I am a perfectly imperfect author, Mum to two fabulous boys & Meniere's slave. Changing the world in my own way to make it a better place for everyone.
These are MY opinions. Don't worry if you don't agree. You choose how you interpret the words. Just remember "at the end of a storm, there's a golden sky..." YNWA. Be kind, caring and compassionate.
Shortlisted 2 consecutive years for a UK Blog Award
Tuesday, 5 June 2018
Computing in schools… a national crisis in waiting.
I’m just a working-class lass from East Leeds. I’ve had the
same tough life as most of the people in my area. It is always easier to conform
to what society expects – steady job, marriage, children, mortgage… I am such a
disappointment to many – lost my job through illness (because it’s my fault,
right?), divorced, single mother and how dare I leave my class behind to become
an author and PhD student… yes this was said to me! I’ve been called a traitor
to my class. It’s all so laughable when people realise why I am so passionate
about this research and especially when they understand the heart of everything
I do is my belief in socialism and equality, using my skills and philosophies to
bring hope and opportunities for our future generations. It is not just
politicians who make a difference. I don’t want a life in front line politics.
I’m far too sensitive, far too caring and can not abide having to lower my principles
to appease a political party.
I know my future life is in writing and meaningful
research. PhD’s are not exclusive to elitism as it has been suggested to me. PhD
study should absolutely be available to working class people like me who have first-hand
experience of the obstacles faced by our children and future generations.
How many articles have there been recently telling us robots
are going to take all our jobs? Yet, our children are being systematically let
down by our Governments over the education provision of ICT and Computer
Science. This is especially prevalent in areas like mine. The changes to
incorporate ICT into lessons developed skills for use in industry but did not
address the changing job opportunities within the technology industries. It was
boring and uninspiring, very often reduced to merely how to use Microsoft
packages. Computing/ Computer Science and ICT should never be boring. ICT was replaced
with Computer Science in 2016 but this was ill thought out, introduced with no
additional investment, leaving many of our young adults unable to access any
digital, computing skills which, potentially, is a national crisis in waiting.
These changes looked great on paper but have been poorly executed.
I was told at fifteen, I was not smart enough to study
Computer Science but too clever to study typing qualifications. Yet, during my twenty-year
career in the Insurance industry, I had to teach myself both skills. My concern
is… how do we know young people are not being written off when given the
opportunity, they have the potential to be leaders in these fields? We do not
credit our young people with initiative; this comes from the draconian,
authoritarian exam and results driven system we have in place now.
There are some amazing initiatives available to schools,
but these are sporadic and costly; very much a post code or establishment
lottery…even an individual teacher lottery. Some have said they will not
implement the new curricula and with the withdrawal of all ICT, this would
leave NO pupils receiving any computing study at examination level. The new
Computer science curricula is heavily weighted to software programming at the
expense of other skills and areas of the IT industry and other industries
reliant on ICT. It does not allow for flexibility to reflect the constant technological
Instead of enforcing Computer Science being taught using
traditional methods… a square peg in a round hole scenario under current
education provision, we need a national, coordinated strategy with a commitment
to ensure ALL children have the necessary skills to succeed in the developing
digital world, not just the ICT industry.
Current education practice and policy is not providing an
environment to develop the seven skills, identified by the OECD and UNESCO, our
children will need to flourish in the changing world:
thinking and problem solving
across networks and leading by influence
oral and written communication
and analysing information
Ironically, these skills form the essence of computer
science learning yet are stifled by the current practise and policies. A new
way of teaching and learning requires urgent development, incorporating these key
skills, flexibility, adaptability and FUN!
My PhD study initial title is:
Computer Science requires a new flexible, pedagogical approach in
Secondary Schools in England to improve the engagement of young people from all
My study will investigate how we can deliver
computing and ICT in a way to maximise our
My MSc IT initial study
young people’s exposure to every aspect
of computing. I would like to develop a modular system that provides a choice
of skills and allows for different levels of learning from basic to advanced,
so if you are not a Maths genius but brilliant at design, you can still develop
your digital skills. Likewise, if your interest is in engineering, there should
be options for this too. Restricting only the students in the top 2 sets at Maths to take GCSE Computer Science is not acceptable. It's lazy because we should adapt learning to increase participation.You do not have to be a mathematical genius to be a
AJAX and I am confident enough to look and learn other languages as required.
It is a matter of confidence! Little old me… if this Yorkshire lass can… we all
I feel incredibly honoured and humbled to have
the backing of the university and will work tremendously hard to deliver the
research and hopefully, make my small contribution to the future of our young
people. In addition, there would be capacity for these modules and qualifications
to be made available to retrain adults as pert of a lifelong learning
I do need to look for funding to help me
through my study… unfortunately I can’t get research council funding to study
at my local university which is necessary as I am a single Mum with Meniere’s.
Next blog post... Beyond the Lies publication details...