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DSs' high school has stopped teaching computing!

(56 Posts)
nolassie Sat 05-Mar-16 20:04:15

As of August this year S1 -3 can't take computing. S4 -S6 can complete what they are doing. The single teacher we have has had such a bad pass rate for 5 years the school no longer want to allow other children to suffer such poor outcomes. How can this be right in 2016 when STEM is meant to be so important ? I think the roll is around 1800 so not a wee school.
Who's the best person the complain to?

228agreenend Sat 05-Mar-16 20:11:46

Our school is stopping either computing or IT this year also. I'm not sure whether there has been a change in national policy.

I think STEM stands Sciemce, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, so not computing.

RebootYourEngine Sat 05-Mar-16 20:14:05

Most people know how to work a computer before they get to secondary school so its probably not neccessary.

nolassie Sat 05-Mar-16 20:19:57

According to primary teacher pal computing falls under technology.

They should be learning to code, about LANs WANs etc, databases not just how to use a PC . DS1 couldn't teach himself what he learned in school albeit with a bad teacher.

Celticlassie Sat 05-Mar-16 20:19:59

It's happening with a lot of subjects now, and it's likely to be cuts, more than bad results. What is that teacher going to teach, if there's no computing?

Also, computing is more programming, etc, than just the basics of using a computer. smile

Pipbin Sat 05-Mar-16 20:20:53

Most people know how to work a computer before they get to secondary school so its probably not necessary.

There is a massive difference between operating a computer and programming.
That is like saying 'most people can drive so what is the point in car mechanics?'
Computer programming is one of the main exports in the UK, especially in Scotland.

Floralnomad Sat 05-Mar-16 20:24:01

Computer science teachers are in short supply and some of the teachers who used to teach / do teach IT do not have the subject knowledge to teach computer science as it is now . One of the problems being that teaching is not a profitable profession for people who have good CS degrees so it's hard to attract graduates .

nolassie Sat 05-Mar-16 20:26:10

I called the guidance teacher to complain expecting to be fobbed off with excuses and was called back by the rector very explicitly saying they wanted to fire the teacher but couldn't. Teacher is already receiving support to improve but aren't. This is the only way forward for the school apparently.

Siolence Sat 05-Mar-16 20:26:35

Computing absolutely falls under STEM and does cover a lot more than programming. It's not using a computer either that along with some programming should be covered in primary. Scotland has a government led push going on for tech skills so this is a surprising decision by the school.

I'd ask to speak to whoever has responsibility for the curriculum.!

Siolence Sat 05-Mar-16 20:28:16

So the school can't hire a replacement but does not want kids to have poor teaching in the subject.

School governors any use?

228agreenend Sat 05-Mar-16 20:30:06

Sorry, my mistake.

My dc's school does IT and computing. One covers word, excel,etc, whilst the other one does programming. Can never remember which is which, and which us being cut.

kippersyllabub Sat 05-Mar-16 20:31:06

But you don't need to have a computing higher to do computing at uni. Most courses just look for maths as a prerequisite. If you want a career in computing, studying maths and physics at high school is the best preparation.

Siolence Sat 05-Mar-16 20:39:48

You don't need a computing higher no, and I agree with maths and physics.

I do think that a grounding in how a network hangs together, basic troubleshooting, understanding what's underneath the interface are useful life skills for everyone though. Programming is tremendous for teaching logic and planning.

Knowing some fundamentals means being more comfortable in any circumstances where a computer is used.

nolassie Sat 05-Mar-16 20:39:48

Yes Siolence. We don't have governors.

He doesn't actually want a degree in computing just a nat 5, maybe higher. He's already won the science and maths prizes, his brain is wired for technology, I feel so bad that he can't persue what he wants and a talent might be wasted. He didn't know he was good at physics and chemistry till he was taught at school. Online self teaching isn't for him.

Siolence Sat 05-Mar-16 20:46:42

That's really frustrating for you both. Sounds like he has a natural talent for logic and analysis, not doing computing at this stage won't hold him back but would have been a nice to have.

Serioussteve Sat 05-Mar-16 20:50:52

My DDs school culled ICT in 2014 and I went nuts about it.

The major problem with teaching tech is twofold really. The first is the entire industry has fragmented and divided time and time again in the past 20 years. Bear in mind the Internet didn't really exist just over 20 years ago. Therefore any curriculum is going to find it tough to teach multiple aspects to a reasonable level.

Second, teaching salaries are low and hours are long. Whilst ICT salaries have settled in recent years, in 1998 a self taught web coder with just GCSEs could earn £40k+

UsainWho Sat 05-Mar-16 20:59:43

Are they not able to offer the classes at another high school? I'm in Scotland too, our local high school shares resources with the others in the council area, kids are regularly bussed/taxied about. I'm sure they couldn't afford to offer this to all, but if he was very keen and dead certain he wanted to do it to exam level then I wonder if you insist a bit...

nolassie Sat 05-Mar-16 21:00:50

It is hugely frustrating. I'm amazed the school is allowed to cut off the opportunity to learn such an important subject and all the associated skills.

I've tried getting hold of a tutor for my eldest DS - he's complained about the teacher being awful for ages but I'm taking it more seriously now the rector has confirmed it however I can't find one.

UsainWho Sat 05-Mar-16 21:04:45

I'm also amazed a school of 1800 pupils, so that's over 300 in one year I guess, only has ONE computing teacher! We had two when I was at secondary and that was when you only had BBC micros!

On the plus side, I work in IT and we really struggled to get a decent graduate this year (in Glasgow area too), lots had the right skills but woeful CVs and interview skills. I don't think we even considered what they studied at secondary tbh, work experience in any sector and the ability to communicate are much more important.

OwlMother Sat 05-Mar-16 21:08:59

Is it a Fife school op? I only ask because a good friend of mine was only told yesterday that the N5 Computing option at her DS school was being with drawn. She wasn't sure why and I wondered if this was the answer......

TooMuchOfEverything Sat 05-Mar-16 21:09:29

You could try the British Computer Society and also Engineering Council for advice on finding a tutor. (Not that you should have to resort to that of course!) But they are two organisations I know of that might be able to point you in a helpful direction.

Louise43210 Sat 05-Mar-16 21:18:03

Would he be able to study evenings at a FE college? I don't know how old you have to be but just wondering.

nolassie Sat 05-Mar-16 21:20:57

I know serious Steve. My DH is actually an IT guy ( plus a bit more these days) and would never touch a teacher's salary (though the hours are much better than his) He is unfortunately completely unable to help either DS - tried to help DS1 with nat 5 revision and completely went off on a tangent because the question didn't give enough info and the answer was wrong because of blah blah I have no idea, he just can't function at a simplified level. There was a huge argument that lasts 30min when DS2 tried to tell him the Internet and wifi were the same. Both are pig headed and would not back down. A computing certificate just isn't worth the upset!

I was wondering about shared resource - not actually bussing the pupils but perhaps getting a decent teacher brought in to take class or 2. That was mainly aimed at getting DS1 through his higher though.

prettybird Sat 05-Mar-16 21:35:33

Ds' school (about 1200 pupils) has 2 Computing Science teachers - but even if they didn't, they would make an arrangement with the local FE college and/or local schools to ensure that pupils who wanted to study a subject could do so.

I'm shock at your school's attitude re such an important subject.

For Nat 5, it's most definitely not just a case of "learning how to use a PC": ds is doing Nat 5 and says it's a lot of programming and for his prelim he got caught out by a load of (?) http stuff.

nooka Sat 05-Mar-16 21:57:21

We're not in the UK but have just decided that our ds should drop IT (he was doing programming and animation) in favour of physics and calculus. ds is very good at his IT courses, but they are of no interest to university admissions and the standard of teaching was dropping (his teacher is good at basics but ds was feeling that after three years he'd probably learned all the teacher had to teach). dh is in IT and thinks that ds would be better off learning languages and doing projects at home. The university admissions people seem more interested in ds's portfolio, so the projects he has done on his own rather than the grades he gets at school. dh thinks that as learning to program in different languages is a life long skill and necessity in IT and if ds isn't interested in doing it now then IT probably isn't the career for him.

If the school thinks that children are being done a disservice by their teacher and getting poor grades then doing something about it seems like a good idea really. Getting rid of people in the public sector can be quite tricky if they've not done anything particularly egregious. I can see why making him redundant is appealing as it's a much easier way to sack someone. They will have to stick out their decision for at least a year.

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