How much are computing teachers struggling with the new curriculum?

Posted by Bill Mitchell on 18 January 2016
by Bill Mitchell

There has been much recent discussion about how well computing teachers in England are coping with the new statutory computing curriculum. This brief news item puts on the record what we really know from the data we have at the moment.

Teacher Confidence: According to recent surveys asking teachers how confident they are of delivering computing in the classroom, the percentage that said they are very confident is

  • 26% of teachers in general
  • 48% of teachers who are CAS members, compared to 40% last year

Confidence is steadily improving where teachers have access to locally tailored high quality CPD, such as through the CAS Network of Excellence (see Section 7.1 and Section 4 of the report

). Teachers who receive CPD from the NoE report their confidence in teaching computing has increased on average by 88% (see Section 7 of the latest progress report on the NoE to the DfE)

Teacher Preparedness:

  • 41% of teachers reported they received no computing CPD over the last year, and 37% reported receiving between 1 and 5 hours of CPD (see Section 4 of our report), whereas 80% of teachers would like more CPD.
  • Of those who had CPD through local face to face meetings over 70% of them said it was valuable. 98% of teachers receiving CAS Master Teacher CPD said it directly impacted on their teaching practice in the classroom.

Teacher Qualifications:

  • 25% of current computing teachers have a degree relevant to the previous ICT curriculum, compared to 75% of science teachers with a science related degree, and 52% of physics teachers with a physic related degree (see Section 3)
  • 78% of applicants to the BCS teaching scholarship scheme, funded by DfE, have a computer science degree (see Section 7.4 of the report).

Teacher Recruitment: 57% of the required number of newly qualified computing teachers entered the workforce in England over the three year period 2012/13 to 2014/15, and there is currently a shortfall of around 2000 computing teachers compared to the 2012 level (see Section 5). Around 200 computing teaching scholarships have been awarded by BCS over the last two years (see Section 7.4 of the report).

Take up of GCSE: The number of students taking GCSE computer science in 2015 is 109% more than the very low baseline of 2014, but as a comparison is 28% of the number taking GCSE physics (see Section 6 of the report).

Take up of GCE: The number of students taking GCE computer science in 2015 is 30% more than 2014, but as a comparison is 15% of the number taking GCE physics (see Section 6 of the report).

Further information:

All of the above data is collated in our report 

, which also gives a narrative about national initiatives that are helping to address these problems including the CAS Network of Teaching Excellence (the NoE). As reported here  the NoE has provided over 56,000 instances of professional development to teachers since the autumn of 2012 and in the current year has doubled the amount of support to teachers compared to the same period a year ago.

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