National Centre for Computing Education celebrates its first 1,000 graduates

10 August 2020

The National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) is congratulating the first 1,000 teachers to complete its landmark professional development programme; boosting schools’ ability to deliver GCSE computer science across England.

The teachers have completed the Computer Science Accelerator, the NCCE’s flexible programme designed to give teachers the knowledge and confidence to teach GCSE computer science.

Enrolments on the programme have remained high during the closure of schools to most pupils due to coronavirus, with a further 2,300 currently enrolled for the CS Accelerator.

Professor Simon Peyton Jones, Chair of the NCCE said:

“I am so impressed by, and proud of, the first 1,000 teachers who have stepped up to the CSA challenge, bringing their professional expertise, their commitment, and their enthusiasm to the programme.
“Every young person should have the opportunity to dive deep into computer science if they wish, as they can in natural science, and these CSA graduates will enable them to do just that. We look forward to welcoming many more.”

The free programme is available to current or aspiring teachers of GCSE computer science  from state-funded secondary schools and colleges, with bursaries available to schools to help support teachers’ professional development.

Eligibility for the Computer Science Accelerator was broadened in February 2020, to enable trainee teachers, supply teachers and teachers wishing to return to the profession to also access the free programme designed to help them to teach the GCSE.

Spencer Organ, Head of Computing and New Technology, at KESH Academy Birmingham was one of the first CS Accelerator graduates, completed the course a year ago. He said;

“The CSA programme has had a massive effect on my journey from physics teacher to head of computer science. The course not only secured and developed the skills and subject knowledge for me to deliver computer science at both key stage 3 and GCSE but also the skills to help support other colleagues in the school who will also be delivering the units.
“I’m now the new Head of Department at our school, which has doubled curriculum time for computer science and we’re now looking at the prospect of GCSE computer science starting in September 2021.”

Computer science teacher Annie Cuffe Davies said the CS Accelerator had helped to increase in the number of students studying GCSE at her school;

“Completing the Computer Science Accelerator has honestly changed my career. Since finishing it, I have been for interviews for computer science jobs, and was offered a role overseas. However my headteacher then offered me a permanent contract. I was delighted - it wouldn’t have been possible without the NCCE.
“I’m now running coding clubs in school, which I use to engage my students in the huge range of potential careers computer science can offer. The students are starting to see the value of computer science in different places, whether that’s in making, building, gaming or problem-solving. We have also seen a really big increase in the number of students wanting to study GCSE computer science, which is exciting.”

Hannah Overton who is a newly qualified teacher, completed the programme and has also just completed a PGCE in computer science at Bath Spa University. She said:

“I’m a mature student who originally worked in IT. I’ve found the CSA courses really useful as I graduated in computer studies rather than computer science and they have filled in any gaps I had.  I would thoroughly recommend these courses as they are well taught, well managed and have pointed me to a lot of useful resources.”  

The NCCE is funded by the Department for Education and works to increase the number of pupils in schools and colleges who study computer science at GCSE and A level, particularly girls and those from disadvantaged areas. This means ensuring that there are enough teachers equipped and confident to teach computer science. Its CSA programme was launched in November 2018.