Teaching of Computer Science in Schools

Postgraduate Certificate

This programme has been designed to meet the needs of practising teachers who wish to update their skills in line with the recent government changes to the Computer Science curriculum in schools.

Campus Parkgate Road Campus, Chester
Course Postgraduate Certificate
Length 1-3 Years part-time. This course leads to the Postgraduate Certificate Teaching Computer Science in Schools of the University of Chester. The course is at Master's (M) level, and successful completion of the course carries 60 credits.
Start date October 2016

Why choose Chester?

We are:

  • An innovative and forward-looking institution with a strong record of graduate employment
  • One of the oldest teacher education institutions in the UK, and have trained and supported generations of successful teachers
  • A dedicated, knowledgeable, experienced, friendly and supportive PGCE team who put the welfare and support of our trainees as a number one priority
  • Small enough to provide a personal approach to your learning and teaching needs, but large enough to offer a broad range of subjects and experiences.

We seek to produce teachers who are reflective practitioners and who will be:

  • enthusiastic and confident in the classroom
  • pedagogically skillful and adaptable
  • specialists in the teaching the new Computer Science curriculum.


This course will run at various times of the year evenings and weekends as required by groups of teachers.

There is an option to take CPD without assessment.

You will have the opportunity to work with other teachers to design lessons plans and materials to support the new curriculum.

Improving the Teaching of Computer Science in Schools

In January 2012 a radical change in the teaching of ICT in schools was announced by the Government. In response to growing criticism by major industry leaders of the quality of the teaching of this subject in schools the statutory Programmes of Study for ICT in schools were disapplied from September 2012 to be replaced by a flexible curriculum in Computer Science and Programming.

The British Computer Society (BCS) together with Microsoft, Google and Intellect formulated a suggested curriculum and upon this The University of Chester has crafted a 3-module Postgraduate Certificate designed to give existing ICT teachers the extra depth of knowledge and practical skills necessary to deliver the new curriculum.

The course is delivered in various flexible modes and at various times throughout the year.

We have divided the curriculum into two categories, Internal to the Computer (eg Hardware, Programming, Logic etc.) and External (Networking, Internet etc.) and each of two modules cover one of these topics. A third module concentrates on the application of this knowledge to the particular teaching environment of the student.

We anticipate that some teachers will wish to take the first two modules (CO7201 and CO7202) as CPD - without taking the assessment. CO7203 is not structured to be delivered in a CPD manner. Applicants wishing to take the modules as CPD only should contact the Programme Leader (Graha Logan, g.logan@chester.ac.uk) in the first instance.

The aim of CO7201 and CO7202 is to update students in the new Computer Science curriculum for Schools, designed by Microsoft, Google and The British Computer Society. These modules seek to explore the new curriculum in detail, allowing students to concentrate on their own specialist subject while gaining an overview of the whole curriculum.

You will be encouraged to share your practical experiences as concepts and theories are discussed, so providing 'first-hand' case studies to supplement those tutor-supplied, and, where you have a particular area of expertise, to lead seminar sessions where appropriate.

CO7201 Teaching of Data Structures, Algorithms and Programming

Module content:

  1. Data and representation
  2. Abstraction and design - thinking computationally
  3. Algorithms, flow charts
  4. Languages, machines and computation
  5. Programming, debugging and testing

CO7202 Teaching of Networking, The Internet and Mobile Computing

Module content:

  1. Computers and how they work
  2. Communication and coordination
  3. Communication and the internet
  4. The wider context of computing - Consciousness, Creativity and Ethics
  5. HCI
  6. Mobile computing

CO7203 Implementing a Computer Science Curriculum in Schools


Within the perspective of Implementing a Computer Science curriculum in a school:

  • Explore the context of enquiry based research in an educational setting.
  • Examine the ethical issues for professionals as researchers.
  • Consider appropriate methodology for enquiry.
  • Undertake a small-scale, practice-based enquiry in an educational setting.

Module content:

This module explores the implementation of the content studied in CO7201 and CO7202 (or equivalent APEL) in a School environment. You will be expected to select a Computer Science subject for preparing for delivery to a school class, research an appropriate implementation strategy and produce teaching materials.

From an educational perspective this module covers:

  • Interrogating practice to discover a question for enquiry
  • Justifying the research question in a professional context
  • Exploring the ethical issues
  • Justifying the methodology
  • Carrying out the enquiry
  • Writing the research report

Three assignment/projects (each marked at Master's level).

CO7201 and CO7202 are assessed by a portfolio of teaching material.

CO7203 is assessed by a portfolio of reflective learning activities.

As this is a CPD course, the vast majority of teachers will be able to update their lesson plans and become subject leaders.

  • A relevant first degree from a UK higher education institution with a degree classification of 2.1 or above (exceptions may be made), or an equivalent recognised qualification.
  • PGCE.
  • Current or recent experience in a school teaching ICT.