Developing Leader – a) Supporting Staff - Primary Leadership Journey

By Phil Wickins posted 27 days ago


This is the first blog in the ‘developing leader’ section, aimed at primary computing subject leaders who have been in role long enough to feel confident that computing is being taught regularly and the content meets the requirements of the National Curriculum. More explanation of this section of the leadership Journey can be read about in the ‘developing leader’ blog post on the NCCE website. If you missed it, please read the New Leader blog on the NCCE Website to understand the Primary Computing Leadership Journey further. Click on the graphic below for links to individual areas:

02a Supporting Staff - Primary Leadership Pathway

This area of the Leadership Journey: ‘Supporting Staff’ is covered in more detail on the Leading Primary Computing Module 2 course in session 3 - Helping others to teach computing effectively – which also guides you through how to run successful computing CPD yourself in your staff meetings/ Inset days. In the recent Big Primary Computing Leadership Survey, staff subject knowledge was cited as one of the biggest barriers to delivering high quality teaching in computing in primary schools:

Once you have a curriculum/ scheme of work that you are happy with, it’s up to you to make sure your staff have access to all the necessary CPD and guidance they need. Fortunately, if you are using the Teach Computing Curriculum there is a wealth of information and CPD at no extra cost. Let’s start with the newly updated Teacher Guides for KS1 and KS2; here you’ll find information on what hardware and software you’ll need, how the curriculum progresses and how best to deliver it in the classroom. 

If you have implemented the Teach Computing Curriculum in your school, then perhaps your staff need some specific CPD on the units and software used in that. Fortunately, there are year group specific courses for this that really focus on what they’d need: Getting Started with the TCC in Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6.

Not all of the NCCE CPD is aimed at teachers using the Teach Computing Curriculum, many of our courses and resources are applicable no matter what scheme of work you are using. Take our range of pedagogy for example, that shares best practice in computing within any kind of context; including ‘paired programming’, ‘semantic waves’ and ‘PRIMM’. If your teachers are struggling with some of the more technical terms, direct them to the Primary Computing Glossary which explains language found in the National Curriculum and beyond.

Now we get to the CPD! Let’s consider your staff and what might suit them best. If they are a bit of a technophobe, or claim that computers don’t like them (we need to move away from personifying computers by the way!) then perhaps the best CPD for them is Introduction to primary computing - face to face or remote

If programming is what they are struggling with, which is quite often the case, then perhaps they’d be interested in the online courses Teaching Programming to 5 -11 year olds, or  Introduction to Programming with Scratch which they could complete in their own time. If they’d prefer a more interactive CPD, then there is also Teaching programming using Scratch and Scratch Jr or Algorithms and programming in key stage 1.

If there is a gap in subject knowledge around computer science in general, then please direct teachers to Teaching Computing Systems and Networks to 5- to 11-year-olds.

If you have trainee teachers, then please direct them to Empowering trainee teachers: Introduction to primary computing remote or face to face.

If you feel your teachers need a more comprehensive dose of CPD, then check out the residential courses over the course of 2 days: Teaching Computing in KS1 and KS2.

That is the CPD covered! If you are able to, as a subject lead sometimes it is really helpful to have a  regular open door session, or workshop for teachers requiring help or assistance. One leader I knew had a ‘top tip’ or ‘tech hack’ slot at the end of every staff meeting, to reveal something that would help teachers not only in computing lessons but also in their own digital practice. However you manage the subject in terms of your staff, think about the kind of leader you want to be, the kind of shadow you want to cast – I describe this a bit more in the ‘Developing Leader’ blog. This doesn’t mean fixing all the technical issues in the school, something covered in ‘Roles and Responsibilities’, but it is about supporting staff to get the best out of teaching and learning in your school. 

How do you support your staff? Do you have any great hints and tips? Tell us in the comments!

Next blog: Computing Quality Framework
Previous blog: Developing Leader

CQF: If you have signed up to complete the Computer Quality Framework, then any activity undertaken in this incremental section of the Leadership Journey would count towards to the 'Staff Development' dimension of the CQF. 

1 comment



24 days ago

This looks really interesting - will the face to face courses for established leaders be coming up North in time at all? Many thanks Emma