CSA Class of 21 - teacher Heather Whittle shares her CSA experience

15 July 2021

All this week, we’re shining the spotlight on the 4,500 teachers who have now engaged in the CS Accelerator. We’re celebrating their success for our CSA Class of 21 week, as well as encouraging you to share your experience of the CSA.
Today we speak  to Heather Whittle, a newly qualified teacher, who completed the CSA in January 2021  and teaches at Samuel Ward Academy in Suffolk. She tells us how the CSA has benefited her teaching, her students, and about the NCCE’s provision on the course for  dyslexia.

Heather told us:

After university where I studied a mathematics degree, I started training to become an accountant. After several months I realised that accountancy was not the right career path for me. I then became an LSA in a local school. This then encouraged me to start my training to become a teacher. I am now four weeks off becoming a fully qualified teacher.

Why did you enrol for the CSA?

During the training course the CSA was suggested to help develop teaching knowledge and to understand what a student is capable of in terms of using a computer. This was especially recommended for those of us that are STEM teachers. The reason behind this is that in further study - from A levels upwards - there is a lot of overlap between STEM subjects and computer science/programming.

How has it benefitted your teaching?

This course has benefitted my teaching as it has made me more aware of student computer abilities and of how best to teach students using a different medium. Considering the recent Pandemic, being able to teach through a different medium and in a different format is a skill that all teachers should learn in my opinion.

How have your students and school benefitted?

The students from year 7 upwards have benefitted from this course as I am able to show them how these computer skills link in with everything else in life. As the students learn the importance of these skills, they are more driven to develop their own understanding. There are also several students that - when you refer to programming the computer to solve complex maths problems - all they want to do is get started. This is due to an increase in curiosity and excitement about the topic, which I can now provide thanks to my greater understanding via the CSA course.

What extra support did the NCCE put in place?

“The NCCE was amazing and exceptionally supportive which helped me to complete this course. They took into consideration the extra support that I needed to learn the material due to my dyslexia. I had all the reading materials before the session, and once again after the session with annotated notes attached. I had support from the lecturers via email whenever I got stuck. Most importantly I got all the extra time I required for my exam.
The course is interesting and diverse in terms of its material. I had a lot of fun studying on this course and got a lot of support to help me as well. I would recommend this to everyone.”

Join the Class of '21

More than 4,500 teachers have now engaged in the CS Accelerator courses. If you are yet to complete the programme, the NCCE has put in place a summer programme with five pathways to choose from, summer schools across the country, a curated programme of CPD, and the CSA in the Summer, with something for all abilities, from beginner to advanced level.

Celebrate your success!

We're encouraging graduates of the programme to join us to celebrate your success on social media! To join in, follow these simple steps:

  • upload a picture wearing your CSA enamel pin badge
  • tag @WeAreComputing on Twitter or Facebook
  • add the hashtag #CSAClassof21