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Has anyone seen anything of the £80 million?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by binaryhex, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Where’s the cash gone? Was that a toilet I just heard flushing?

    It seems all quiet on the ‘training 8000 more Computer Science teachers’ front. I haven’t heard of a single extra training place, a single extra course being run, a single extra teacher being released from the day job to attend a course, no evidence of any new training materials or any evidence a single extra teacher has been trained in the SE of England, where there is a dire need. Is this money being spent only in London, perhaps?

    Presumably, there is a long delay whilst the money is being spent on fees and bonuses, before calling for a further cash injection as the original amount isn’t enough?
  2. iamjonathanbishop

    iamjonathanbishop New commenter

    Hi binaryhex,

    I've made some enquires to the BSC about this and I was told that at the moment the funding is being used to set up the various training hubs but most of the money will be spent when schools are given the costs of releasing staff to attend the training.
  3. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    The BCS and CAS are in overdrive, spinning a lot of very long yarns.

    What does ‘setting up a training hub’ actually mean? Are they building state of the art buildings? Buying computers? Installing WiFi, writing materials or hiring people? What exactly are they doing? Where is the timetable? What training can teachers expect? Where are the targets, dates, success criteria? When can teachers and schools expect to see a difference? There is a lead time for all these things, and nothing is happening or open to examination.

    Both organisations originally said they had the infrastructure already in place, with their so-called teacher hubs held in schools and run by volunteers. Now they are saying they need ‘training hubs’ but are being extraordinary vague about what one is, where they are being built, how they will work etc. Have you seen any adverts for Trainers? Have you seen any tenders for producing materials? Have you seen any information about where they will be i.e. I assume anywhere outside the M25 is low priority and Northern Ireland, Devon, Lake District, Humber etc, well forget it. But we don't know because it’s not open to scrutiny and is being kept hush hush. Meanwhile, how is the money being spent? Where is the oversight?

    ‘Setting up training hubs’ my arze.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    JM6699 likes this.
  4. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    According to one organisation, the number of schools in England offering a GCSE in Computer Science is now just 42%, down from 46% just two years ago. It is set to drop to just 35% in September, when the large numbers of schools saying they were not offering the subject to year 9 anymore and were abandoning the subject last year because of recruitment problems and costs bites into the stats.

    Meanwhile, vagueness, rudderless management, secrecy, misinformation and meaningless sound bites rule the day. The £80 million is being frittered away in secret as the subject continues descending down the toilet bowl.
  5. iamjonathanbishop

    iamjonathanbishop New commenter

    I think you raise good questions, especially since this is public money and the education system is overstretched as it is. From what I've seen over the last 20 years the people who are tasked with spending public money (on anything like this) are tied up by bureaucratic rules about what they can and can't do and how they show evidence of what they have and haven't done - which I know most teachers will recognise as a frustration in their own roles. I think the reason for this is that in Government, it is far more important to be seen to be 'tackling' an issue that it is to solve it. The chances are that they won't be on Office by the time things start working and if they solved things overnight, the voters would soon forget it was an issue in the first place and therefore all political capital in the issue would be lost. This is more an issue with our government and politics than with the organisations that are trying to fulfil the contracts. We get the politicians we deserve and if we want to see a change to any of what you have described, we need people like you who to stand up and make a difference. It's easy to pick fault in things from the sidelines but not so easy to come up with a realistic alternative. You seem to know your stuff and I'd back you!
  6. JM6699

    JM6699 New commenter

    We've been here before with the 'Master Teachers', ECDL debacle and various other things. It's all about the money unfortunately and being seen to be doing something, rather than actually doing something useful.

    I once witnessed university staff going around a Computing CPD session for teachers, trying to encourage people to join the Master Teacher's program. One lady replied that Computing was new to her and, as she was teaching herself from scratch, her knowledge was very limited. She was told it didn't matter and she should still join. That told me all I needed to know. The same university also told PGCE Year 1 students with limited classroom experience that becoming a Master Teacher was an 'essential part of their CPD'.

    Most likely.
  7. Penny10p

    Penny10p Occasional commenter

    Are there actually courses to go on? I am teaching A level for the first time (overseas) and am finding it challenging. I would gladly use my own money to pay for a course in the summer to improve my subject knowledge.
  8. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    Have a look at the stuff from the National STEM centre, for the main CPD. Online they run courses through Future learn(part of the OU). Most courses are covered by a bursary so free to UK state schools. As yet I do not know of any A level specific online courses.
    Stiltskin likes this.
  9. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Equally, I was told that, with my Computer Science degree, industrial experience and teaching experience, I would be a good candidate... except that to be a Master Teacher you have to be employed by a school, and I'm employed (as a teacher) by a local authority.
  10. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    The courses from the national stem centre are a joke. Often expensive, teachers can’t get released to do them as the bursaries aren’t sufficient to cover supply costs, they are not in parts of the country where teachers can get to easily, so a one day course actually takes two days plus a hotel stay for most teachers, volunteers often run the courses using substandard materials, the one day courses invariably are just four to five hours of actual stuff long, not ‘one day’, and you learn very very little that’s useful compared to doing a degree over four years.

    A joke, but an expensive and unfunny one.
  11. rayna

    rayna New commenter

    Unfortunately I don't have time to do a 4 year degree! Surely there must be short courses available to cover some aspects of A Level CS; programming for example. I am overseas so a bit out of the loop in terms of what's available in the UK.
  12. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    So you expect to be able to teach A level CS programming from a few hours of bad training?

    Apply the same thinking to someone who knows a few words of Mandarin who is thinking about teaching A level Mandarin. Do you seriously think that is feasible?
  13. Penny10p

    Penny10p Occasional commenter

    "So you expect to be able to teach A level CS programming from a few hours of bad training?"
    No, I would like a month of high quality training, which I am happy to pay for. Please tell me where I can find such a course.
    You seem to be suggesting, moscowbore, that I leave my students in the lurch with no computer science teacher (they are difficult to come by) while I go off to university!
  14. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Future learn or edex may be your best bet. To be able to find some good quality courses to help get your subject knowledge up
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  15. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    The training hubs being set up will be schools and follow the maths hub model.i believe this first wave is run by universities up until September who help identify the schools and set the up. At the same time they'll run courses.

    According to a leaflet I got Southampton university are running the courses across the south east (along with others I presume). Roehampton leading on London. All the courses are advertised through stem learning website.
  16. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    You will not be able to teach A level programming after a month of any training.
    I assume that will not stop you teaching it badly.
  17. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    BCS, CAS etc after being directed by and having discussions with everyone except teachers, have come up with a ridiculous “training” model that will benefit no one except universities, who will get a huge financial boost from providing “expertise”, premises, courses and so on. These courses and training events are of little use to teachers or schools.

    Fiddling while Computer Science burns.
  18. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Looking at some of the courses, quite a lot are in schools rather than at universities. Also considering the are a lot of teachers teaching computing with no or little qualifications on the subject, the CPD seems an appropriate start.

    What would you like to see next then @binaryhex to support computing teachers ?
  19. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    I'd like to see the thrust of any training program designed with minimal consultation and involvement with universities and Google, and maximum involvement of those teachers at the sharp end. Until that happens, everyone can look forward to disaster after disaster.
  20. Penny10p

    Penny10p Occasional commenter

    "Apply the same thinking to someone who knows a few words of Mandarin who is thinking about teaching A level Mandarin. Do you seriously think that is feasible?" I'm sure I have seen Moscowbore give replies like this in past to teachers asking for advice, and I feel it needs challenging. The idea of teaching A level Mandarin while only knowing a few words of the language is, of course, ridiculous,but it is not the same as the situation that I find myself in.
    Many experienced ICT teachers, like me, have moved into CS teaching. For my part, I saw the writing on the wall and started learning Python a couple of years before I had to teach it. I then started teaching CS GCSE. There is an overlap between between the ICT and CS GCSE so I already had experience of teaching several topics. My students achieved good results, so I certainly thought it was feasible to teach it without a degree in CS. I now teach A Level and I have found, again, that there is a considerable overlap in the GCSE and AS topics. I fully expect my students to achieve good results. There does seem to be a big jump between the AS and A Level, and that is where I would like some training.
    Students who want to do a CS A Level need teachers and there do not seem to be enough teachers with CS degrees to go round. I'm sure the situation will change as more CS graduates enter the teaching profession, but in the meantime there are many teachers like me who are teaching successfully and working very hard to improve their subject knowledge. This is not at all the same as someone with a few words of Mandarin teaching A Level.

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