Computer Science Masterclasses in context

Ben Dornan discusses our Computer Science Masterclasses in the context of the changing curriculum

  • Ri Computer Science Summer Schools

    Students get to grips with computing at Ri Summer Schools

    Credit: Tim Mitchell

Teaching challenges

The Computer Science Masterclasses are starting at a crucial time for digital education in the UK, launching in parallel with the new curriculum in computing that is being taught across all Key Stages. The switch to Computing over the old ICT curriculum represents a vast leap in the representation of real computer science in primary and secondary schools across the country, with every pupil now learning about theory and practice in the area.

Inevitably, this kind of sea-change in the curriculum presents a significant challenge to teachers and students alike. The additional pressures of identifying effective approaches to teaching computer science may make it difficult for teachers to really stretch the best students. While one of the aims of the Masterclasses has always been to provide these students with something to really get their teeth in to, it has rarely been as important as it is in computer science at this moment.

Masterclass success

As well as a huge amount of enthusiasm from students in our pilot Computer Science Masterclasses, there has been great interest from teachers in joining us. As well as working with their students in a challenging environment, this provides them with exciting new ideas to take back to the classroom to really make computer science come alive. The benefit of the Computer Science Masterclasses is thus being extended to pupils across the ability spectrum as the wonderful ideas of our speakers are fed back into the classroom.