Boosting classroom skills with Teach Primary Computing

09 July 2020

Matt Davenport, is a computing subject leader at Stoke Heath Primary School in Coventry and has worked in primary education for over 20 years. He’s recently completed the Teach Primary Computing certificate and in this blog piece shares his experience about how the qualification has helped his teaching practice:

Throughout my career I’ve enjoyed the challenge of applying new technologies to my teaching. The inclusion of computer science in the primary National Curriculum is something that many teachers were unprepared for. As a computing subject leader, I had been looking for ways to improve my own subject knowledge, so that I could develop our curriculum, and support my colleagues.

In March 2020, I found out about the Teach Primary Computing certificate during a meeting with Pam Jones, a Subject Matter Expert for the NCCE.

There are a number of different modules to choose from to complete the qualification. This really appealed to me as I could choose my own pathway based on my own CPD needs. As well as being a nationally recognized qualification, it was free to complete! It is fully funded for participants from maintained schools in England.

During the spring term, I had been running an after-school Code Club, which was one of the possible criteria to gain credits for the certificate. During the club, I felt that I had a good level of understanding about how to use the Scratch coding language, but I was unsure about how it could be incorporated into a whole school scheme of work, to ensure progression of skills and subject knowledge.

Therefore, I enrolled on the ‘Primary Programming and Algorithms’ course. It is hosted by Future Learn, but you need to register for it through the Teach Computing website, in order for it to count towards the certificate. I completed the course over four weeks, spending approximately two hours on each session.

The content consisted of; developing understanding in KS1; sequence and repetition; and selection and variables. A mixture of video tutorials and hands-on Scratch activities provided me with relevant coding tasks which I could use in the classroom.

I also learnt about some of the extension blocks for using Scratch to compose music. As I worked my way through the course, my understanding of computer science improved greatly and I understood what the progression would look like for coding.

Attending a CAS (Computing at School) Community meeting was another option for the Teach Primary Computing certificate. Due to the school closures, I attended a webinar, which was hosted by Pam. I found it very motivating to be in contact with other teachers wanting to develop their computing practice. It was during the webinar that I learnt about the new computing scheme of work that the NCCE is currently writing. This came at an ideal time for me, because I was in the process of developing my own school’s scheme of work.

After improving my knowledge of computer science, I enrolled on ‘Teaching and leading key stage 2 computing’, which consists of two modules. The first module enabled me to understand computer systems and networks, including the internet and technologies such as search engines. The second module focused on combining a wide range of software applications and multimedia, as well as collecting, analysing, and presenting data. These modules are usually delivered face-to-face, but due to the pandemic, the course was hosted online.

Our course facilitator, Sarah, led the sessions expertly and involved the participants throughout. There were opportunities to share our own ideas, as well as enabling deep exploration of the subject content. The gap tasks were also relevant to our own settings, which we could use back at school.

Completing the Teach Primary Computing certificate has enabled me to have a greater understanding of the progression of subject knowledge and skills through the primary computing curriculum. I am better equipped to support my colleagues to implement a series of lessons which are based on sound subject knowledge and a progression of skills.

I would certainly recommend this qualification to anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the primary computing curriculum that is directly relevant to their classroom practice. I intend to continue to develop, and share, my computing knowledge through the CAS community.

Interested in finding out more about the Teach Computing primary certificate?
Take a look.