What can the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) do for primary schools?

This article answers the questions: What is the national centre and what are its aims? Who is part of it? And more importantly, what can it do for primary school?

What is the National Centre?

The NCCE is not a physical training centre, but a collection of organisations managing a Department for Education grant of £84 million for English schools. It is committed to

“providing a world-leading computing education,”

through providing

resources, training and support for teaching Computing in primary and secondary schools and colleges from Key Stage 1 through to A Level.”

Who is part of it?

The consortium of organisations involved nationally are

  • STEM Learning -Providers of national STEM training
  • The Raspberry Pi Foundation -International makers and educators
  • BCS, The chartered institute for IT -Making IT good for society

In the South East of England

In the South East, Hampshire Inspection and Advisory service (HIAS) have teamed up with the Mathematics and Science Learning Centre (part of the Education School) at the University of Southampton, the STEM Now team at Winchester Science Centre and a wide range of HEI partners across the South East to deliver nationally designed and researched training for primary and secondary teachers in the South East of England. This provision will be available between January and October 2019.

Research backed training courses

Computing at school level is a very new subject, and England leads the way across the globe by including it in the curriculum from KS1. Nationally, there is a recognition that many primary teachers are without the necessary understanding to teach this confidently or accurately. Teachers, through no fault of their own, often don’t understand the subject knowledge or range of pedagogical options to choose from. This leaves the subject open to misconception and error.

The NCCE has teamed leading researchers with national recognised curriculum experts to design three initial primary training courses.

The three primary courses are

A one-day course in Algorithms and Programming for KS1 & KS2
(This can be adapted for KS1 or KS2 only)

A two-day course in KS1 computing which covers information technology, digital literacy and aspects of computing science that exclude algorithms and programming and online safety.

A two-day course in KS2 computing which covers information technology, digital literacy and aspects of computing science that exclude algorithms and programming and online safety.

Who are these courses for?

Schools are welcome to send as many teachers as they want. HIAS computing inspectors recommend that every primary school takes full use of this opportunity and sends at least one teacher on courses relevant to the school key stage. Even where schools are making great progress in an aspect of computing and might have attended computing courses in the past, there is still lots to learn to enable schools to broaden pedagogue and take advantage of a wide range of research-based strategies.

How much will it cost?

If your school is in a category 5 or 6 area such as the Isle of Wight, Gosport and Portsmouth and much of the area around Basingstoke, a wide area around Lewes, Hastings, Ashford, Ramsgate and Margate, Isle of Sheppey the first teacher you send will attend free of charge and will be eligible for a bursary.

Additional teachers, in category 5 or 6 areas or teachers in category 1-4 areas, can attend for £35 per day. This is made possible through DfE sponsorship.

You can see what category your school area is in at


How can we book places?

Please email MSLC at mslc@soton.ac.uk to register your interest in these courses, leaving your name, school name and email address and “NCCE courses expression of interest” in the subject bar. As soon as we have live booking details, we will contact you by email with further information.1

There is a limited amount of money to support this program and once it has run out it is gone, so let us enable teachers to make the most of computing while this opportunity is available.

How will you avoid the same problems created by the New Opportunities Fund (NOE) when ICT was introduced?

Many will remember the mandatory ICT training provided after ICT was added into the national curriculum. One of the main issues with the NOE was the lack of any central research-based planning. This meant that providers could do whatever they wanted, which often led to very variable outcomes. By carefully planning and making sure courses are linked to the best research advice available, as well as vetting those leading training, these issues are negated.

Phil Bagge 24thth March 2019

1 Your data will not be used for any other purpose.

Courses in the south east of England