Good Practice in Computing Network

This morning I facilitated the first tri-borough Good Practice in Computing Network meeting alongside my colleague Belinda Evans. The network has evolved from its roots as a small school network for Computing coordinators that I set up last year to a wider, more focused working party designed to provide free school-school CPD and support. We welcomed colleagues from a number of different primary schools and it was fantastic to have two secondary colleagues join the network to provide the group with an important insight into progression in Computing from EYFS to KS4.

This initial session was designed to frame the group’s purpose beginning with identifying the importance of Computing in our current and future world; exploring the context of current initiatives in Computing education; and considering the current state of Computing education nationally and locally.

Together we explored the issues raised in the following video, which I discovered thanks to Chris Mayoh. An updated ‘Shift Happens‘ style video, it provides a good foundation to introduce the importance of the need for young people to develop a knowledge and understanding of all three strands of the Computing curriculum.

For me, it was important to ensure the priorities and purposes of the group were set together. It is crucial to keep the focus as close as possible to what we, as Computing coordinators, really consider to be the most important aspects of our role in order to ensure outcomes will be impactful and solve real problems. Therefore, we moved on to discuss what we felt we needed to discuss and which areas of our roles need to be driving the purpose of the network.

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With the purposes clear, we moved on to consider the challenges we face as coordinators under the headings: trips, resources and events; E-Safety; CPD; curriculum matters; assessment; and any other challenges or strengths we have to share with the group. The discussion at this point was important in order to gain a really honest and clear understanding of the challenges faced by members in their settings. Many of the challenges, it became clear, are the same cross-school and cross-age.

For the remainder of the session, Belinda and I shared a range of resources that we are aware of that could support leaders in improving teaching and learning practice in Computing. We wanted to share ideas and resources that could be taken away and instantly implemented to begin to develop the quality of learning for pupils. These links are now being collected and added to by all our members in a shared Google Doc.

To finish the session, we discussed what the focus should be for the next year of the network. We will meet three times next year and as part of the network will arrange ourselves into partnerships each with a focus for improvement. Alongside the network meetings, we will visit schools, observe learning and develop projects together.

It’s an exciting time for education. Belinda and I discussed today how these bottom-up networks have come as a result of austerity; cuts to school funding and local authority redirection have resulted in openings for these types of groups to be set up. For me this is a great opportunity to share and learn from colleagues who face similar pressures balancing classroom teaching with subject coordination (and everything else that comes with the job!). Most importantly, it’s a superb opportunity to seriously improve outcomes for pupils.

I hope to read more about the benefits of learning networks and rediscover reading I have previously encountered with regards to personal learning networks and communities of practice.

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