The last few months have definitely been busy. Since the outcomes of the Ofqual consultation were released regarding the assessment of programming skills for Computer Science (first teach 2020), we have been working hard on the updates to our qualification.
To keep you in the loop, we have been focusing on these areas:
Your support and enthusiasm to help us shape the 2020 first teach specification has been overwhelming. We have engaged with you through networks, social media, face-to-face work-groups and online surveys.
We have spoken to several hundred of you and taken all your views on-board. We have discussed issues ranging from specification layout to content and assessment models. We also discussed the impact any revision would have on teaching and learning resources and schemes of work.
All of the feedback has helped us to shape the direction of travel. We will continue to ask for your support in reviewing draft proposals and testing ideas to ensure that you can carry on delivering our specification.
If you haven't already got involved, you can find ways of engaging with us at the foot of this blog.
We have had significant contact with leading industry figures. This helps to ensure that our GCSE continues to be an excellent qualification that will prepare students for further education or the workplace.
We are confident therefore that we will continue to have a valid and ‘future-proof’ qualification.
We continue to have conversations with Ofqual.
Our discussions focus on how to meet these conditions and regulatory requirements while meeting your expectations of what a computer science GCSE could look like in the future.
1. The need for stability
Many of our teachers told us how strongly they felt about the level of change in this subject over the past few years. Many of you told us that you wanted a period of stability.
(A pre-release is a set task released to teachers on a specified date, before the exam for them to work through with their students during lessons. Students would be assessed on the programming skills during a written, timetabled exam with questions related to the pre-release content.)
It was great to hear such a wide range of views about pre-release. Many of you liked the principle of working through tasks with students in the classroom to help prepare them for the programming aspect of the examinations. This was counterbalanced by lively discussions around the impact on teaching due to the planning time needed by teachers and students to engage with a pre-release effectively.
All of these views have informed our discussions.
3. Student mental health and wellbeing
Student wellbeing and mental health was a very strong concern raised by teachers. Discussions focused around:
Student wellbeing is of paramount importance to all of us – and rightly so. We have taken all your feedback on board.
If you have questions then please submit your comments below. We want to continue to engage with you throughout this journey and there are lots of ways to make sure you are ‘in the loop’ and keep up-to-date with developments.
You can join our GCSE Facebook group where we often put polls and questions to teachers or follow us on Twitter @OCR_ICT.
Sign-up for our free teacher networks in June/July where we will be discussing our decisions with you and getting your feedback for further consideration. There are also new dates being planned for the autumn term.
Finally, you can sign-up for email updates to ensure you are receiving the latest concise and informative newsletters and emails.
Ceredig Cattanach-Chell - Subject Advisor - Computer science
Ceredig joined OCR in September 2015 incorporating his breadth of experience from education to support the reform and development of the new GCSE 9-1 Computer Science and Entry Level R354. A keen advocate of the challenges faced within the classroom, Ceredig led on the concept and delivery of teacher delivery packs, which have become one of the flagships for the new GCSE’s success with teachers. Before joining OCR, Ceredig had eight years of education and teaching experience across a wide range of schools, including primary, secondary, academies and SEN sectors. Ceredig has a degree in Computer Science from Liverpool University and Post Grads from Liverpool Hope and Cambridge Universities. Outside of work, Ceredig is a keen modeller/painter, gamer and all-around geek. From wildlife to war games, his varied hobbies ensure that he is never just ‘sitting down watching the box’.