Welcome to another episode of Insights with NetSupport. In this episode, we were delighted to have the opportunity to interview someone who has been pivotal in supporting many educators across the country with their teaching of Computing. A founder of one of the UK’s longest running Twitter chats all focused on the teaching of Computing, #caschat, Andy Colley has had a broad experience in his career within education.
A former school IT technician and subsequently teacher of Computing and now Director of Computing at Laurus Cheadle Hulme school in the Northwest of England, Andy’s been a CAS Master Teacher, Teaching and Learning Lead Practitioner, Advanced Skills Teacher and much more, including hosting the popular Learning Dust podcast with friend of NetSupport and ANME (Association of Network Managers in Education) Ambassador, Dave Leonard.
We were delighted to get the opportunity to quiz Andy on many aspects of the role of Computing within education, both from secondary and primary school perspectives. We covered lots of topics including:
1. What tips would you offer to somebody new to role of Head of Computing?
2. What do you see as being the difference between being a subject teacher and a subject leader? What advice would you give your earlier career self?
3. Leading Computing at secondary is different to leading Computing at primary. What do you see those differences as being and what would you say the key focuses should be for each?
4. Can you share any resources that you think would be useful, plus any people/blogs you would recommend following on social media?
5. Are there any paid-for resources that you would recommend utilising?
6. Network managers often express concern over children coding programs that can create executables. Do you have any advice on how to balance their security concerns, particularly as students develop their skills and use more technical software at a level that can facilitate curriculum whilst ensuring security?
Running through Andy’s answers like a pattern through a stick of rock was his core desire to both improve pupil outcomes and support colleagues in their work, whilst keeping approaches grounded in evidence-informed practice. What was particularly noteworthy of Andy’s responses was how much of what he shared was just solid advice, regardless of whether you are leading on Computing or any other subject, such was its applicable nature.
As part of the conversation, Andy shared lots of great people to follow, websites to visit and resources to check out, books to read and tools to use. Check them out here:
National Centre for Computing Education
Middle Leadership Mastery