CAS West Midlands Newsletter    November 2015
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Follow us: @CASWestMidsCRC
Dear CAS member,

Welcome to the first Newsletter of the newly formed CAS Regional Centre for the West Midlands region.

We are based at Millennium Point, Birmingham but travel widely supporting the new Computing curriculum across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands!

Our Aim

To support teachers in their adoption, design and delivery of the new Computing curriculum.
  • Coordinate CAS activity in the West Midlands
  • Support Master Teachers
  • Support CAS Hubs
  • Support Lead schools
  • Provide evidence for CAS for ongoing funding

As a region we have 17 CAS hubs, 38 Master Teachers and 54 Lead Schools. Our region covers Stoke to Worcester and Oswestry to Rugby.

The Team

Duncan Maidens
Following from a degree in Electronic Engineering I worked in Industry before joining the Navy as an Instructor Officer. From there I went on to complete a Masters in Data Communications and have worked between academia and industry for a number of years. Currently I am a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Birmingham City University. My specialisation is Computer Networking and have taught teachers as part of the Cisco Academy Program for over 17 Years. 

Recognising the importance of Computer Science for our children I was keen to get involved with CAS and use my subject knowledge to support teachers and run events for schools. Following on from the delivery to L1 Master Teachers, running a CAS hub and delivering CPD session I am proud to now be a part of the Regional Centre, working with a great team and offering support to teachers going forward.

Stuart Davison
I am a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science Education at Birmingham City University where I deliver the Computer Science PGCE and Teach First programmes for initial teacher training at secondary level. In November 2012 I was appointed as a Computing at School ‘Master Teacher’ and subsequently became the Regional Coordinator for the CAS MT programme in the West Midlands from May 2013. Until 2015 I was an ICT and Computing teacher for 11 years, 7 of these as Head of Department. For a number of years I lead on changing my school's curriculum from ICT to computing.
Prior to this I worked in several related fields from Control System Design for manufacturing companies to Network Infrastructure Implementation as part of an IT outsourcing company. I have a BEng (Hons) degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a PGCE in Secondary ICT.

John Palmer
I have a BSc (Hons) degree in Computer Science and an MSc in Educational Leadership, and prior to teaching I worked as an IT Manager for a large West Midlands Law firm. I have taught Computing at The Chase, Malvern since 2001 and my main role is as the Faculty Leader for IT and Business, although I perform various other Leadership roles at the school too. I have been involved in CAS for many years as a Hub Leader, Master Teacher, Regional Coordinator and more recently CAS Board Member. I am delighted to be part of the West Midlands Regional Centre Team, and am now an Associate Senior Lecturer in Computer Science Education at Birmingham City University. I am inspired by the “open source community” spirit of CAS, and look forward to great things for the Computing subject in the West Midlands region!

Administrative assistant
  • to be appointed.


In the diary:
Mon 9th Nov 15:00 – 18:00  Birmingham City University.

Stakeholders Planning meeting for the future direction for our Region
This event is for Master Teachers, Hub Leaders and Lead Schools. Shape the future of Computing in Schools!

Hub Meetings

CAS "Three Counties" (Worcs, Gloucs, Hereford) Gloucestershire Meeting
Nov 11th 2015 4.00PM to 5.30PM
Tickets: Free
CAS Walsall Hub Meeting

Nov 17 from 4:30PM to 6:30PM
Tickets: Free
CAS Birmingham Central Hub Meeting – Understanding OCR Computing Controlled Assessment

Dec 14 from 4:00PM to 6:00PM
Tickets: £20.00
CAS (East Shropshire) Telford Hub Event

Jan 1 from 4:00PM to 5:00PM
Tickets: Free
CAS Birmingham Central Hub Meeting

Jan 25 from 4:00PM to 6:00PM
Tickets: Free

Planned events:
CAS West Midlands Regional Centre conference
An event for all teachers to showcase good practice, pick up some CPD, network with fellow teachers and build the community. We have an excellent track record in the West Midlands of running excellent, high quality CPD events for teachers, and this will be no exception. This event will run in the summer of 2016.
A change of direction. Restarting IT for tomorrows workforce
An evening event for HoS and SLT to hear about the changes that are happening to schools curricula, the drivers behind them and the way ahead.

GCSE Computing Development
In conjunction with our partners at OCR and AQA, we hope to provide a range of high quality teacher – support events. We have new specifications for GCSE Computer Science, and an increasing number of students studying GCSE Computing.

Approaching a coding Project.
Using the tools of Abstraction, decomposition and structured thinking to tackle GCSE level programming projects. An “applied” Python course.
GCSE Coursework Moderation / Development
Event for teachers to network with fellow GCSE Computing teachers, and build the community.

Running a successful hub.
CAS hubs are key to spreading the word and supporting the community as the new CS curricula is adopted across more and more schools.  Support for hub leaders will make this more effective.  Thus we plan to hold an event, discussing questions such as :-
  • What makes a good hub ?
  • How do I  balance CPD, external talks  and discussion .
  • Should I charge or events or should they be free ?
  • The importance of feedback ?
This is an opportunity to network with fellow hub leads and share good practice. The session will be lead by hub leaders who regularly get good attendance and feedback.

Master Teacher Master-Class programme
Are you a CAS Master Teacher? Would you like to be a CAS Master Teacher? One of our main roles is to support current and future MTs, so we hope to provide a range of CPD opportunities in this area this year.
Also watch out for…..

Events run by our “friends” such as -
Cyber Security Challenge UK
Raspberry Pi Foundation
Barclays Code Playground
Young Rewired State
Code Club
….and others!!
We will be publicising these events and others on @CASWestMidsCRC and on the new computing at schools website which is launching soon.

Recent Events

BBC micro:bit

 John-with-micro-bitLook – John holding a real micro:bit!
At a recent West Mids CRC event at BCU, The BBC and partners recently unveiled the BBC micro:bit – a pocket-sized, codeable computer that allows children to get creative with technology.
In the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative for 30 years, up to 1 million devices will be given to every 11 or 12 year old child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK, for free. In the 1980s, the BBC Micro introduced many children to computing for the first time.

We have been recently involved in the BBC’s 2015 Make it Digital initiative, and look forward to the BBC micro:bit building on the legacy of the Micro for the digital age, and inspiring young people to get creative with digital; develop core skills in science, technology and engineering; and unleash a new generation of digital makers, inventors and pioneers.
The BBC micro:bit will start to arrive in schools in early 2016, giving children a chance to settle into new schools, and teachers the opportunity to build this into lesson plans.
We at the CRC want to help you get the best out of the micro:bit, so watch out for CPD that we will be offering in this area.

Communicate With Us

This is our Region. Let's make it stand out as a showcase for Computer Science Education. Let the team know what you want? There is no them only us!

Regional Centre Fund

The RC hold a small pot of money to fund special projects run by Master Teachers where they will have a huge impact on teachers and cannot happen without support.
Please get in touch.


Special Projects

Whilst supporting the whole CS curricula, the team’s expertise is in Computer Networking and Cyber Security. To this end there will be additional events around these themes.
Working with the Cisco Network Academy, the Centre is leading on the development of a set of resources to deliver many aspects of the new curricula. Once up and running it will be freely available to schools. Of specific interest is the use of a Cisco Academy Tool called Packet Tracer which allows us to design , build, configure, use and investigate computer networks.  It use brings to life the areas of the National Curricula that cover this topic.
The center also has expertise in Linux and access to online courses for delivery of materials in this area. The use of these for the controlled assessment task is currently being evaluated by teachers.  If you are interested in being part of this please get in touch.
Thanks for reading!

Duncan, Stuart, John
CAS West Midlands CRC Team


Our mailing address is:
CAS West Midlands, Birmingham City University, School of Computing and Digital Technology, Millenium Point. Birmingham. B4 7XG.
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