identify the most appropriate pathway for their teachers through face-to-face and online courses. They also provide bespoke support such as curriculum guidance. There are more than 40 primary and secondary SMEs across England.

Schools and colleges that do not currently offer GCSE computer science or those that are at risk of dropping it* will receive a £1400 bursary once all actions in their agreed plan have been completed.  This is in addition to bursaries that schools will receive for teachers completing the Computer Science Accelerator programme, and/or other courses delivered by the NCCE.

Complete this google form to request support from your local SME.

Elaine Jenkins, Headteacher at Maidenbower Junior School talks about working with a Subject Matter Expert:

“In response to this day [of SME support], our coordinator has been able to update the school Computing Progression of Skills, which now follows a much clearer guide of what we need to be covering. Using laptops in non-computing time is taking place more than ever, and fresh planning is now happening in line with the progression.
Dave Robinson, primary SME in the South East, has also set up a networking group, in which primary subject leaders of computing in the Crawley area will meet and talk through action plans, progression, resources and anticipated Ofsted Deep Dive preparation. I am very enthusiastic as to what these meetings will bring. This networking is absolutely essential to ensure consistency of practise and confidence."

Can a computing subject matter expert help my school or college?

Schools and colleges that meet one of the following criteria will be eligible for support. If you don’t think you qualify but would like support complete the form and we will make a decision based on your circumstances.

1.     All primary and secondary schools that are located in Local Authority Districts 5 and 6 are entitled to a minimum half a day of support.

2.     Schools and colleges that don’t offer GCSE computer science receive 2.5 days of support from an SME and are eligible for the £1400 bursary.

3.     Schools or colleges at risk of dropping GCSE computer science will receive 1 day SME support and will be eligible for the £1400 bursary.

4.     Schools that are recent adopters of GCSE computer science are given one day of SME support to use the action plan as a health check but this action plan will not lead to the £1,400 bursary. A school that is a recent adopter is one which has a cohort of GCSE computer science in Year 10 and/or Year 11 but have not yet entered an exam series.

To make contact with your local Subject Matter Expert to request support or check your eligibility fill out this google form.

* Which schools are considered at risk of dropping computer science?Schools and colleges that are deemed at risk are those where senior leaders are considering not offering GCSE computer science the following academic year, due to one or more of the following criteria:

·       results have been consistently below expectations (either when compared nationally or compared to other subjects in the school)

·       subject knowledge, pedagogy or confidence in teaching computer science is not strong as identified by Ofsted or internal/external monitoring

·       change in staffing has reduced the capacity to deliver computer science

·       student demand for computer science is low