CSA Class of 21 - We talk to Simon Wheatcroft, teacher & adventurer

14 July 2021

All this week, we’re celebrating the CSA Class of 21, shining the spotlight on the teachers who’ve completed our Computer Science Accelerator programme.

More than 4,500 teachers have now engaged in the CS Accelerator, and we’re celebrating their success all this week, as well as encouraging you to share your experience of the CSA.

Today we speak to Simon Wheatcroft, a storyteller, technologist, adventurer, inclusivity consultant and an ultra-runner. A genetic eye disorder resulted in Simon becoming blind at 17. He teaches at Outwood Grange Academy and completed the CSA in February 2021.

Simon told us:

I have worked within the world of technology for nearly 20 years - working in many roles from network management, to accessibility consultant and inventor. In these roles I have had the opportunity to create and work with technology that enabled incredible things. On a project with IBM we designed a new navigation system that allowed me - a blind ultra-marathon runner - to cross a desert solo. Other projects have allowed people to break down their own barriers. It is through technology and the power it gives the individual that we can make great change.

Why did you enrol for the CSA?
Despite an extensive background in technology, I had no idea how to pitch it at a level appropriate for GCSE students. While I may have the capacity and ability to highlight the benefits technology can bring, I lacked the knowledge of classroom requirements. This is why I leant on the CS Accelerator to advance that knowledge, to bring the missing elements to my classroom teaching.

How has it benefited your teaching?

It has helped my teaching immeasurably, being an ITT I had no base knowledge of teaching to work on. I was unsure exactly how to go about teaching particular topics and what the key takeaways would be. While I could sit and read a specification, this was little help at this point in my career. The CS Accelerator gave me the confidence to start my ITT journey along the correct lines.

How have your students and school benefitted?
The students and school have benefitted from me having that base knowledge to work upon. Knowing I am hitting the right points for students to succeed has given me more freedom in the classroom. It has given me the confidence and knowledge to interweave my own industry knowledge and make it applicable to the GCSE course. Hopefully, this is inspiring a love of CS and technology in the students and showing what we can all be capable of.

For more about Simon visit: www.andadapt.com

Be part of the CSA 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.

And if you’ve engaged with the CSA programme, 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