Tag Archives: GCSE

Day 3 – Planning and delivering an inspiring & engaging Computing curriculum

This week Sirius Academy hosted the third session in this CPD programme for teachers.

Our group of Hull teachers, preparing for the GCSE Computing curriculum, worked collaboratively again and welcomed back Alan O’Donohoe. The cohort quickly turned to hands-on activities to focus on strategies to support differentiation, assessment and pedagogy in practice.  All areas that our teachers have welcomed Alan’s experience and enthusiastic delivery style.


Alongside hands-on activities, practical tips and guidance there are always lots of notes, links and ideas to take away:



  • Again, everybody attending said they’d recommend the session to colleagues and rated the overall session as ‘5’ (our highest grade and ‘Excellent, great CPD benefit)
  • Liked the hands-on approach
  • Good to use Python and Scratch
  • Liked the approach to looking at students’ assignments to help with GCSE CS assessment and modelling

Delivering an Outstanding GCSE Computing Curriculum (Day 1)

Our CPD project to support teachers to plan and deliver an inspiring and engaging Computing curriculum continued yesterday with a session focussed on KS4 and GCSE.

GCSE Day 1 Eval

Led by Alan O’Donohoe, teachers from across the city were able to collaborate and share T&L experiences and strategies, with the fundamental aim to concentrate on ‘pedagogy in practice‘.  Do you follow Alan on Twitter?

What did the teachers most like about the day?

  • The participation of hands-on activities
  • Hands-on experience of PythonFun interactive approach of the facilitator.
  • I have received some great ideas of how I can introduce Python. I have also gained a basic understanding of Python.
  • Finding things to teach the kids, activities.
  • Suggestions of ideas, starting points for delivery of new materials and programming.
  • Hands-on experience of Python.  Shown classroom activities to use.
  • Working with others looking at Python.
  • The actual programming/coding work – learning what does what and the result.

Next steps?

As a group the teachers shared ideas to form individual plans on how to follow up the ideas that were explored throughout the day and how the impact of that could be measured.  At the next session we’ll be able to evaluate and learn from these activities and ideas:

  • I’ll begin to explore software such as Scratch and Hopscotch (iPad) with pupils – potential Computer Science GCSE candidates.
  • I’ll use ‘Sabotage‘ as a teaching and learning tool.
  • I will try some of the activities in lessons and measure impact through the engagement of the class and personal confidence in delivery with ability to support students and answer questions.  Debugging!
  • I’ll get my students to coach each other.
  • Practice with Y7s and in after school sessions.
  • After a module with Scratch for Y7 I will introduce a couple of lessons with coding.
  • I will teach Python with classes at school.
  • I’m going to try ‘Quiz, quiz, train‘ as a student-led activity
  • I will introduce Computing terminology to a Year 9 class.
  • I will read through the online source and I will also introduce Python to my Year 8 class.

All the teachers who attended said they’d recommend the CPD session to others, so we asked them to comment:

GCSE Day 1 Recs

Check out the ‘Team Events Calendar‘ for next dates.   Days two and three are in May with another day specifically for CPD with the new Computing curriculum in June.  Don’t forget the two students events planned for March and June, with more information available through the blog posts.

Hope to see you at the next session – email us and include the dates in your CPD planning with the Education Team 🙂

Delivering an Outstanding GCSE Computing Curriculum in Hull


Many teachers have requested CPD to support the planning, delivery and assessment of the GCSE Computing Curriculum.

We have planned a programme which will focus acutely on the pedagogy of teaching Computing as well as the subject knowledge and understanding required.  It will include a variety of strategies to plan, teach and organise with an emphasis on hands-on practical workshops to enable teachers in the classroom to feel confident about approaching GCSE Computing.

Alan O’Donohoe, an established Computing at School (CAS) Master Teacher and trainer, will lead on these three sessions for GCSE.   Alan has taught Computing from Key Stage 2 to GCSE and among other things is the founder of the Raspberry Jam movement http://about.me/alanodonohoe.

The initial outlines of the days are below, but a flexible approach will allow for the content and delivery to change throughout the days and to be guided by the teachers in the project.

Day One:

Wednesday 12th February 2014 – all day (9.00 – 3.00) at Winifred Holtby Academy

This day will be suitable for teachers who are currently teaching GCSE Computing or are considering the introduction of it. It will be ideally suited to teachers with little or no experience of teaching programming and/or no computer science background.

This course will:

  • Identify and develop pedagogical approaches to teaching programming to pupils
  • Develop teacher competence and an understanding of key computing concepts
  • Provide teachers with the insight to plan and design their curriculum around the introduction of computing
  • Allow teachers the opportunity, through hands-on practical workshops, to explore a range of approaches and platforms to teach programming
  • deliver time-saving tips and techniques from teaching experiences
  • enable you to feel confident about teaching GCSE Computing

Day Two:

Thursday 1st May 2014 – all day (9.00 – 3.00) at Winifred Holtby Academy

Please note that some previous programming experience is required (at least attendance of Day 1).  It is suitable for teachers of GCSE Computing who are looking to develop their own effectiveness as well as preparing their classes for exams

On this course you will be presented with a variety of strategies to plan, teach and organise coursework assignments. There will be an emphasis on hands-on practical workshops to enable you to feel confident about approaching coursework and exam preparation for GCSE Computing.

Part 1 Programming Assignment

Expect to develop your expertise in analysing a problem, designing an algorithm, programming a solution, evaluating with a test plan while ensuring that the assessment criteria is being met.

Part 2 Investigation Assignment

Expect to gain some expertise in assembly language, Von Neumann architecture as well as analysing a problem, designing an algorithm, programming a solution, evaluating with a test plan.

Part 3 Exam Preparation

A number of approaches and strategies to help you prepare your students for success in their terminal exam.

Day Three:

Wednesday 21st May 2014 – all day (9.00 – 3.00) at Winifred Holtby Academy

Agenda tbc