Working together to support career changers in teaching computing

19 January 2021

The National Centre for Computing Education provides high-quality support for the teaching of computing in schools and colleges, from Key Stage 1 through to A level.

Through the Computer Science Accelerator, we offer fully funded, bespoke support for organisations which can be adapted to suit their subject knowledge-based provision. In this article, we look at how we have worked with the Transition to Teach (T2T) programme to support professionals retraining as teachers to enhance their computing subject knowledge through the programme.

Funded by the Department for Education, T2T supports career changers into and through their initial teacher training and NQT years in partnership with their training providers, to strengthen retention in the profession. The NCCE has been recently working with T2T to provide personalised support for current retraining teachers.

Nigel Bowen is the Lead Guidance and Development Adviser (GDA) for T2T. Here, he discusses how taking part in the CSA programme has been beneficial for current T2T participants.

“T2T were keen to work with the CSA as they are very STEM focussed, and are committed to increasing the number of STEM specialists in the teaching profession. Also, training to teach computer science can make teachers more employable to schools, as schools find it very difficult sometimes to recruit specialist teachers.

We have a cohort of T2T participants who are currently completing the CSA, and we hope to have a second cohort soon. Participants have said they’ve found it very beneficial that the training is online and they can complete it at their own pace – the teacher training and NQT year is very busy, so being able to spread their CSA training out over a longer period of time is very welcome. For instance, some trainees have been completing their modules on evenings, weekends, or during the school holidays.

Participants have also appreciated the individual support from their Computer Science Champions from the CSA, who have also held regular tutorials via Google Meet to support our participants through the CSA and discuss various topics.”

Support from Computer Science Champions

The support for T2T participants was provided by CS Champions, John Lamb and Simon Howe. Here they reflect on the collaboration with T2T:

Prior to the first session, some participants had expressed concerns that the content would be very challenging for them as non-specialists. Our role was to put participants at ease by ensuring that the material was broken down. The first session introduced participants to the programme, the pathways and courses available. The following sessions provided short theory bytes, followed by pointers to both remotely delivered and online courses.

At the start of each session participants checked in and shared their progress on courses and self-study via shared digital sticky notes. An important part of the programme is that we keep a regular contact and support with participants so they feel looked after and supported. This is a key role for computer science champions as some may take twelve months to complete the programme. The programme is continuing with this approach.

Ronnie Wang took part in the sessions and commented:

I was enrolled for the Computer Science Accelerator course which offers additional qualifications to my PGCE subject focus. The course tutors, Simon and John, were very supportive and their sessions were planned with clear objectives so that I knew where to look at and what to improve on. They also responded to questions and queries swiftly”.

Find out more about bespoke support
Computer Science Accelerator is open to teachers and trainee teachers from all subject backgrounds, with bespoke support available for organisations who enrol ten or more participants on the programme.

To discover more about the support that CS Champions can provide your organisation, whether you are a supply agency, teacher trainer provider or Multi Academy Trust or other, email to discuss your needs.