The Chase School, Malvern
At The Chase School in Malvern, computing and digital skills are also a priority.
Teacher John Palmer is computing lead at The Chase, Malvern, one of the first schools to receive a Computing Quality Mark.
“Malvern has sometimes been referred to as “Space Mountain”, due to the number of local companies such as QinetiQ, so provision in Computing and Technology is an area of interest for our parents, and one of our school’s unique selling points,” explained John.
“A high-quality computing education is vital for our students – being able to use computational thinking and creativity will allow them to understand and change the world for the better.
“The CQF has allowed us to gain vital external validation of our computing provision, so that we know it aligns to latest best practice. Nothing stays still for long in computing and education,“ he said.
“We have large numbers of young people taking computing at GCSE and A level, including many girls. The key to that success is the effort we put into making the KS3 computing curriculum interesting and relevant and we use the NCCE’s Teach Computing Curriculum in our KS3 provision.
“Review and self-evaluation is a vital part of my role. Going through the CQF in detail gave me confidence that if Ofsted undertakes a computing “Deep Dive”, we’re able to demonstrate our strong computing provision.”
The Chase school at Malvern is also home to the NCCE Computing Hub offering support to schools across the West Midlands.
“We’re working with schools across the area to adopt the CQF and review and extend their computing provision,” said John.
“As a first step, schools should visit computingqualityframework.org and contact their local NCCE Computing Hub to find out more about what’s on offer.”
Saffron Walden County High School
Teacher Janet Symonds is Head of Computing at Saffron Walden School:
What works well in your school’s computing provision, which might inspire other schools?
“We provide pupils with a varied and engaging curriculum and provide many opportunities for pupils to participate in extra-curricular events across the different key stages including; clubs, competitions, trips and speakers. This engages and generates interest and enthusiasm for the subject. We have increased numbers opting to take Computer Science and also increased the percentage of girls that opt for the subject.”
How has the CQF helped you to develop your provision?
“The CQF has encouraged us to have more interaction with the governor's so that they are more aware of all the work that is being done within the department and they are able to better support us in ventures when they are well-informed.”
“We are also an NCCE hub and as Head of Computing I work closely with the NCCE Hub lead, encouraging our team to participate in relevant training, all staff have completed the Accelerator course, ensuring that skills and knowledge are up-to-date and in line with current expectations.”
Why did you choose to take part in the CQF?
“We are an exceptional school which has always been supportive of other schools and keen to improve our standards and it is good to be recognised in this way.
“Over the past 10 years our department has improved and grown, developing and improving schemes of work that are relevant to today's world, and engaging for a wide range of pupils. The important skills involved in Computing are recognised by the school as essential for pupil development and it is acknowledged that they are important across a range of subjects.”
Pate's Grammar School, Cheltenham
Sophie Barr teaches computer science at Pate’s Grammar School in Cheltenham where she’s also secondary lead at the NCCE Computing Hub based at the school.
Tell us a bit about your computing provision; what works well in your school, which might inspire other schools?
“At Pate's Grammar School, we aim for all students to experience Computing in an environment where they are actively included and supported as part of a high-performance learning environment.
“We seek ways to increase opportunities for students at all key stages to experience Computing in authentic ways and raise the profile of STEM career opportunities, including those in Computer Science, Software Engineering and Cyber Security.
“We are currently implementing a whole-school approach for departments to embed opportunities for students to create real-world applications in cross-curricular contexts. As a result of the school's continued increase in Computing, the school has now added an additional specialist Computing teacher.
“We continuously reflect on ways to develop our curriculum across all key stages and have recently introduced Artificial Intelligence at KS3, Raspberry PI Pico line following robots at KS4 and a Linux based Raspberry PI project at KS5. Overall, it is a very exciting time to teach Computing.”
How has the CQF helped you to develop your provision?
“Engaging with the CQF has allowed our department to review our aims holistically, considering each aspect of the work we are doing from a fresh perspective. Working through each of the strands in the CQF we have created measurable, focused plans to achieve the goals we have been working toward in our Department Development Plan. The clear and structured guidance within the framework has also been an assurance that the changes we are making are research-informed and well placed. “
“As an NCCE hub, we are looking forward to supporting other schools in working toward their Computing Quality Mark and seeing the inspiring things other departments are already doing and aspiring to do.”
Why did you take part in the CQF?
“We were excited to take part in the CQF as an opportunity to showcase the progress and effort we have already made within our computing department. We are always seeking ways to continue growing and improving the provision we deliver in line with the NCCE aim of giving every student a world-class computing education.”
“As a school, we are privileged to have incredibly able and motivated students who will go forward to be world-changers. We are aware that in our ever more diverse yet integrated world, we need students that are ready to be global citizens. As a result, computer science has been in our curriculum for many years and is a core part of the whole school curriculum strategy moving forward. We see the CQF as a way to recognise this commitment to Computing within our school and support us in continuing our journey to innovate and strengthen the department even further.”
The Vale Academy, Brigg
At the Vale Academy in Brigg, North Lincolnshire, computing is a thriving subject, which has now been recognised with an NCCE Computing Quality Mark. Computer science teacher Damian Burrin explained how their approach to computing achieves success across the school.
“We offer Computer Science to all students irrespective of ability and promote it as a subject open to all.
“We try hard to debunk the myth that it’s a ‘hard subject’ and we support students of lower ability to achieve. Success in Computer Science is more about passion from students and teachers and a willingness to keep trying rather than a student’s starting point or ability levels.
“We try to ensure that we apply no gender bias to our lessons, content and delivery style and normally have a good gender split at GCSE with the current Y10 close to 50/50.
“At KS4 we don’t insist the students have completed CS at GCSE to complete the A-Level course and work with the students to help them make the most appropriate choices to reach their end goals.
“The CQF is a great initiative. Other subjects have a subject mark to show they deliver a high-quality curriculum. I know we deliver a good curriculum that supports our local needs and enables students to achieve at the highest standard.
“It’s nice to have the opportunity to have this recognised and hopefully it will encourage more students to complete a Computing based qualification. It also gave us the opportunity to self-evaluate, take stock of what we do and how we do it and adjust our approaches to ensure they remain valid and relevant.”