Surveying schools and Computing teachers – do they need training, and if so what format?

As part of the evaluation of the Teaching London Project (funded by the Mayor of London and the Department for Education to support London teachers who’ll be teaching the new Computing curricula) we have been asking Head Teachers about their perceptions of the need (or not) for training for Computing teachers. We want our courses to be helpful to teachers, as part of their CPD, and also to be available to them in a useful format (short courses versus longer ones, in-school hours versus out of hours classes).

We’ve conducted a study, with 32 respondents so far, and the summary of feedback is below, but we’re keen to hear from more teachers and head teachers in London about how schools are thinking about training needs for those teaching the new GCSE or A-level Computing.

Please visit to take part in our survey and pass this link on to colleagues.

In the text below ‘Computing’ refers also to ‘Computer Science’ as both terms are used in the curricula. The survey results were analysed by Nicola Plant, who also wrote the information below.

Summary Results of the Teaching London Computing teachers’ survey

We’ve had 32 responses to our survey so far.

1. Courses currently offered or planned

The majority of schools (60%) already offer GCSE Computing and a third of responding schools plan to offer the subject in the next two years with only a small proportion of schools opting not to offer the subject.

Updated graphs by Nicola

y-axis is the number of respondents, out of 32 in total

In contrast, the majority of schools (78%) do not currently offer A-Level Computing, of which two thirds plan to offer the subject in the next 2 years, and a third opts not to offer the subject. (This could be explained by the fact that the new GCSE curriculum has only recently begun to be offered and so there are no students past year 11 to continue).

2. Training requirements

31 of 32 respondents thought that teachers need subject knowledge training. For the GCSE Computing curriculum around half of schools expected that teachers would attend training both inside and outside of school time. A third of schools also expect teachers to pick up the subject as they go along.  For the A-Level perceptions were different, where only 5 schools expected teachers to pick it up as they go along, a third expected teachers to train in their own time, but half would have teachers training inside school hours. However, informal comments explained that cover is a problem as covered students don’t feel supported by cover teachers.

2 graphs

Click to enlarge

3. Format of training

There was no significant difference between GCSE and A-level Computing for a preferred format for training. Around a third to a half of schools (that would encourage staff to attend training) were split equally among workshops, shorter courses and longer CPD courses.

Schools rated staff time, course costs, choosing courses that offered subject knowledge, and choosing courses that offered knowledge of the curricula an equally important consideration for both GCSE and A-level Computing training courses. Just over 50% of schools would provide cover when staff were on training courses.

4. Recruitment

To teach GCSE Computing 40% of schools are looking to recruit more experienced staff but to teach A-Level Computing half of schools were looking to recruit more experienced staff.

5. A-level

Around 80% of schools do not offer A-level Computing because there is a lack of experienced staff and facilities.

Two CPD Computing courses starting next week and another two free workshops with Paul Curzon

Happy New Year to all our readers :)

I’m delighted to announce that Paul Curzon will be running another two workshops in January and free tickets (via Eventbrite) will go live soon, but in the meantime please make a note of these dates.

Workshops (free)
The first will be on Monday 19 January from 5.30pm to 7pm, on Computational thinking: searching to speak. The second will be on Monday 26 January at the same time with the workshop title to be confirmed.

Tickets for the first workshop are now live.

CPD Computing courses (not free)
We’ve two different short courses beginning next week.

The first course is £300 (or £150 for London teachers thanks to subsidised funding from the Mayor of London). The second is £1,000 (£500 for London teachers).

And… while we have your attention – we’re keen to find out more about what people want from training courses, please could you help by answering our survey? Thank you.

***London Computing teachers*** – please fill in our short survey
We would like to understand more about the training needs that Computing teachers in London have and we’ve developed a short survey to help us find out more. If you are a Computing teacher based in London your participation will be very helpful. There’s an opportunity to sign up for class sets of free booklets once you’ve completed the survey which should take no more than five minutes to complete.

Please visit to take part in our survey and pass this link on to colleagues.