New free issue of CS4FN computing magazine for schools coming in Summer – hooray :) ^JB

After a year-long Covid-imposed hiatus we’re delighted 🥳 🎉 that things are moving speedily towards publishing and distributing the next issue of CS4FN, the free computing magazine for schools from the Computer Science department at Queen Mary University of London.

Issue 27, due in June 2021, will be on Smart Health and all our back issues (and other booklets) can be downloaded free as PDFs here

Some back issues of CS4FN

After such a long wait we thought it was a good opportunity to check our mailing list with a finetooth comb and make sure everyone’s address was correct, and that they were receiving the copies that they want.

There are about 2,400 subscribers on our list and we send approx 24,000 copies out to them (some want 1, some a class set of 30, some a bigger number). We try and make sure everyone gets what they request but with a mailing list that’s been in existence for 16 years it makes sense to check it occasionally.

You might be getting an email from me (Admin Jo) to check that you are still at the school you’re subscribed with, particularly where a school has several teachers subscribed.

Of course if you or your school isn’t yet subscribed to receive free copies of CS4FN please sign up (using the purple form) here:

Finding duplicates (in some cases triplicates) isn’t always easy as people write their school’s name in different ways – compare St. Trinians, Saint Trinian’s, or St Trinian’s. An easily made typo in a postcode – 1AA 1AB versus 1AA 1BA can also hide duplication, and people move on to different schools. So it’s a delicate procedure and may take some time to get round to everyone.

Also, there is the ever-present possibility of me making a mistake somewhere…

My daftest error so far was when I decided to Find & Replace all instances of “UK” for “United Kingdom”. This would have gone very well had I restricted my manipulations only to the Country column but, alas, anyone called Luke or working at a school called St Luke’s or whose address was Duke Road etc ended up with an incomprehensible address.

I only realised when mail began to be returned with addresses like ‘DUnited Kingdome Road” on it. A cautionary example of verschlimmbesserung, or ‘disimprovementing’ – when one intends to improve something but ends up making it worse.

See also this example of ‘fixing a bug’ from Malcolm in the Middle ;)

Kids at home? Free computing-themed activity newsletter from @cs4fn ^JB #HomeLearning #ComputingAtHome

Over the last 14 years CS4FN (Computer Science For Fun) has been creating and sharing with schools our FREE inspiring computing resources for use in the classroom. Our sister project Teaching London Computing (this website) also supports teachers directly with continuing professional development.

During lockdown we’re gradually converting some of our school resources into a format that doesn’t need a printer – so that they can be done on a computer (or tablet) or done with pen and paper – or even with a pack of cards. (We do have printable stuff too but not everyone has a printer at home).

We’re creating a new short email newsletter for families so that we can share our free resources with them. We’re already in touch with lots of teachers (our printed magazines alone go to 2,300 subscribing UK schools) but not so much with other parents and carers… yet. Can you help us to reach them?* Thanks! (Here’s a Tweet you could share too)

This is the link for the sign-up form and it’s embedded below. If you want to read the newsletters but don’t want to sign up we’ll add them here so please bookmark this page.

*But please don’t sign up friends without getting their permission first – thank you!

To start you off here are some Home Learning activities for Primary and Secondary.


List of computing resources (for parents & teachers) #HomeLearning / #ComputingAtHome ^JB

Jane Waite has collected together an amazing list of things that will be useful for parents and teachers supporting kids at home during lockdown. She’s kindly given me permission to share it on this blog, the original is here at Computing At School [CAS] (but you’ll need to register to be able to see it – it’s free to do so. It’s a site for computer science teachers in the UK).

Because CAS is aimed at  computing teachers (who are probably already members and may have seen Jane’s post) I’ve re-ordered the information to lead with the things that parents might find most useful.


Websites with collections of links on home learning

Twitter #


The rest below is aimed more at teachers

There seem to be three main approaches being suggested for running classes for pupils who are at home under an Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) context.

  1. Asynchronous -material can be accessed at any time, e.g. videos, workbooks
  2. Synchronous – real-time e.g. online classes – “VIRI is defined as a teaching and learning experience that is led by an instructor, that takes place in the online space (over the internet), where all students participate in the experience at the same time, and where the experience involves two-way communication between student and student or student and instructor” (Francescucci & Foster, 2013, p.82)
  3. A combination of the two.

Perhaps consider the following

Guidance on running online learning activities

CPD for teachers on home learning

Websites/ blogs with case studies, school experiences


  • If you are recording a teaching and learning video for your students – show your face!

Resources for teaching computing online (some are normally subscription)

  • Fabulous thread on twitter from @chinmay. Click on SHOW THREAD. of a list of methods for peer collaboration and conversation in online learning. Brilliant.

A very comprehensive list of ideas and resources for teaching remotely thank you @TorreyTrust

  • Some time ago, UCL led the creation of the ABC learning design method for developing blended learning courses in universities. The resources include a method for reviewing current face to face lessons and converting to online. They have a toolkit which includes a brilliant set of cards which map “conventional” to digital activities. These are behind a username/password but its free. We could adapt these for a primary/secondary and subject-specific context. We could add software ideas and examples. Feels like a simple and easy way to help teachers tackle conversion.
  • Teaching online with care. Crowdsourcing at its best, international group of teachers crowdsourcing, support, resources and ideas.
  • STEM have suggested project learning at home Has anyone adapted these for home use?
  • There’s everything you need for GCSE CS to learn online free until September or the end of the school closures, whichever is later. Just fill in the form at the top of the page at Free online GCSE CS Textbook, animated presentations for each specification point for OCR, AQA and most of Edexcel, activities, examples, links to videos, exam-style questions. All in a simple format to upload to a VLE or extranet.
  • Crowdsourced pages of resources for teaching online Teaching in the context of Covid-19 (mainly US university contributions) Stockpiling for COVID-19 teaching resources (mainly twitter links again US uni focused)

Aspiring head teachers in London – support available from @MayorOfLondon

The Mayor of London’s “London Schools Excellence Fund” (LSEF) network (which funds some of the work that Teaching London Computing does as part of the CAS London network) has an opportunity for aspiring head teachers in London.

This is open to all hopeful head teachers in London, not just those involved in teaching computing so feel free to pass it on to other colleagues.


Getting Ahead London
Take the next step on your leadership journey

If you’d like to step up to headship, but aren’t sure how to get there, then consider applying to the Getting Ahead London Programme.

The Mayor is running a second year of his scheme for senior leaders in London:  Getting Ahead London. Delivered by Challenge Partners, a place on this scheme can give you prestigious, bespoke training and support to help you on your journey to becoming a headteacher in the capital.

We know that many London schools are struggling to recruit great leaders. Through a structured, year-long programme of coaching, network building and career advice, Getting Ahead London will give senior leaders the skills and confidence to help them move towards a headship position.

We are particularly keen to ensure that women and BAME senior leaders are well represented among senior leader applicants, to strengthen further the diversity of the successful participant cohort in 2016/17.

The support offered includes:

  • Coaching from highly experienced London heads to help participants fulfil their leadership potential
  • Help to navigate existing leadership opportunities
  • Face to face leadership development and networking events with world-class businesses
  • Online tools and resources to support your development
  • Support with applying for jobs and preparing for interviews
  • Getting Ahead London will run from September 2017 until July 2018.

Getting Ahead London complements existing leadership development programmes and qualifications.

The deadline for applications is 14 June 2017
Interested?  Find out more and apply at:


Using London’s transport network to teach computing – free resource & workshop (12 June)


  1. Free London computing resource that uses London’s transport system to teach unplugged computing as well as Python programming – as part of the new London Curriculum
  2. Free teachers’ event on 12 June to demonstrate this resource
  3. It’s also #LondonHistoryDay soon – CAS London / Teaching London Computing has some other resources for your classroom

1. A new resource for computing teachers in London
Someone has come up with the rather lovely and brilliant idea of exploiting (in the best way) London itself as a resource to be used in teaching in schools. Obviously London has lots of history, architecture, transport, science and literary links and these aspects can feed into the curriculum for London schools. I wish I’d thought of it.
Teachers, working with the Mayor of London, have developed subject-relevant London-centric curricular packs for the London Curriculum which are free to access after registering.

Clifford French and Trevor Bragg have created a resource pack – The Connected City – for computer science teachers in London, using the theme of transportation on the city’s roads. Students can use Python to interact with freely available Transport for London data on buses, traffic lights, hire-bikes etc (similar to the way smartphone apps work) but also using by learning about computational thinking ideas that don’t involve programming, such as the unit on pedestrian crossings –

The role of computational thinking
This unit focuses on road traffic signals in London and how they are used to manage travel by road. This includes buses and cars but also pedestrians and cyclists. After a  general introduction to transport in London students are introduced to an ‘unplugged’ model of a pedestrian crossing signal.”
Source: The Connected City (available from the link above)

2. Free teachers’ event to demonstrate this new computing resource
To accompany this Trevor and Clifford are running a free event for computing teachers, on Monday 12 June, to demonstrate how they can use this resource in their classrooms.

Connected City – New Mayor of London, KS3 Computing Curriculum Workshop
Monday, June 12, 2017 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM (BST) London
Room 2.87 Franklin Wilkings Building
Eventbrite tickets:

A Hands on workshop, giving you the chance to try out the Scratch and or Python lessons with support, along with fellow teachers to gain confidence, before you use at your school with your students.

For Scratch there will be modelling of Traffic lights and a Pedestrain Crossing.
For Python you will learn about objects, lists and dictionaries.

Transport for London data can be accessed without any code and from a Python program we will look at both.

This course and the resources it uses are available free.

“London is extraordinary. It has a wealth of cultural, heritage and scientific venues. It is exciting and inspiring. It is also a hotbed of invention and creativity. As such, there is no better classroom than London.

The Mayor’s London Curriculum uses the capital as inspiration to bring the new national curriculum to life at key stages 2 and 3. The programme offers free teaching resources, evening events for teachers and exciting educational activities for students.”
Source: The London Curriculum – learning inspired by London

3. #LondonHistoryDay
London’s first London History Day will take place next Wednesday 31 May 2017 but schools are being invited to encourage their students to take part this Friday (26 May) and dress up as a famous historical Londoner.

We thought schools might be interested in London’s history from a computing perspective and have put together this page which talks about computational thinking and computing ideas as they relate to the Romans, Tudors / Stuarts, Victorians, World War 2 and more modern history.

Find out more at London, History and Computing