Inside track: transitioning from PE to computing

26 September 2020

Alexander Gray, a PE teacher from the North East, tells us about his move to teaching computing.

As a PE teacher, I strongly believe that the more you can enhance your portfolio through CPD and additional qualifications the more successful you will be in the classroom and also make you stand out as an outstanding teacher, especially in the North East of England where PE jobs are highly competitive.

I was offered to undertake the Computer Science Accelerator programme by my school. I thought it was a great fit for me to establish a second subject where I can teach it confidently in the hope it may open up more opportunities for me in the future.

Computer science is a relatively new and growing subject in schools. Especially in modern society where technology is becoming more and more vital and widespread. I believe this is a popular option for students at school to take which means it is a valuable subject to be able to teach.

I have had a brief and limited experience in teaching computer science during my PGCE. During the final weeks of my training year, we were encouraged to spend time teaching/ observing in our chosen second subject. I had chosen this as my second subject as I had studied IT during my time at sixth form so I initially thought there would be some crossover within the subjects.

My previous experience was very limited so when I started the accelerator programme I considered myself new to the subject.

Despite PE and computer science being massively different subjects, I believe there are some similarities. Within BTEC sport, for example, students spend a great deal of the subject working on computers whether this is analysing and reviewing footage of a sports performance, researching information or writing up their assignments. I believe that having extensive knowledge in computer science will enable me to implement some of what I know into planning and delivering more creative sport BTEC lessons.

I feel able and confident to teach this subject at GCSE level due to the knowledge and support I have gained through completing the course. One main reason is that despite completing the course, I am still able to go back and complete as many online courses as I want to keep on expanding my subject knowledge.

I can also use the extrusive range of lesson plans that are available on their website going forward so there is an abundance of support for all people to teach this subject confidently.

CPD is not only a good way to improve your ability as a teacher, but it can also provide more opportunities for you in the future. As a PE teacher, I know how difficult I can be to secure a teaching job in the North East so you must do the most you can to make you stand out and constantly look to improve and develop as a teacher.

I found the online courses a great way to learn at your own pace. At the end of each topic area, you can consolidate your knowledge by answering questions and engaging with other people who are also taking completing that course. For me, without a doubt, these online courses are the best way to establish your subject knowledge in the topics.

One of the face-to-face courses I completed was on Python and Programming. This is a challenging programming software and it was delivered one step at a time in which I was able to understand the basics of it despite being new to the subject.

Despite my having passed and completed the accelerator programme, I am still able to complete and access the online courses to build on my subject knowledge.

John Lamb was the specialist who I was first introduced to at my school to provide an introduction into the accelerator programme. John was able to give me a 1-1 revision session when I was close to taking the final test where he covered multiple different areas and some of my weaknesses within my subject knowledge. This was a fantastic support and was a major factor in helping me pass the final test at the end.

There was also a revision guide that was available on the website which covered all the main topic areas that could potentially come up on the test, each topic had a link to a relating online course so I was able to quickly access it to fill in those missing areas in my subject knowledge more effectively.

I felt through my whole experience completing the course that I was supported and even now having completed it still having the availability of all the online courses and the vast amount of lesson plans available makes me feel confident in teaching this subject in the future. I strongly believe this was a great choice in my career going forward and will open more doors for me in the future.