Computing teachers fear students know more than they do, poll shows

Two-thirds of teachers are worried their students know more about computing than they do, a poll has found, leading to calls for staff to be given more training in the subject.

The survey, commissioned by Microsoft and subject association Computing at School, also revealed that more than eight out of 10 teachers wanted more training and development after the first term of teaching the new subject.

The figures chime with a separate poll of students, also carried out by Microsoft and CAS, which showed that more than half believed they knew more than their teachers about certain aspects of computing, such as programming and creating websites.

Two-fifths of the nine- to 16-year-olds questioned added that their teachers lacked confidence when giving lessons in the subject.

Computing was introduced as a new subject in September. It replaced ICT, which was scrapped in 2012 after former education secretary Michael Gove branded it as “demotivating and dull”.

Despite the findings, however, more than two-thirds of teachers said they enjoyed teaching the new subject, with a similar number reporting that their students were both “interested and engaged” during lessons.

The two surveys polled just under 280 teachers and more than 1,700 students.

To help train teachers in delivering the new computing curriculum, CAS launched a programme called QuickStart Computing to provide CPD to members of staff in clusters of schools, funded by Microsoft and the Department for Education.

According to Simon Peyton Jones, chairman of CAS, the findings from the survey highlight the issues that teachers have had to tackle over the past nine months.

“We should be very proud of our teachers, who are engaging so positively with the new computing [curriculum], and are now inspiring and exciting children about computing in schools up and down the country,” Mr Peyton Jones said.

“CAS believes in the value of high quality, continuing professional development for teachers, and the role of working groups like CAS in instilling confidence and sharing ideas and best practice.”

Education secretary Nicky Morgan added that more than 4 million primary pupils were now being taught computing. “Giving young people a solid grounding in computing from an early age is a key part of our plan for education, ensuring they are prepared to succeed in modern Britain,” she said.

This week, TES is publishing a major feature on computing, as well as a full supplement on the newest subject in the curriculum.  

Related stories: 

Computing curriculum will not meet needs of industry, research warns - 13 October 2014

Jimmy Wales fears nine years of computing will be too much for pupils - 28 September 2014

Fears mount over readiness to teach new computing curriculum - 13 November 2013

How to master the new primary computing curriculum - 1 October 2014  

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you