Here you can find out what kind of digital learning is on offer in Sheffield’s secondary schools.
In 2014, the government introduced a new Computing curriculum into secondary schools, replacing the previous ICT (Information and Communications Technology) curriculum.
You can see what is covered in the national curriculum here:
Once students reach age 14 (or age 13 in some schools), they may have the option to study a GCSE in Computer Science. Sheffield has a University Technical College that specialises in Computing where students can study not only for a GCSE in Computer Science but also take well-regarded technical qualifications in computing and do extra-curricular projects with employers from the digital technology sector.
Some secondary schools in Sheffield also participate in special projects such as ‘Make Learn Share‘ where secondary-aged students teach primary-aged pupils apps and robotics, or the Better Learners Better Workers programme where students do special visits and activities to find out about the digital technology sector in Sheffield.
In September 2018, Y9 pupils from Tapton School started a data science course developed by the Dave and Jane Richards Foundation, a charitable endeavour from the founder and chief executive of international Live Data software company WANdisco plc, which has significant base in Sheffield. The aim is to roll this course out across other schools in Sheffield and beyond.
Some secondary schools in Sheffield may have computing clubs to encourage young people who are interested in coding and robotics, but we not aware of many (please get in touch if you know of some). There are national/international initiatives to encourage clubs:
Code Clubs is a national network of volunteer-led computing clubs for 9-13 year-olds backed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. We’re not aware of any in Sheffield secondary schools.
CoderDojo is an international network of volunteer-led coding clubs for those aged 7-17 years old. We are not aware of any running in Sheffield yet but there are discussions to get some going.
Discovery STEM Education Centre at Kelham Island runs After School Clubs but so far only for primary schools.
Support for teachers
Sheffield benefits from a team of technology experts called the Sheffield eLearning Service. They are now part of Learn Sheffield – a collaboration of Sheffield schools and colleges with Sheffield City Council. They work with secondary schools across the city, supporting teachers in delivering the Computing curriculum, as well as how to use technology across the curriculum. They also offer specialist advice and training in how to use technology to support EAL (English as an Additional Language), how to engage learners with special educational needs and how to keep children safe online.
The Discovery STEM Educational Centre at Kelham Island offers training and support for teachers.
At a national level, there is new support for secondary school teachers to deliver the computing curriculum at both GCSE and A Level. In the latter part of 2018, the government set up the National Centre for Computing Education to support teachers with face-to-face and online training, certification and resources. Our regional centre is at University of York.
For peer-to-peer support, teachers can also attend the South Yorkshire Secondary Computing At School (CAS) Hub meetings, part of the national CAS Network. Meetings are typically hosted by CAS Secondary Lead Schools which in Sheffield are:
- King Edward VII
- UTC Sheffield
If you are not sure what is happening in your child’s secondary school about digital learning, we hope you will use the information above to ask someone from the school’s leadership team. We are always keen to understand what is happening in Sheffield’s schools, so please get in touch.
If you are really interested in what is happening about computing in schools generally, you can find out more in this very helpful blog written by Chris Dymond from local employer association Sheffield Digital who went to the national Computing Schools Delivery Group meeting in November 2018. Read more…