What future for Computing?

Intel Pentium die shot

Originally uploaded by mark.sze

This isn’t a post supporting and slating a national, or even regional, agenda for computing in schools (those who read this blog regularly will know I am already incredibly pro-computing).

In our school we offer GCE Applied ICT at 6th form and for many years we have also offered AS Computing as an ‘enrichment’ option. This means that myself and one other colleague used to give up a couple of free periods and a couple of hours after school each week.

Now that my other colleague has left, it’s just me. And while I’m really enjoying teaching the course in my own way, using Greenfoot as an intro to BlueJ, it’s pretty tiring to do the planning, marking and teaching on top of my full teaching workload and Head of Department responsibilities.

If we were to run Computing as a full option it would cost us 10 hours per week once we get both year groups up and running, and we just don’t have the staffing to do it – either in terms of hours or in terms of willing specialists (I’m convinced that all of the colleagues in my department are capable of delivering the content, but they’re not).

So, as we prepare leaflets, flyers and other parts of our annual recruitment drive I am seriously considering dropping the course from September 2012.

Ironically, this will be the first time we have a GCSE Computing cohort coming through into the 6th form and I thought it only fair to try and gauge interest before making my decision. The result? 6 of the 11 are seriously considering taking the course even though it would involve having less teaching time than they deserve, and some of this being outside of school hours.

This is in addition to 2 or 3 other students I know are considering it who have not taken GCSE Computing.

While I’m not sure I could find the energy to run another year of Computing (200 hours of my time) for a class of 2, I would feel horrendously guilty for not allowing students who have followed Computing for 2 years to carry their studies on, especially if I’m heading for double figures.

I’ll need to make a decision pretty soon…


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