Computer Science - Resources?


(Next Generation Skills Update - September 2012)

Over the last couple of months things have been moving on the ICT curriculum front with Government, Industry and Campaigners all being active. Next Generation Skills* for instance have been meeting on a regular basis to make progress in several areas:


ICT Resources and the National Curriculum

At the BETT exhibition in 2012, Michael Gove set industry a challenge:

"The essential requirements of the National Curriculum need to be specified in law, but perhaps we could use technology creatively to help us develop that content. And beyond the new, slimmed down National Curriculum, we need to consider how we can take a wiki, collaborative approach to developing new curriculum materials; using technological platforms to their full advantage in creating something far more sophisticated than anything previously available."


Next Generation Skills have responded by discussing with many of its members what this Wiki approach might look like and how it would operate.  They have focussed on the collaborative approach to developing new curriculum materials, in the form of a portal, reaffirming a collective desire for a unified government strategy focusing on:

  • co-ordination and compilation of teacher resources and pedagogy via Network of Teaching Excellence and a virtual 'one stop shop'
  • collaborative (informal) learning networks and help
  • support for teachers via investment in CPD and learning resources"

 The group also discussed existing and potential resources for teachers including:

  • CAS Network
  • National STEM Centre
  • National Education Network
  • Glow
  • Guardian teachers network

 The purpose and function of the portal is still being debated as is where it is t be hosted. However there is some agreement on the following:

  • The portal should be an easily navigable interface for teachers.
  • Allow an interface for employers
  • Vendor-neutral as possible.
  • Ability to respond to what teachers want, e.g. lesson plan templates, best practice.
  • The portal should be a joint funded initiative between government (one-off) and industry


The kind of resources and links it would contain might include:


  • Naace ICT Curriculum Framework

( )


  • Computing At School in conjunction with the University of Kent set up:



  • I Love My Smartphone - Computer Science resources



  • Greenfoot / Greenroom network - an interactive Java development environment.



  • Apps for Good - create mobile apps with social purpose, giving them a launchpad in social enterprise and the exciting world of technology, design and innovation. (




  • Code Academy - an online platform for beginners to learn to code with teaching platform and resource.




  • e-skills Behind the Screen Programme

( )


  • Yoyo Games - Gamemaker



  • Mindstorms NXT kit (Build robots)



  • First Lego League



  • Robot Arm control



  • Net Gadgeteer - Open Source toolkit...



  • How to get started building gadgets



  • Data Logging and Control


  • Go control Software



  • Flowol



  • Microsoft vpl



  • Game to Learn



  • Raspberry Pi tutorials:


Other news:

  • Computing At School (CAS) sent an information pack to every head teacher of a state maintained secondary school in England, (March 2012). So far over 520 Secondary schools have responded to the initiative. Have you got yours?


  • Examining bodies have developed - or in the process of developing rigorous new GCSEs in Computer Science. I will be reporting on this in the next article, including the progress made on getting Computer Science to be included in the English Baccalaureate. To this send the Royal Academy of Engineering are providing research to ensure that Computer Science qualifications are rigorous enough, and allow for satisfactory pupil progression.





  • Next Generation Skills have lobbied the Chancellor to find resources to fund CPD and ITT with teachers. This was also made clear within the submission to the ICT Consultation and subsequent lobbying with the DFE. Watch this space.


*Next Gen Skills is a major new campaign formed from an alliance between the biggest names from the UK digital, creative and hi-tech industries and the UK's leading skills and education bodies to improve the computer programming skills needed for the future growth of our economy.   

Breaking News:

The DFE have given the responsibility of developing the draft ICT Programme of Study for the new ICT Curriculum to the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng). Next Generation Skills, is one of the groups who will be responding to the draft proposals, very shortly, which has to be submitted to the DFE by October 23rd.

Other groups who will be responding to the draft proposal include Naace, ITTE, CAS and Vital. The official proposal will be published in early 2013 for public consultation.

Currently, there has been a lot of agreement between the different groups about what should be in the new ICT Curriculum and is based around the following new strand headings - Fundamentals; Application; Implications.