Research by the House of Commons Library highlights the problems schools across the UK are facing. Over the past decade, the number of qualified teachers in state-funded schools has not kept pace with rising pupil numbers as the teacher vacancy rate has also increased.

While these numbers have started to stabalise, in part due to the pandemic, and there has been an increase in the number of new teachers coming into the profession, it seems unlikely this alone will help reverse the situation.

The UK’s current teacher recruitment crisis will be felt most by secondary schools, as recruitment is 34 percentage points below targets. Although Computer Science is now the fastest growing degree, there is still a shortage of available and qualified teachers as those pursuing the subject pursue alternative career paths.

According to data published by School’s Week, Computer Science has only met 35% of its recruitment targets. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union accredits this to the compounding effects of continual changes in government and education secretaries, budgets, pay, and working conditions.

Further research conducted by Ofsted into the current situation concluded:

“The number of subject specialists in computing is low, and there is a lack of new teachers to improve the situation.

“This will have significant consequences for the quality of education that pupils receive in computing if nothing is done to remedy the situation.

“This further strengthens the argument for a focus on subject-specific CPD.”

As such, teacher recruitment and retention continue to be high priorities for those working in educational settings, as well as the Government and Ofsted.

Investing in Computer Science teachers

To help address the issues teachers and schools are facing and to ensure children are prepared for the digital future, earlier this year BCS launched Teaching Teachers Tech: Computing with Python.

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This flexible online 8-week subject knowledge enhancement programme is now available to the whole of the market for the first time and has been designed by teachers, for teachers.

Peter Marshman, Teaching Teachers Tech online tutor, commented:

“The upskilling of teachers to deliver Computer Science confidently requires a necessary depth of knowledge of programming through cross-curricular and contextual approaches.

“This isn’t just to fulfil the practical requirements of the subject; coding develops problem solving or computational thinking skills to which can be applied across all theoretical concepts of computing.”

The course contains four assignments and is an ideal solution for schools in need. The cost-effective solution gives schools access to a wider pool from which to recruit by investing in their current staff.

As well as gaining a qualification on completion, learners will be able to confidentially teach computing with Python as part of a computer science course or as a standalone course, providing the best outcomes for students.