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Computing at Schools

WMG is part of a local collaboration to improve and support the teaching of computer science in schools.

Staff from Coventry and Warwick universities, Coventry and Warwickshire local education authorities, secondary schools, the British Computer Society and the Institution of Engineering and Technology are working together to support computer science education.

This collaboration has led to the formation of a Coventry and Warwickshire ‘hub’ for the national Computing At School organisation (CAS), set up by a group of experts concerned about falling standards.

A recent Royal Society report said superficial ICT teaching at primary and secondary level was failing to give children a proper grounding in areas such as programming.

The key aim of CAS is to support teachers directly. One way to do this is to provide local forums where staff can share ideas, meet in a relaxed atmosphere, receive training and materials and link up with representatives from academia and industry. Each meeting aims to give teachers at least one potential lesson to use back in their classrooms.

The initial hub meeting was held at Coventry University in February 2012 and was well attended by teachers from Coventry, Warwickshire and Leicestershire. A May 2012 meeting was held at Warwick in the International Manufacturing Centre. Although initially led by Margaret Low of Warwick University and Irene Glendinning of Coventry University, the aim is that these events will be teacher-led.

CAS says: “Computing is one of the most exciting subjects on Earth. Yet the current arrangements for teaching computing concepts at school leave our brightest students feeling that it is irrelevant and dull.

“Those who make careers in computing progress in spite of, not because of, their school education.”

CAS wants to see the development of better GCSEs, an increase in A-level students and a reverse in the decline in number applying to do computing at university.

It says: “Schools typically have at most one computing teacher, who has no colleagues and feels isolated. It is quite difficult for teachers to keep up to date. This is obviously not the teacher’s fault. Supporting, equipping and training teachers is part of the challenge.”