CAS #include is on a mission to improve Social Mobility for Computing students in the United Kingdom and beyond. Computer Science can be mastered by any child that develops the resilience and determination to succeed. We believe that excellent teachers can make a huge difference to the lives of disadvantaged children. Our events, talks and resources aim to support teachers with teaching and learning methods that help to engage disadvantaged students in Computer Science.

View Rebecca’s talk on Pupil Premium below or keep reading to find out more. 

How to get started in your school

1 – Identify your disadvantaged students

In the United Kingdom, there is a Department for Education grant known as Pupil Premium. You can find out about the grant here: Pupil premium: funding and accountability for schools. Your school data manager or senior leadership team should be able to let you know the names of Pupil Premium students in your school. [You can download a sample seating plan to use in your classroom here: Socio-Economic Resources]

2 – Identify barriers

Image of a Pupil Premium in Computing Presentation taking place.
Pupil Premium Presentation Led by Rebecca Franks at our Diversity in Computing Conference.

Sir John Dunford has written an article on supporting Pupil Premium students and lists the common barriers to learning under Step 2 here: 10 Point Plan for Spending Pupil Premium Funding. The barriers could be:

  • weak literacy and numeracy skills
  • lack of equipment
  • low aspirations
  • poor attendance
  • poor concentration
  • lack of engagement

It is important to understand that every Pupil Premium student is different and has their own set of needs. They may be incredibly able in Computing and have an excellent work ethic that allows them to perform at a high level without much additional support at all. Pupil Premium doesn’t automatically mean low ability. This is a misconception that needs to be addressed.

3 – Remove barriers

Your Pupil Premium lead should be able to tell you about the funding available for the Pupil Premium students in your class(es). Your school should already be trying to address the main barriers to learning for Pupil Premium students. For example, providing a homework room for students that struggle to concentrate at home and need the extra support from a teacher to complete it. Any strategy used in a school should be backed-up by research, this could be internal or external. The best place to find out about successful strategies is the Teaching and Learning Toolkit created by the Education Endowment Foundation: T&L Toolkit

There might be specific barriers that relate to Computing.

  • Do they have access to a computer at home?
  • Do they have Internet Access?
  • Can they focus on homework?
  • Do they need extra support for practising coding?
  • Do they have secure foundations for studying computing? (there are some fantastic resources here: Barefoot CAS if you want some help with teaching Computational Thinking)
A picture of Raspberry Pi equipment and the book "Adventures in Raspberry Pi"
Raspberry Pi Pack given to Pupil Premium More Able Students

Providing laptops, tablets or Raspberry Pi computers can have an impact on progress in Computing but you may want to look at teaching and learning strategies first. This is because they are cheaper and can have a much stronger impact. This doesn’t mean that you should never provide equipment because this can be highly successful when implemented in an effective way.

[For more information on Raspberry Pi computers, visit this site: Raspberry Pi Foundation. Raspberry Pi computers are proven to be an engaging tool to use in the classroom and at home. The foundation provides some excellent resources for teachers to get started.]

4 – Use successful teaching and learning strategies

This is the KEY to success with Pupil Premium students in your care. If a Pupil Premium student is being taught by a poor teacher then they will only make 6 months progress in an academic year. If a Pupil Premium student is being taught by a highly effective teacher then they could make 18 months progress. When you compare this to an “average student”, if they are taught by a poor teacher then they will still make 12 months progress in an academic year. (Source: Sutton Trust 2011). This means that it is vital for teachers to continually work on their teaching and learning skills and ensure that they are using the right strategies in the classroom. [Don’t worry – we aren’t calling you are poor teacher! The fact that you are taking the time to read this means that you are a caring and considerate teacher who wants the best for their students.]

High impact / low cost strategies are:

An effective method to aid Teaching and Learning that supports feedback and meta-cognition is SOLO Taxonomy. You can find out more about SOLO and download free resources from here: HookED

Remember – the most important resource in any classroom is YOU! CAS #include is here to offer support with Teaching and Learning in Computing. We are a friendly organisation and attending our events is always a valuable experience. Look out for our future events and keep an eye on our website for updates and new resources!

Resources to support disadvantaged students can be found here.

Teachers and Developers working on a KS3 Wikibook - a CAS #include event.
Teachers and Developers at #Hackthecurric