PGCE Computer Science

The PGCE Computer Science enables computing professionals and graduates to become effective teachers of computing (curriculum previously called ICT and now including a strong Computer Science element) in secondary schools. The programme emphasises learning through critical reflection on theory and practice and discussion with colleagues.

The programme combines the theory and practice of education; students spend 60 days in College and 120 days in schools. The course is research-led and you will develop your knowledge of how pupils learn; how assessment can improve learning and teaching; how to plan lessons, and how to make appropriate use of computers and the Internet to teach effectively. The programme emphasises learning through critical reflection on theory and practice and discussion with colleagues.

Learning to be a teacher of Computing involves both learning about teaching the skills, knowledge and processes as laid down in the National Curriculum and examination syllabuses and learning how to support the development of digital literacy and the incorporation of technology enhanced learning into all subject areas in schools.

The new Computing curriculum became mandatory from age 5-16 in September 2014. At Key Stage 3 students should be taught to:

  • design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
  • understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking [for example, ones for sorting and searching]; use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem
  • use 2 or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems; make appropriate use of data structures [for example, lists, tables or arrays]; design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions
  • understand simple Boolean logic [for example, AND, OR and NOT] and some of its uses in circuits and programming; understand how numbers can be represented in binary, and be able to carry out simple operations on binary numbers [for example, binary addition, and conversion between binary and decimal]
  • understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
  • understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits
  • undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users
  • create, reuse, revise and repurpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability
  • understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct, and know how to report concerns

This is a significant change from the previous ICT curriculum which was mandatory up to 2012 and contains much more emphasis on programming and understandig how the computer works.

There has also been significant reform of 16 – 19 qualifications in the last few years. Key points in respect of computing are:

  • the addition of GCSE Computer Science to the EBacc performance tables (and the Progress 8 measure).
  • A-level Computer science was updated from September 2015
  • GCSE Computer Science has been updated with new GCSEs being taught from September 2016
  • GCSE and A-Level ICT will no longer be offered after September 2017

Training to be a Computing teacher means you will be at the forefront of these changes and meeting the need for well-qualified and enthusiastic subject specialists in school.

Key benefits of studying at King’s College London

  • Our Programme, judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, is taught by one of the strongest team of computer science education tutors in the country.
  • The programme at King’s is challenging and students are encouraged to take a critical view of policies and practice.
  • It is a sociable course where you will be expected to work with others, discussing issues and problems about teaching.
  • You have the opportunity to work with tutors who are actively engaged in research and development in computer science education.
  • Located in the heart of London.

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