Episode #4: Challenges facing Computing educators

17 December 2019

Computing is often perceived or presented as an inherently hard subject. Whilst we at Teach Computing would disagree with this characterisation, it's clear that there are some specific challenges that come with teaching computing. Our latest podcast episode aims to explore these challenges and highlight some of the ways in which teachers can get support. We spoke to Katie Vanderpere-Brown; a school leader; experienced CS teacher; and most recently NCCE hub leader about these challenges.

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Below, you’ll find notes relating to ideas and reading discussed in the episode, you can also view a full transcript of this episode.


Here Katie refers to the updated Ofsted framework which highlights the need for schools to:

  • School leaders adopting an ambitious curriculum designed to give all learners, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
  • Schools should teach a full range of subjects for as long as possible, ‘specialising’ only when necessary


Here (as well as at other places) Katie and I discuss the National Centre's teaching resources which will comprise of lessons providing full curriculum coverage for computing for Key Stages 1-4. All of these resources will be available for free with many available now.


Whilst discussing the role of community within computing education, Katie highlights the importance of events like CASChat which occurs every Tuesday and is led by members of the Computing At Schools community


Katie highlights some of the many opportunities available for teachers to engage in and develop their practice including:

  • Code Club - A global community of 13,000 extra-curricular clubs run via volunteers, supported by online projects and content. Schools all over the world host Code Clubs and collectively reach 180,000 young people each week.
  • Barefoot Computing offer teaching resources and guidance to support younger learners (Key Stage 1-2) in learning the wider skills involved in Computing.
  • The CAS community provides members with access to their discussion forums and free teaching resources which can be excellent sources of inspiration


Whilst discussing the support available to teachers, we discuss the Computer Science Accelerator programme which aims to support GCSE Computing teachers in developing their subject knowledge.


As well as the Computer Science Accelerator program there are a range of other excellent courses provided either online or face to face by the National Centre.


Katie recommends teachers subscribe to, and read the excellent Hello World magazine.


When discussing general pedagogy Katie suggests teachers becoming familiar with Rosenshine's 17 Principles of Instruction


As our conversation draws to a close we discuss the importance of asking for help and knowing that there is someone available to help. We suggest teachers:


James Robinson
Senior Learning Manager
Raspberry Pi Foundation

Katie Vanderpere-Brown
Assistant Head Teacher
NCCE Hub Leader
Saffron Walden County High School