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The NCCE - they seem finished before they ever got going ...

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by 3monkey, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. 3monkey

    3monkey New commenter

    I really don't get this NCCE organisation at all. What on Earth are they hoping to achieve? It seems their aim is to offer just a few dozen hours of as yet undefined "training" to as yet an unspecified 8000 "teachers". They seem to be coming at supporting teachers and more importantly SLT from completely the wrong direction and I can't help thinking that it's doomed to fail.

    How is what they are proposing going to either support, supplement or replace employing an actual graduate with a good three or four year full-time Computer Science degree, with a few years on top working writing software and a further year of teacher training? How is what they are proposing going to offer anything more than someone can get simply by watching and working through the many excellent online video courses on YouTube and elsewhere? Is the aim to produce a kind of Computer Science pseudo-teacher, devoid of real qualifications and experience but willing to work for breadcrumbs and teach to classes a narrow set of predefined lessons to big and poorly behaved classes with wide ability ranges without moaning to tick a box, because that is what it looks like?

    I really have no faith in what this NCCE organisation are doing, or more accurately, not doing. They are simply not communicating or explaining the endless delays and lack of actual, tangible action. They have not clearly explained and justified their planned road map from where we are now to where they expect us to be, with 8000 newly "qualified" and energised teachers working zealously in schools across the land. What they are proposing is just vague and doesn't stack up. They have not helped one bit schools like mine, where the department has been axed, teachers made redundant and courses cancelled, all in the last six months and all since the NCCE was set up. They appear to have no real idea what they are doing and haven't trialled and proven their approach, to prove it will work before blowing all the £80m cash. I am not convinced they really understand what actually happens inside schools like mine - has anyone inside the NCCE ever been or worked in a mainstream school?

    All the signs are very bad. It's time to disband the NCCE and have a rethink, before any more money is wasted. Right. Back to my Rocket Learning online course for Vietnamese .....
  2. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    They have set up a number of face-to-face and online courses, including a concise "audit" which you can take which assesses where you are with your subject knowledge and then gives you some advise as to which courses might be useful to you.

    I think it's still early days - I sent one of their coordinators an email this week and he said that schedules are still being drawn up for 2019/2020. I've been doing the FutureLearn course for Object-Oriented Programming which I found through them and that's been really good.

    I don't know, I know this forum is a vacuum of negativity but I think we need to give them a bit more time to roll out the strategy - what I've seen so far has been good, but I do understand the argument that I have had to actively find that information on their website (which is something I'm more likely to do as I'm active on social media etc) - there hasn't been much publicity. But then, if it isn't a finished product, would they want to advertise publicity just yet?
    Stiltskin likes this.
  3. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I can't talk for the rest of the country, however it has been heavily advertised to schools in the South East - especially to those in cat 5 or 6 areas which seem to be their priority at the moment.

    I'm presuming @3monkey has seen their website - https://teachcomputing.org/ about what their purpose is/what they are doing? I agree though that some of the CPD material I've seen doesn't seem to appropriate for the audience, but then a lot of it is.
    tjra likes this.
  4. ParakeetGreen

    ParakeetGreen New commenter

    So far that seems to be the case.

    I suspect there's more of these graduates highly sought after in INDUSTRY than in education for much higher remuneration and quality of career progression and options? So I suspect they are not the target audience? Hence "(re-)training" / career switch emphasis?

    It's interesting that CS is dropped in schools where the range of students are less academic. Which is another strong reason for ICT for these schools but with MORE practical experience to set these students up for their entry into the IT Industry/business... eg BTEC/CTEC but less on the report writing and more on the actual functional working knowledge as required "on the job".

    As said I think they're training CS teachers with less CS background. India is well ahead in the IT skills revolution as part of it's national strategy. UK is severely lagging and part of that is multifactorial eg absorption capacity into the current education system of "new ideas that work": It's suffers high inertia and numerous compound problems eg lack of culture of respect for education is pervasive, numerous management bodies above the actual raw practice of the teacher in the classroom directing the experience of learning itself - the real focus - is neglected.
  5. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    parkeetgreen said, "It's interesting that CS is dropped in schools where the range of students are less academic.".

    This is not the whole truth. CS is being dropped where schools are not obtaining sufficient exam results to justify the expenditure on CS. There are many reasons why the schools do not obtain the passes. One of the main reasons is reluctance to hire experienced, qualified teachers. School management almost guarantee poor results by hiring inexperienced, unqualified teachers to teach CS and then they have a great excuse to drop CS from the curriculum. Add classes of 32 very mixed ability students, no CS of any sort in ks2 or ks3 and results are guaranteed to be bad.

    Academic ability of the students is a secondary reason for a school to drop CS.

    I have been in Romania recently. CS is a core subject in state schools from primary to secondary. All students leave the state school system with a good CS grounding and are competent programmers. How can the UK possibly compete in the years to come when technology is running everything when UK students never experience CS at school?
    border_walker likes this.
  6. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I don't understand why people with qualifications are excluded - wouldn't inviting them along help to spread knowledge and lesson ideas more quickly?
  7. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    There are some highly valid points here. In the NCCE, we yet again have an organisation lacking in strong representation from mixed ability schools - it's run mainly by people who only see state schools on telly. As a result, it has a warped and unrealistic vision of what the 90% of mixed ability schools and their teachers need. Ironically and tragically, it also excluded private schools from having anything to do with their planned hubs, so their valuable expertise, their resources, possible partnerships and most importantly, their time is not available.

    The NCCE are clearly rudderless. Deadlines are constantly being pushed back. No clear vision has been made public. As someone else said, no roadmap based on actual proven successful evidence has been produced. Everything is a secret and blamed on Government. As always, the focus is on London and the South, sod anyone north of Watford.

    Worse, nothing has actually been achieved for the £80 million quid except a half-baked website with vague statements about visions, dreams and tomorrow along with yet another online course on OO to go with the 100000 courses on OO on YouTube.
  8. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    I saw the adverts for the Jobs at NCCE as educational coordinators here on TES some time back, they asked for teachers. In some respects if we didn't take ownership and apply we cannot complain about the people who did get the job. I thought about it as it was based in York only a short commute for me, personally I thought the pressure to achieve would be higher there than in school. I had the vision of being asked something like "We have spent £80 million, what have you done so far?" I also believe that the strategy of trying to upskill some teachers is wrong, many who taught ICT have no inclination to teach computer science, many teachers are scared of not being as good as the students at coding, and I agree with many comments on here about inexperienced staff, although not all of them. Computer Science is much more than coding, as some of my students have shown, great exam results with theory, yet unable to code simple solutions, they know the theory to code for the exam, but cannot put into real practice. I have no issues with that because none of them wish to be software engineers anyway, but they will make excellent problem solvers.
    On an aside I have completed a number of the NCCE and NSTEM courses via Future Learn, not because I don't know something, but because I wanted to see other ideas as I am the only subject specialist in school. Some are good, some are pointless, but there again lots of CPD is like that anyway.
    To end I think that the £80 million would have been better used to give schools the capacity to hire teachers of CS in the first place, and force schools to deliver CS properly.
    Stiltskin, tjra and binaryhex like this.
  9. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    What are you basing this on? I know of two people involved in the NCCE and both have taught in mixed ability state schools.
  10. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    The list of locations for their training has the same number in London as in most other major cities (Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, York to name a few). I don't understand why you're making stuff up?
  11. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    And even your third paragraph has yet more made up stuff in. There are a number of face-to-face courses on the website along with online ones (yes, across the country). Your drum must be getting very tired with all that banging you're doing on it.
  12. 3monkey

    3monkey New commenter

    £80 million pounds for an online course or two? You say that there are training opportunities all over - really? Where are the hubs? Why more delays without explanation? Why is the focus of active training firmly fixed in the SE of England (it may be advertised everywhere but that's not the same as actually being everywhere)? Why did me and a colleague just lose our jobs, me a computer science teacher with a computer science 2.1 degree plus three years in industry writing software - where were the NCCE for support, training, these so-called face to face meetings you suggest are widespread? I've not heard of a ###single### school in our area which has benefitted from an NCCE initiative, meeting, course or hub, although to be balanced and fair, we are 'north of Watford', so I can understand why we aren't a priority.

    ###Where### are these mythical hubs?

    Where are the published ###success criteria###? Who is ###independently### monitoring them?

    Where are the 8000 extra teachers that have benefitted from NCCE training. Come to think of it, where is ###just 1###?

    This is another smoke and mirrors organisation, all talk and excuses, no results, no actual strategy that's proven, based on ###evidence###. The NCCE is clearly failing Computer Science in schools, clearly failing us teachers.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  13. ParakeetGreen

    ParakeetGreen New commenter

    Sorry my sentence above should have (ideally) mentioned reference to my own anecdotal experience:

    1. The department at a struggling school did close it's CS department: Lack of ability to attract a CS teacher. The current teacher was fed up of the behaviour issue of the pupils (smashing equipment and just not putting the huge effort in needed to succeed in the course). As you say lack of early work before the Yr9 option was taken for CS.
    2. At an outstanding school, struggles with the subject and again partly losing CS teachers to presumably schools where the leaving CS teachers felt they'd get dedicated students and departments.
    3. Conversations on the lines of minimal mathematical ability is not a prerequisite but a useful indicator of how well students will cope with the CS (GCSE) course.
    4. Students who pick CS let down by the theory heavy side of it. I mean it seems like a similar situation with post-GCSE PE A-Level = theory whereas if the student liked "coaching, fitness schedules" that will serve them in a gym job, then Cambridge Technicals Level 3 if you look at the modules is much more practical: https://ocr.org.uk/qualifications/c...tended-diploma-05407-05409-05412-05415-05418/ . It seems a similar situation with CS moving into KS4 and then A-Level CS. The kids who already like the high aptitude or have been coding since 9yrs old already thrive in CS. It's the kids who like computing and want to gain skills and feel competent in this areas that imo find CS a misleading option.

    Your contributions expand the picture beyond this. And at heart the last contribution:

    The project-orientation nature of CS, Engineering, Project Management, Coding, Hardware, Creation and design and results and "business" side to it: It has more much more logistical demands than other courses if done "right"/this way. And that includes:

    * More cost per student (equipment)
    * More dedicated/focused student (you have to put in your daily hours outside lesson/school time)
    * Correct attitude of student (respecting equipment)
    * Smaller class sizes.

    Atm, CS just fits the mould of other subjects: Paper and Exam led instruction for credits for the school league table/ratings.

    What are the benefits of the above: I think students who enter industry in this area with high quality hours or experience already put into their skill development and can expect to be much more competitive.

    One of the downsides of the current CTEC/BTEC A-level alternatives is that they end up being more report writing and also as a means of credits for combination with other courses such as Business Studies to which they are taken by students who expect to learn about computing but not HOW necessarily. Eg "Look at all these flowers and plants in this garden, over here is " Iris pseudacorus and over here... ." Ok but what about taking one of these plants and being able to grow it from seed to flower over a year or so, successfully, and then combine into making a garden (small to start with?) !!

    Again the emphasis on learning real IT/CS skills is lost in the course delivery - because these other parameters are prioritized.

    Romania is well known from Soviet times as an area that was "delegated" to specialize in Computer learning and so they've had the fortune of a top-down directive that actually does what it says on the tin and hence has been working successfully for decades - at scale on learning this area.

    The real problem in the classroom as opposed to what is being fed into and forced fed at that, is the students behaviour: CS should be a more expensive course to deliver (eg pay of the competent CS teachers at market competitive rates for one) and it is therefore a course of merit to take in the first place.
  14. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    The same old problems have existed in CS for decades.

    Classes are too big for a practical subject. In a class of 32 in a 50 minute lesson, how many minutes can you spend with individual A before individuals B, C and D kick off? Spend a fairly typical 10 minutes showing a student how to track down their problem rather than doing it for them and others will just give up, lose interest or start mucking about. It's just not sustainable. In a large class in academies, the ability range can go from not able to add two numbers together without a calculator to OxBridge material. Try writing a lesson plan and explaining what you want everyone to do, when you have 30+ pupils in a classroom. With large classes, you cannot control the behaviour of a small minority of students in some of the schools I worked at, or stop some students stealing the microbits, as happened in my last school. Computer labs are extremely expensive; the hardware, software, maintenance and consumables cost a fortune compared to e.g. History - a few textbooks, the Internet and a good ten-a-penny History teacher and the course can be taught. SLT haven't a clue about CS, rarely have a CS background, think CS is like ICT and are unable to even frame the right questions at a school let alone answer them (which is one task the NCCE should be helping with, but aren't). CS teachers have no time now, and certainly no time for training. Even when a day is granted for training, the CS teacher is expected to set the CS lessons they are missing and pick up the pieces on their return, in addition to taking advantage of any training they get. They get very little free time for complex lesson planning of a practical subject. They are still subject to all the nonsense planning, doing assessments and showing progress against pointless targets as well as monitoring action plans, as dreamt up by a clueless SLT.

    Whilst the NCCE is dreaming up a beautiful vision of training hubs around the nation and thousands of jolly well training CS teachers, the truth is that not a single one is yet in place, open for business and producing tangible results. Meanwhile, teachers like the above are losing their jobs and schools are cutting this subject back from their offerings. The NCCE is failing badly because it is not focusing on dealing with the real issues teachers face. One reason for this is the complete lack of mainstream teachers in their ranks. Look at any of the Working Parties in NCCE, CAS, the RS or anyone else. You'll find one or two mainstream teachers on a good day, but most will be grammar and Independent teachers, industry bigwigs and of course, mainly lecturers looking to add to their CV. They aren't getting it right because they don't have the right people.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  15. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter



    First course I clicked on:
    • Liverpool24 June—15 July 2019
    • Oldham11 July—18 July 2019
    • Congleton15 July—17 July 2019
    • Ormskirk10 June—5 July 2019
    • Sunderland1 July—2 July 2019
    • Sunderland2 September—3 September 2019
    • Sunderland1 October—2 October 2019
    • Ilkley19 June—3 July 2019
    • Coventry5 July—17 July 2019
    • Stoke on Trent12 June—28 June 2019
    • Malvern10 July—17 July 2019
    • Tadley3 July—17 July 2019
    • Southampton15 July—17 July 2019
    • Plymouth14 June—28 June 2019
    • Ilminster28 June—12 July 2019
    • Swindon17 June—16 July 2019
    • London11 June—25 June 2019
    • London19 September—3 October 2019
    • Watford28 June—12 July 2019
    • Bedford26 June—3 July 2019
    • Hatfield29 July—29 July 2019
    • Ipswich2 October—10 October 2019
    • Stevenage23 September—14 October 2019
    • Nottingham17 June—8 July 2019
    • Scunthorpe10 June—5 July 2019

    Another one:
    • Manchester11 June—10 July 2019
    • Manchester24 June—8 July 2019
    • Cheshire23 September—7 October 2019
    • Ormskirk17 June—11 July 2019
    • Sunderland1 October—2 October 2019
    • Pickering13 June—4 July 2019
    • Sheffield19 June—8 July 2019
    • Stoke on Trent25 June—16 July 2019
    • Tadley12 June—24 June 2019
    • Southampton16 July—18 July 2019
    • Ilminster12 June—27 June 2019
    • Cheltenham26 June—17 July 2019
    • London5 July—19 July 2019
    • London12 June—26 June 2019
    • London17 October—31 October 2019
    • Hitchin1 July—15 July 2019
    • Hatfield31 July—31 July 2019
    • Hatfield19 June—25 June 2019
    • Stevenage30 September—16 October 2019
    • Cambridge26 June—17 July 2019
    • Nottingham17 September—3 October 2019
    • Scunthorpe24 June—16 July 2019

    That took me 30 seconds to find. Definitely not all in the SE and/or London.

    A year ago we had £0 allocated to this sort of thing. The NCCE received their budget relatively recently and they have managed this so far. I don't think you can blame them for you losing your job.
  16. NeitherMouseNorSock

    NeitherMouseNorSock New commenter

    Don't want to be negative but I have to be. Everything they have touched has turned to ****. It seems like its payback time for those who served CAS for so long. People getting cushy positions with fat salaries. Meanwhile the whole CAS project falls down. I was never a fan of CAS anyway, but there seems to be a whole lot of volunteers who have been left to fend for themselves.

    NCCE are pretty much a faceless organisation who aren't very good at being organised and are currently peeing £80m of public money up the wall. The courses are a joke. They are all pre-written, so there is no need for people to venture out, they could be self-studied in schools.

    If this is the best that can be developed by the government, then we might as well jump back 5 years and not bother.
  17. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    I go cold when I see what the NCCE are doing. It looks little more than an attempt to rehash NOF training, even up to the point of online certification!

    Here's a realtively upbeat assessment of how that went from Christina Preston on 12 March 2004 .....

    "Preston looks at whether the NOF ICT training scheme has been a success
    Eighty per cent of the UK's 450,000 teachers have now completed the New Opportunities Fund's (NOF) pound;230 million programme on information and communications technology (ICT) training, undertaken by 47 approved training providers (ATPs), which began in 1999.

    The programme's planners broke new ground in three ways: commercial companies were invited to link with university education departments, local authorities, independent advisers and teachers to provide training; the programme was to cover classroom applications of ICT, not basic skills; and online learning was emphasised, to introduce teachers to the National Grid for Learning (NGfL).

    Controversy around the programme began when The TES questioned the quality of courses, and Ofsted began to question the learning outcomes. In fact, these early warnings triggered substantial improvements.

    Because of this controversy, the MirandaNet evaluation, completed during 2002-2003, aimed to present a balanced report, reflecting the multiple perspectives of teachers, teacher leaders, trainers, inspectors and policymakers.

    A key issue was the significance of school culture and leaders' attitudes towards ICT. No progress could be made unless the professional vision was agreed within the school, and positive action taken to embrace the programme, including effective, whole-school needs analysis.

    The choice of trainer and the working relationship with the school were also central. Some schools and trainers had to work at this relationship; a few parted company. Also key was the quality of training. Inspirational teaching helped teachers to feel they had achieved significant learning, but some trainers, particularly from business, were less well received.

    Face-to-face training was essential for beginners and the less confident.

    Some experienced users preferred self-paced learning using CD-Roms or online support; overall there was little evidence of online learning and e-mentoring as the NGfL infrastructure was not complete, and those web-based learning environments that were used were overloaded.

    Measuring achievement was difficult. Accreditation was neither required under NOF regulations, nor popular among teachers. Trainers operating rigorous accreditation lost out when teachers only completed four-fifths of the course, and accreditation standards, where they existed, varied considerably.

    Collegiality began to emerge later in the evaluation, reflecting newer thinking about the building of learning communities and knowledge bases, and one form of accreditation involved web-portfolios from which other teachers could learn.

    The evaluation's statistical survey questioned a cross-section of 1,000 teachers. Three-quarters of responses indicated successful learning, some saying participation had been essential for individual growth and for school development. Several found the training enjoyable, made progress and gained new ICT knowledge. Specialist training, both in SEN and subject disciplines, was valued, and classroom-based ICT projects stimulated fresh ideas and approaches. Increased collegiality was mentioned, including the involvement of teaching assistants, supply teachers and students.

    Criticism characterised one-fifth of the responses. Teachers wanted more about classroom management, greater flexibility in the programmes, with varied teaching styles and differentiated learning, more ideas for lesson preparation, time to explore new ideas, and more meeting and sharing with colleagues. Time for learning was an issue, as the rules excluded payment for supply cover. Other complaints from teachers included: inadequate needs identification; rush to completion; accreditation being too easy or too hard; poor value for money of CD-Rom-based courses; and content irrelevant to the classroom.

    The evaluation found examples of mismatches between individual teachers'

    learning styles and their programmes. The survey provides information about the kind of ICT programme that teachers prefer, but one size will never fit all, and flexibility is key. Many ATPs had not anticipated the range of teachers' skill levels, and policy makers had to accept requests to allow basic skills training, as many participants did not know enough about computers to follow suggestions for classroom use.

    Much has changed since the programme was conceived in the 1990s. Evidence of these changes, such as transformational learning, new leadership approaches, whole-school ICT development, practice-based research, creativity, ownership of learning, communities of practice, and long-term CPD, appears in the report on emergent trends drawn from 15 successful school case studies.

    Despite the criticisms of aspects of planning and delivery, an 80 per cent completion rate is a major achievement for all concerned. Access is also now much improved, and the evidence suggests that the majority of teachers made progress by using the programme as a springboard for further development. The next step should now be to move from an instrumental view of ICT "training" for teachers, into a transformational mode of learning which seems to be the way that teachers really want to go, both for themselves and for their students.

    Part One: Summary, Part Two : Emergent Trends and Part Three: The Full Evaluation of the NOF report can be downloaded in pdf from www.mirandanet.ac.uknof"
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  18. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Sound all too familiar? It's like watching an old Dracula B movie, with courses (corpses?) rising from the dead again and again.
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  19. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    I fully sympathise with you loosing your job, but you cannot seriously be blaming the NCCE, this is your old school and old school's SLT/SMT that let you down. I also have a computing degree, I have actually done some of the online CPD, not because I need to, but because I wanted to see if they are appropriate for my colleague that does not have a computing degree. There are issues with setting up school hubs, lets be honest, if the criteria to be a hub was to be running CS through KS3 and KS4, then almost half of schools cannot be used, then those that do, are they good enough? Is the NCCE to blame for our woes, or just a rudderless government, that fails to put the money in to our education system, and uses dodgy stats to tell us all is well with Computing in UK schools. We could all argue the toss here, the NCCE was set up to train teachers, is it doing so, maybe maybe not. Is the failed roll out of the National Curriculum for Computing more to blame, as lets be honest, the NCCE, would have been better used, 5 years ago, it is almost a case of "closing the stable door after the horse has bolted".
    Again it is very sad to see people loosing jobs, I failed to get a job earlier this year as HoD (I am currently in post as HoD), at the beginning of the day the Principle of the school stated they wanted a Computer Scientist to totally rewrite the KS3 and KS4 Computing curricula. The job went to a business studies teacher, I didn't get to an interview. Schools do not want CS as it is perceived to be to hard, and we decided it was what we wanted to teach.
  20. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    I can see where the OP is coming from with this and why they have a point re losing their job. Clearly, it is not the NCCE's direct fault, but is it indirectly? I have argued repeatedly that the focus of this and other organisations is all wrong, and that that is a direct result of having so many lecturers and and so few actual mainstream teachers at their meetings, on their working parties, leading the organisation; as a result, they just don't understand the issues the vast majority of teachers face and focus their efforts in all the wrong places. One area that they miss, that is so far down their list of priorities it is the elephant in the cellar is the need to educate, support and refocus SLTs in schools on Computer Science at all kinds of levels, from providing education about why large classes in a practical subject like CS is a poor idea, how SLT should deal with classes where there is a huge gulf in ability, the importance of CS in the lower key stages and how to ensure that a suitable curriculum is in place in key stages 1, 2 and 3 and how secondary should be supporting and working with their primary feeders etc etc etc, things which all lead to a poor provision of the subject over time, with disillusioned staff and pupils who don't want to take on this hard subject. The NCCE need to be working with exam boards, to get the constant criticism of the specifications being addressed finally, after year after year after year of complaints about the volume of content and the difficulty of the topics to be taught in 120 hours. Providing £80million quid of what is essentially Computer Science NOF training is going to have very limited success. NCCE are not seeing the bigger and more important picture. The result will be a few hundred teachers with a bit more knowledge on how to teach algorithms whilst the rest of the money (a small £80million compared to the NOF budget) going the same way as NOF.
    ParakeetGreen likes this.

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