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The loneliness of the one man dept.

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by lovejoy_antiques, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    Hi, I started out with a golden hello into the world of ICT teaching in 2004. When I started every school seemed to have an ICT dept with a compliment of at least 4 teachers. Since the switch to computer science however it seems that the whole computing/ICT area has become more and more of a shrinking sideline. In my last two schools I have been the sole computer guy. This has been good as nobody in the schools can actually line micro manage what I'm doing as nobody else has a clue about the subject! However on the negative side it's an ever shrinking job market! Long term I'm starting to worry!
  2. Luvsskiing

    Luvsskiing Established commenter

    I don't see a good future for computing in UK schools. It has become a rather toxic subject, stripped right back in many schools to tiny departments or swallowed up into a faculty, but striding forward in far fewer, mainly private and selective ones with the odd academy. The switch was mishandled, with too few properly qualified teachers recruited, the specifications are still not fit for purpose and the 2020 specifications have not changed the mess, CS is too expensive to run, the conversion training for ICT teachers was and still is too little too late and exam boards are now widely seen by teachers, parents and school leaders as bumbling idiots and jokes, lurching from one self-made crisis to another, unable to manage, only react.

    On the plus side, I've seen quite a few primaries get better in the last few years, mainly because they have adopted chromebooks, and there has been an increase in demand for CS teachers from abroad. Who would stay in a UK school with all the international opportunities now available?
  3. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    Where I am at present they don't even do computing/ICT lessons at key stage 3. So this sets kids up really well for choosing it as an option for GCSE!

    I remember signing up with job agencies when I first left school. They were more interested in my level of computer literacy (excel, access, word processing, type speed) than they were my GCSE's or a levels.

    Living in a warehouse town somewhere between London and the north, it seemed to me that being able to operate a computer meant the difference between landing a job in an office or a job moving boxes. I don't think my town has changed that much. It's not silicone valley, in fact a forklift license would probably go a lot further towards getting you a job than any GCSE ever would!
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    This may be changing. OFSTAZI have ignored the ks3 NC requirement to teach computing till now. See the thread about the HT who has resigned because OFSTAZI criticised her for not meeting ks3 NC requirements.
  5. clockmender

    clockmender New commenter

    It is changing, the gov have made an £870 Million at raising the profile of the subject and providing good quality CPD. They will want to see a return for their money
  6. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    There is no ks3 computing where I am. No wonder the kids flounder at ks4! As the national curriculum says it should be taught at ks3 how are schools getting away with this?
  7. tomb81

    tomb81 New commenter

    You may see a shift, the first school that has ditched their ict/computing department and gets a computing deep dive, will spark panic across trusts and you will find departments re-appearing.
  8. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    OFSTED won’t ever do a deep dive in secondary in computing why?
    1. They know what’s going on and are ok with it
    2. It doesn't bother them at it is not core
    3. They themselves haven’t got the subject knowledge to do a deep dive!
  9. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    While I don't agree with this, again I'll point out that you do NOT have to have specific Computing lessons or a course at KS3 or KS4.
    All schools to do is show that the elements of the NC are covered during the students studies.

    Yes, O..K. some Ass.head will have to earn part of their 100k wandering around asking a few HoDs if they cover bits of it . Then getting admin to knock together a "Computing Across The Curriculum at St. Hoodwinks" report. But that is it.

    Computing is most mainstream schools is dying a death, evidenced by the number of centres offering it at GCSE falling by 20% in two years
    T0nyGT likes this.
  10. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    Where I am there is no key stage 3 computing, just as you say, occasionally other teachers take the kids into an IT room to trash the equipment. At key stage 4 the same sort of no hopers we baby sat through ICT courses are put into the course and once they realise it's not just playing games they tune out!
  11. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    Neighbouring school had a CS deep dive. Their provision is pretty good (I've seen much, much worse) yet the deep dive didn't go too well. Happily their management stood by the department.
    I suspect 50sman's point about subject knowledge could be absolutely right - if they can't see something that's good, will they be able to spot the rubbish?
  12. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    1. Won't need a deep dive to detect that the NC isn't covered - all they'll need for this revelation is some circumstantial evidence.
    2. Providing the NC within subjects is possible. However (fromm experience) it doesn't work if you try to assess what's happening already in other subjects and then somehow link to the NC. It does work (not perfectly) if you start with the NC and then ensure that all of it is covered by assigning the various bits to the other subjects' SoW - and then ensure that there's the right training and resources for the relevant HoDs. This approach is seriously hard work!
  13. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    The subject is definitely not shrinking overseas. There are lots of jobs out there for qualified teachers in pretty much every country you can imagine. I'm in Southern Europe but I have ex-UK CS friends in South East Asia, USA, Far East - you name it. None of them, including myself, have ever looked back.
  14. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I agree with tony, many international schools are looking for computer science teachers. Finding experienced teachers who can teach the subject properly is difficult. No shortage of people who use a collection of resources copied from the web with close to zero subject knowledge. Schools will pay for experience.
  15. Luvsskiing

    Luvsskiing Established commenter

    Sound familiar .....?


    "In some of the secondary schools we visited, subject specialists were not being replaced when they left and other teachers were teaching outside their specialism," Ms Spielman writes.

    "In some schools, experienced teachers were replaced with less-experienced and lower-qualified staff. Schools also reported cutting back continuous professional development and removing teaching and learning responsibility points.
  16. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    Ofsted will never do a deep dive in Computing as they linked it with technology as far as the curriculum is concerned. It may be foundation, it may be compulsory in all key stages, and it may be an EBacc subject at KS4, but Ofsted do not care as it isn't core, and it will never be treated equal as far as EBacc is concerned.
  17. theworm123

    theworm123 Lead commenter

    I say this as a part time uni lecturer, the content of the GCSE is a concern to me personally because it’s too random of an assortment with little context to fit everything together, much of it is irrelevant in my opinion. Take section 3.3.6;


    3.3.6 isn’t relevant content needed for a CS GCSE, I teach that theory to 3rd years when looking at using machine learning algorithms for computer vision.

    3.7 also covers the very basics of relational database design and then jumps straight to SQL. Normalisation up to at least 3rd of 4th normal form and a simplified introduction of the ACID principles, concurrency and locking are missing there.

    SQL in concept is very easy compared to even Python, but it is really needed at GCSE? Plus which database package is being used? I’m not being funny but you can’t use Microsoft Access for this and most current CS teachers seem one lesson ahead and of the kids.
  18. Penguin47

    Penguin47 New commenter

    Agreed. I'm hoping they'll come to their senses and do a complete revamp of the CS curriculum at some point, but I highly doubt it.
    theworm123 likes this.

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